Today on “The Savage Nation,” conservative talk radio host Michael Savage asked Donald Trump if he plans to moderate his message before the general election.
“The reason you’re popular is because of borders, because of immigration, because of the flood of Muslims coming into the country,” Savage said. “I would almost say, Donald, please don’t let the moderate influences in your campaign take you off-point, it’s what got you where you are. Are you going to modify your campaign and move a little bit more to the center now?”
Trump assured him that he would not adjust his message, telling Savage that “the last thing I should be doing now is changing so I don’t think you have anything to worry about, okay?”
Gabriel Sherman explained yesterday in New York magazine why Trump’s message sounds so much like Savage and other conservative radio commentators:
Throughout 2014, the three fed Trump strategy memos and political intelligence. “I listened to thousands of hours of talk radio, and he was getting reports from me,” [Sam] Nunberg recalled. What those reports said was that the GOP base was frothing over a handful of issues including immigration, Obamacare, and Common Core. While Jeb Bush talked about crossing the border as an “act of love,” Trump was thinking about how high to build his wall. “We either have borders or we don’t,” Trump told the faithful who flocked to the annual CPAC conference in 2014.
Trump didn’t read a prepared speech, but he knew what he wanted to say, which hardly mattered anyway because hardly anyone took his candidacy seriously at the time. “Nobody said anything,” Trump said about the fact that he had accused Mexico of sending “rapists” over the border into the U.S. “Then two weeks later, they started saying, ‘Wait a minute! Did he really say that?’ ”
He hadn’t tested the line, but Nunberg’s deep dive into talk radio had shown him that this was the sort of thing that would resonate with a certain segment of the Republican base. He also knew that this kind of outrageous statement would earn him the free media attention ($1.9 billion worth and counting, according to the New York Times) that would propel his campaign.