Conservative talk radio is a dominating force in Wisconsin, and six of its most powerful stars have found themselves united in a mission to stop Donald Trump in his tracks in the state.
"Can someone win without talk radio?" Charlie Sykes, the Milwaukee host who eviscerated Trump during a contentious live interview
last week on WTMJ in Milwaukee, commented to The New York Times
. "Yes, theoretically, except no one has."
Sykes, a leader of the "Stop Trump" movement, isn't the only one pushing back against Trump. He and talk show stars Mark Belling, Vicki McKenna and Jay Weber of WISN, Jeff Wagner of WTMJ, and Jerry Bader, a radio personality at WTAQ in Green Bay aren't always united in their opinions, but when it comes to Trump, they're in full attack mode.
And Trump has noticed.
"In certain areas — the city areas — I'm not doing well," Trump told Racine voters, reports The Times. "I'm not doing well because nobody knows my message. They were given misinformation."
The talk show hosts helped to rally conservative voters to elect Gov. Scott Walker three times in the past four years, and are now strongly backing Walker's choice, Sen. Ted Cruz, for the primary vote in Tuesday's election, and their efforts may be taking hold.
According to Real Clear Politics
, Cruz is up by 4 points overall against Trump, and in the influential Marquette Law School poll
, Cruz was leading by 10 points last week.
"The thing that's been unique in this presidential race is, for some reason, the three who work here — Jay, Vicki and myself — and our competitors, Charlie and Jeff Wagner, all seem to despise Trump," Belling told The Times.
Belling has not been pulling any punches on Trump, calling him in one show alone "the biggest wussy of all time," and a "sissy" and insulting his staff as "a bunch of butt-kissers."
But still, Trump last Monday called in to the state's radio hosts, including with Sykes, and did not fare well with any of them.
McKenna poked fun at Trump's call for a border wall to the point and at other issues, and even though she called on him to unify the Republican Party, he ended up hanging up on her.
Meanwhile, in Green Bay, Bader told Trump he had concerns about his behavior and "vague policy positions."
Both Bader and Sykes admitted to The Times that they feel a responsibility to stop Trump from winning.
"I believe I have a moral responsibility to do whatever small part I can in stopping Donald Trump," said Bader. "It's beyond politics for me. I think he's dangerous."
Sykes, meanwhile, said he believes Trump "poses a fundamental challenge to the conservative movement, an existential challenge. So, yes, I have made it my mission to stop him."
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