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RUSH: To the phones we go, Macon, Georgia, this is Bill. You’re next, sir, I’m glad you waited and it’s great to have you with us. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, great, Rush. I think it’s still gonna shape up to be a four-way race in November of ’16 with a Democrat, not Hillary, you’re gonna have a Republican who knows, and you’re gonna have a Bernie Sanders running as independent and Donald Trump running as independent. And I can say to you honestly, real-time feedback from my two Tea Party gals here, they are furious, not at Trump but at the Republican Party for the way they are treating not only Trump, but the supporters. Because what’s upsetting my wife more than anything else is why isn’t Bernie Sanders being made to sign a pledge? He’s actually run and won as a third-party candidate, and my answer to her was, the Democrats want him out but his voters in. The Republicans want Trump out but they don’t care whether their voters stay in or not. And again, I think 2016 is gonna be an election where all the rules are out.

RUSH: Wait, wait, wait just a second. Did you just say that the difference in the Republicans and Democrats is that the Democrats will force Bernie out but try to keep his voters —

CALLER: Yeah.


RUSH: — and the Republicans will force Trump out, but they don’t care whether they lose his voters or not?

CALLER: Yeah, because you articulated yesterday, his voters are not necessarily conservatives for conservative reasons. They’re Tea Party people. My dad is what you used to call like a Reagan Democrat or Blue Dog Democrat. He’s from Massachusetts. He’s a Trump supporter. But you get him talking economics you sound like you’re talking to Mao Tse-tung. You talk to gun control, it’s like you’re talking to John Wayne. You’ve got all kinds of people supporting Trump, but the Republicans just alienated a lot of people.

Now, with Bernie Sanders, they don’t want Bernie Sanders getting the nomination any more than they want Hillary Clinton because, as you said, Bernie Sanders believes what he’s saying, but if you try to make Bernie Sanders sign a pledge you’re saying to his voters, we don’t think he can win, and he’ll either run as an angry third party guy which means his supporters are gonna go with him or —

RUSH: Well, here’s the difference. Bernie Sanders is not Donald Trump. They’re not… I don’t think anybody would even think of dealing with Bernie Sanders with a pledge. They’ll deal with Bernie Sanders in a little room behind the scenes and it’ll be like Peter Finch being dragged in to meet the big multinational CEO.

CALLER: But it appears… It’s how it appears, Rush. It’s how it appears. If Bernie Sanders supporters think he’s just lost fair and square or he realizes it and he bows out gracefully and endorses somebody, I think that’s the scenario they want. But if they make Bernie Sanders’ supporters angry, they’re gonna leave, and I think this is really gonna be one of those elections especially more so for the Democrats. They’re gonna need everybody to —

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RUSH: Wait a minute. About that point, Trump just signed a pledge that he won’t do what you’re theorizing.

CALLER: — carved in stone. And it’s gonna depend, again, on Donald Trump. This is 2016. If Donald Trump’s supporters are angry and they are telling Donald Trump, “Who cares what the Republican Party wants? We want you as president,” he’s gonna go with what his supporters want. If he thinks he can win as a third-party candidate, he’s gonna do it. And I’m telling you, everything about… What we’ve had with past elections is gonna change this year. I think you’re gonna see more people register to vote.

We only got like half the people in this country above 18 are actually registered to vote. I’ve got friends of mine who’ve never voted who are starting to register to vote. It depends on who doesn’t anger their base the most on how this is all played. I think the Republicans are doing… I think it’s the Republicans’ election to lose; it’s not the Democrats’ election to win. And I think it’s how people treat their bases. And right now, the Democrats are doing a better job of treating all segments of their voter base —

RUSH: Well, no question.

CALLER: — treating —

RUSH: As of right now. As of right now, there’s no question about that. As of right now. So you’re predicting a four-way race in 2016. Now, Bernie Sanders. Just to be technical here, Bernie Sanders is an independent. He’s not a Democrat. He’s an independent, self-avowed socialist, but that really doesn’t matter to anything. If he runs, it’ll be with… If he were to win this legitimately and is the winner, he will run on the Democrat ticket, the Democrat line.

So for all intents and purposes general election-wise he’d be a Democrat, and it will be the Democrats that will see to it that he doesn’t. You’re right. How they do it, how they convince him to get out and hold onto his supporters will be crucial. It won’t be with a pledge. And you reminded me of something else. My brother sent me a note last night. He’d got into a big Twitter fight with some people who misunderstood me yesterday when I was talking about Trump supporters.

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Some people heard it out of context and thought that I said the exact opposite of what I said. Let me repeat something I said yesterday. I was reacting to, well, two things primarily, but then everything that these two things symbolize and represent. There was a piece in the Wall Street Journal, and there was another piece at National Review Online. And the Wall Street Journal piece was that if you are supporting Trump, you are appalling.

It’s an appalling thing to do, and you are appalling, and you’re not a real conservative. And National Review Online had a story saying that people supporting Trump are just throwing away their conservative principles. I said in response and analyzing, “These people are missing what’s happening here.” All I said was that the Trump phenomenon is not rooted in conservatism. I did not say that Trump supporters are not conservative. I said that Trump’s phenomenon is about more than conservatism.

It’s not populism. This is the next critical bit of analysis that is now starting to come from the conservative intelligentsia. It’s either bad conservatives that are abandoning their principles or just populists, and populists are held in a special contempt by the people who are accusing you of just being populists. That’s akin to being nationalists and xenophobes in this context. I was simply trying to tell these people that are worried about what’s happening conservatism.

At the same time I said, “What good are conservative principles if all you do is write about them?” All these great conservatives out there — and I’ll acknowledge we have a whole bunch of really great ones. But you have to do more than write about it. You have to do more than go on TV and offer commentary. There has to be some action implemented here, and that’s what people see in Trump. They see the implementation of action, not just some people spouting things.

They think he’s going to do something that they want done, a series of things that they want done. In that sense, it’s not just conservatism that is driving this Trump phenomenon. And I don’t say that in a critical way at all. So just to be clear, if any of you misheard yesterday… Something must have happened that caused people to hear this out of context, but I was not even talking about Trump when I made this comment yesterday.

I was talking about all these conservative writers and commentators who are complaining about all the Trump supporters abandoning their conservatism in order to support him. And they’re worried that this is destroying conservatism. “It’s diluting it. It’s watering it down. It’s misdefining it, redefining it,” and it isn’t. None of that is happening at all.

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