NOTHING HAS bedeviled Democrats in midterm elections more thoroughly than the juggernaut power of right-wing radio. In the 1990s, it helped lead to the hunting of Bill Clinton and impeachment, just as the first new media star, Matt Drudge, took power from traditional press. Technology has evened the playing field quite a bit and taken a lot of power away from the old talk radio platform, as Barack Obama’s candidacy and victories have shown.
But over the last months there’s been a shifting alliance from traditional paradigms and partnerships, with Freedom Works, as well as Tea Party Patriots, and the Heritage Foundation, getting in the grass roots radio game, which used to be owned by corporate media, but is now being fueled by powerful Tea Party inspired outsiders.
The national temperature never taken inside Tea Party nation, what this alliance ignores is what continues to make the Republican establishment very nervous.
The FreedomWorks-Beck relationship is just one example of a powerful and profitable alliance between the conservative movement’s most aggressive groups and the most popular radio hosts.
The details of the arrangements are little-known, but they have been lucrative for the recipients, and, in turn, have helped ensure that the groups get coveted airtime from hosts with a demonstrated ability to leverage their tens of millions of listeners to shape American politics. It’s an alliance that helped spawn the anti-establishment tea party and power Republicans to landslide victories in the 2010 midterms. It’s also exacerbated congressional gridlock by pushing a hard line on the budget, immigration and Obamacare, and it is roiling the Republican Party headed into critical midterm elections. [Politico]
Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Rusty Humphries, and the sponsorships through Freedom Works is worth huge profits.
An internal FreedomWorks memo shed light on the fundraising return yielded by the sponsorships. The memo — presented to the group’s board and obtained and posted by Mother Jones magazine — indicated that, during the first 11 months of 2012, the Beck sponsorship had yielded $860,000 in contributions, while the Limbaugh sponsorship had brought in $433,000. That’s less than 30 percent of the total the group paid to the broker who set up the sponsorships in 2012, according to its tax filings, though, to be sure, the sponsorships also helped the group engage activists who did not donate.
Democrats have nothing to compete with this outreach and never have. Back when I was dabbling in radio and became an expert on talk radio, I found out just how little the left understands radio’s reach and power to GOTV.
Today, Democrats use technology as a doctor uses a scalpel.
The difference is a non-emotional tactic versus a highly emotional, political primal scream, which may work in midterm elections, but will fall flat when the entire electorate is engaged.