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GOP Thinks Presidency Hinges on Ohio

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  The Republican National Convention site for 2016 has been announced.  Cleveland is where the Republican Party convention will be held, Cleveland, Ohio.  That's, I guess, Hispanic outreach.  What is that?

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RUSH: Now, by the way, I made a flippant remark going into the top-of-the-hour break about the Republican convention in Cleveland.  I don't want to be misunderstood.  We love Cleveland here!  We own Cleveland.  We have one of the highest audiences in any city in Cleveland and we have had for a long time.  Cleveland loves and adores this show. 

I asked rhetorically: Why Cleveland? 

There is an answer to this, and here's what it is: The Republican Party has concluded that the presidency cannot be won by anybody if they don't win Ohio. Given the political realities of the day, the demographics and voter registration and all of that, the calculation by the party (I don't necessarily agree with it) is that the Republican Party believes that they can't win the presidency unless they win Ohio.  

There was a point, if you go back to 2012 if I'm remembering this right (and I probably am), when it was thought that the 2012 race was going to be so close that the winner of Ohio could end up winning the electoral vote and the presidency but still lose the overall national raw vote total, the popular vote, like Bush in 2000.  It was thought to be that close.  To give weight to that thinking, remember how Karl Rove just would not give it up on Election Night? 

Fox News where Karl was doing analysis, eventually called Ohio for Obama, and Karl said, "No, no, no, no. You can't be right! There are too many counties left." He and Megyn Kelly walked down to the wise men's room where the computer analysts and so forth were looking at the data. After the call, they walked down there. It was a much talked about thing, but that's how important Ohio was.

It turned out that Ohio would not have made the difference, but there was a point in time where it was thought (and I guess they still do think) that Ohio is a must. If they don't win Ohio, it doesn't matter what else happens.  Well, now, when you stop and think of that... Again, this is just me, and politics is not my business, contrary to what many people think.  I got in a big argument with a friend of mine out in California.

He said, "What do you mean, you don't do politics?"

"I don't.  Politics is not my career.  Radio is my career, broadcasting." 

"Oh, are you telling me you're not political?"

"I'm saying my success is not determined by who wins.  My success has never been determined by who wins elections.  I've made a point of that.  If my success were determined by who wins elections, I wouldn't be here.  So, yeah, in that sense I'm not political." 

"Yes, you are! All you do is politics." 

"No.  I talk about a lot things besides politics. I'm not in the politics business.  Getting an audience is much different than getting votes, and vice-versa." 

So from that perspective, I sit here and when I'm told, "Hey, if the Republicans don't win Ohio, it's all over, no matter what else happens," well, then what in the name of Sam Hill is wrong with the message if that's the reality?  Am I wrong about that?  Now, I know there are various realities you have to deal with, the electoral votes.

Some states are locked for the Democrats, and some states are locked for the Republicans, and it doesn't matter.  But I think the Republican Party buys into too much of that.  I think the Republican Party buys into whatever the Democrats tell them, just like they bought into the silly idea that every election is determined by the independent vote. 

That trick has been played on the Republican Party my entire life, and the way it manifests itself is that when you get to the presidential election, the Republican Party is aiming at 20% of the voting populace, not all of it, with their message.  So the theory is, "Okay, you get your 40% and that's in your base," and they're not doing that, by the way.  There were four million Republicans that sat home in 2012 rather than vote for Romney, for whatever reason. 

So they didn't solidify the base, number one, but they thought they had, so then you go for the 20% independent.  Well, Romney won independents going away!  It wasn't even close, and they didn't win the presidency.  But the trick is believing that every presidential race is fought over 20% of the voting population.  Well, when you tailor a message to 20% of the voting populace who are independents?

You don't really know what message, number one.

What do you say? How do you campaign to independents? 

Well, that's the next trick.  The next trick the Republicans have fallen for hook, line, and sinker is this idea that if you are too partisan or if you criticize the Democrat candidate -- I don't know if it's Obama or if it's Hillary or whoever -- independents do not like that.  They do not like at all, and when you criticize Democrats, independents are gonna run right back home to the Democrat Party. 

So the Republicans have been talked into being docile, nonideological, campaigning for 20% of the vote.  And you know this is true.  The Republican consultant class runs around and tells all the candidates, "I'm the guy that can get you the independent vote.  I'm the one, hire me, I know how to get the independent vote."  Meanwhile, the Democrats are out there shooting for everybody.  The Democrats have a plan for every different group.  They're going for everybody.  Reagan went for everybody.  Reagan went for Americans first, and then they got subdivided. 

So when I hear that if we don't win Ohio, even with this set of circumstances -- my question is, what's wrong with the message, if it comes down to one state?  See, that's why I say, 'cause I'm sure if I had some political professional sitting here and I'm asking that question, I'm sure I get an answer, "Well, Rush, you just don't quite understand. Here's the way these elections shape up.  I get a list of states that are locked for Democrats no matter what, no matter who, no matter how, no matter what we do, Democrats get 'em.  And then here are the states that we get," blah, blah, blah. "And I would get county by precinct, by this, by that. I'd get the independent vote, the Hispanic vote, women vote, single women."

All of that escapes me. I don't care about it, 'cause I don't know how you chop your message up into 15 different parts and have it still mean something.  Well, you hire consultants and you do it with TV ads, and then you make sure there's nobody with a video camera when you're talking to the donors, I guess.  That's why I say I'm not in politics.  I live in this naive little world which I happen to believe that the most pro-America, optimistic we can be, great message would win a lot of people.  I live in that world and apparently it's just stupid thinking. "No, Rush, that message is not gonna work.  Gotta realize, Rush, over half the country's bought and paid for by the Democrats.  There's no way that we can counter that with a message of hard work.  I mean, it's a guaranteed loser." 

Yeah, may have a point.  The old standard message of hard work, American dream gets laughed at because half the country's being supported already by the Democrats.  Well, that message hasn't been tried in a long time.  My message.  When's the last time it was tried?  I don't know.  It hasn't been tried in a long time.  Not nationally.  It's Marco Rubio's message when he stays on message, that's what his message is.  And it's Ted Cruz's and a couple of others.  And see what happens to them, even in their own party.  

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