As Donald Trump built his lead in the Republican primaries, the editors of National Review came out with an entire “Against Trump” issue, a full-throated — and ultimately ineffective — denunciation of the GOP nominee. Soon conservative media personalities were taking sides, culminating in the hiring of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon to run the Trump campaign.
But the centrality of conservative media to presidential politics is not a new development. As early as the 1950s, conservative media activists were organizing third-party tickets, promoting presidential candidates, and encouraging their audiences to cast votes based on ideology rather than party. In this talk, Nicole Hemmer explains how conservative media activists won the GOP for the right — and how in the era of Trump, they lost it.
Nicole Hemmer is an assistant professor at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and a research associate at the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Her book, Messengers of the Right, a history of conservative media in the United States, was published in Penn Press in September 2016. She is a columnist for Vox, US News & World Report, and The Age in Melbourne, Australia. Her writing has also appeared in a number of national and international publications, including the New York Times, Atlantic, New Republic, Politico, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. She co-hosts and produces Past Present, a history podcast that launched in October 2015.