Thursday, September 29, 2016

How Ann Coulter gave us Donald Trump

"I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo." — Ann Coulter

AT LEAST as conniving as you imagined, and certainly every bit as greedy, this long-form piece from The New York Times Magazine exploring right-wing media demonstrates what a bunch of lemmings millions and millions of us are in this country.




How Donald Trump Set Off a Civil War Within the Right-Wing Media

By Robert Draper
September 29, 2016

In recent years, one of the most important events on a prospective Republican presidential candidate’s calendar was the RedState Gathering, a summer convention for conservative activists from across the nation. Its host was Erick Erickson, a round-faced, redheaded former election lawyer and city councilman in Macon, Ga., who began blogging in 2004 on a site called RedState.com.

Erickson, who is now 41, is a conservative absolutist who made his name in the mid-2000s by “blowing up” — in the Twitter parlance he jovially employs — Republican leaders he viewed as insufficiently principled. In 2005, he played a role in torpedoing the Supreme Court nomination of the White House counsel Harriet Miers, publishing damaging admissions from White House sources that Miers had not been properly vetted. Five years later, he chided the National Rifle Association for being too willing to compromise, labeling it “a weak little girl of an organization.” He was a sharp-tongued critic of John McCain and Mitt Romney during their presidential runs, characterizing the former as “an angry old jackass” and the latter as “the Harriet Miers of 2012.”

Along the way, Erickson became one of the new kingmakers of the Tea Party-era G.O.P. A little-known Florida legislator and Senate hopeful named Marco Rubio reached out to him in 2009 when he was at 3 percent in the polls. A former Texas solicitor general, Ted Cruz, did the same in 2011. Rick Perry announced his 2012 presidential candidacy at Erickson’s gathering. By 2015, a number of the coming cycle’s aspirants — Rubio, Cruz, Perry and Bobby Jindal — had given him their personal cellphone numbers, and he had traded emails with Jeb Bush. And two months before that August’s convention in Atlanta, a New York-based Republican consultant named Sam Nunberg reached out to Erickson to ask if he could accommodate one more speaker: Donald Trump.

Erickson watched coverage of Trump’s stream-of-consciousness announcement at Trump Tower on June 16 and was not particularly impressed. On the syndicated radio show he broadcasts from Atlanta, he offered his assessment with a dismissive chuckle: “I guess he’s ready to be spoiler, not president.” He had met Trump once before, in July 2011, when he visited the 26th floor of Trump Tower to interview the businessman and reality-TV-show star. Trump had spent the past few months flirting with a presidential run only to decide, as he told Erickson that day, “I have a great show that’s a big success, and it’s hard to say, ‘I’m gonna leave two hours of prime-time television in order to get beat up by people that don’t know what they’re doing.’ ”

The hourlong conversation struck Erickson as pleasant but unmemorable. What did stick with him was their exchange as he was leaving Trump Tower. “Trump asked me if I played golf,” Erickson told me recently. “And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m terrible.’ ” Then, he said, Trump asked if he would be interested in coming to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s estate-turned-golf-club in West Palm Beach, Fla., to play. “I’m very flattered — I’ve never been to West Palm Beach before,” Erickson recalled. “Several times, his office reached out. So finally I asked my wife, ‘What do you think this is about?’ She said, ‘He wants to own your soul.’ So I never went.”

CLICK HERE to read the entire New York Times Magazine article.

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