Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Howard Stern Election

I think it's fair to say that talk radio has been one of the driving forces in American politics the last twenty years. People like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, and Sean Hannity helped create the gridlock we have today by threatening to lead charges from the right against anyone who deviated from their pre-determined orthodoxy (and their scalps included people like Eric Cantor and John Boehner). Compromise was considered capitulation, and they screamed it over the airwaves every day.

But this year something funny happened. Those screams didn't work. The voters declared conservative orthodoxy immaterial by choosing the candidate who deviated the most from traditional conservative principles. Talk radio hosts have been sputtering, trying to figure out how to stay relevant. After railing against anyone who deviated from their talking points the past twenty years, how can they pivot and accept this guy? Don't get me wrong, they are trying to do it, but it doesn't take a bloodhound to smell their discomfort.

Is it possible that radio will have no effect on the election?

Not so fast. There is one radio show that will have an effect, and it's not a political show at all. It's the Howard Stern show. Over a span of 15 years (1990-2005), Donald Trump appeared on Stern's show many many times. Those tapes are out there, and trust me, they will be front and center in the presidential campaign.

Every time Donald Trump calls out Bill Clinton, these tapes will come out. Trump, in his own words, in his own voice, saying things worse than Clinton ever said. A million times worse. It's pretty hard to make the case that Hillary was terrible to women when there is actual tape of Trump dismissing flat-chested women, or talking about boning a princess, or not giving a crap about raising his kids, or cheating on his wives, or discussing the intimate details of his sex life with his current wife, or calling a woman a dog or ugly, or sending pictures of dogs to women who criticize him. Want to hear some of that? Buzzfeed has it all right here.

Radio will not be irrelevant this year. This will be the Howard Stern election.