Many conservative and mainstream Republicans are troubled at the thought of a Donald Trump nomination, with some in denial about the mogul’s top position in polls nationwide and in key primary states. Congressional Republicans are reportedly worried that Trump could jeopardize GOP majorities.
Yet the leaders and donors financing and publicizing conservative candidates and causes should not be surprised at the rise of Trump, who is echoing the same narratives within a far-right media chamber: that of distrust of outsiders, angry populism, misogyny and economic isolationism. “Establishment” conservatives, if they exist, have not stood up to offer the power of culture and media in an alternative fashion that offers an alternative to these negative messages.
We know the polling data from the Pew Research Center and the University of Indiana shows that anywhere from 80 percent to 90 percent of mainstream journalists identify as liberal or Democrat. And so the mainstream liberal media is all-too-happy to caricature all Republicans and conservatives in the same light as those to the far-right.
The chart below from the Pew Research Center shows how far-right conservatives are so clustered inside their own echo chambers, without a multitude of offerings between the center and the far right. Such a problematic phenomenon does not exist on the Left, where liberal outlets operate in a crowded space across a broad smorgasbord of offerings.
The chart shows a huge void for conservative outlets that are moderately to the right of the average respondent.
It also indicates that so many of the outlets on the far-right do not offer content that goes beyond what readers might find on a conservative editorial or opinion page. By contrast, liberal outlets offer a variety of non-political content on topics ranging from business and technology to lifestyle and entertainment. This generally apolitical content pulls in readers in an engaging way and is presented alongside liberal thought. Regardless of one’s original political persuasion, the exposure to these ideas can affect subconscious thought, and later, voting patterns.
Two exceptions that standout as centrist or conservative are Forbes (though it is not on the chart) and The Wall Street Journal. However, both publications cater largely to richer, well-educated urban males. Far-right outlets are read predominantly by less educated, less wealthy men. As William Galston recently pointed out, 55 percent of Trump’s supporters are white working-class; moderate conservatives have not built media outlets that shape and reflect their sentiment in ways that resonate with them. The same goes for Millennials, women, Latinos, African-Americans, and other diverse groups. Media outlets serve as communities that are separate and independent from partisan messaging.
Source: Pew Research Center
The data show that more people — Millennials in particular — are less attached to traditional institutions than ever before. More Americans consider themselves independent than in years past, which may explain why Trump has had such great success with his supporters, even though he defies such trademark Republican principles such as free trade, respect for property rights and civil discourse.
If mainstream conservatives want to be relevant in 2016 and in future elections (especially with the rise of Millennials, who now outnumber Baby Boomers), they need independent media institutions that allow for new voices to define what conservatism means in an increasingly diverse 21st century America. Republican primary voters are only a small subset of all voters, who are a subset of all Americans. If Donald Trump wins the GOP nomination, polling suggests he will have alienated so many groups that he will prove unelectable.
Regardless of whether he earns the Republican nod, conservatives need to lay the groundwork to ensure that civil, entertaining and compelling content is being created in a way that offers hope rather than hysteria. And that’s what can help make America great again.
Read the original article here on Opportunity Lives…
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for Edward Conard, Bain Capital founding partner and American Enterprise Institute scholar. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.