ning every which way you can define. Now, how do you think Trump’s
voters are reacting to the protests, and all of this dissent? Will it have
any impact on them, in terms of softening them on Trump?
ZITO: Absolutely not at all. First of all, most people on Main Street
are not the type who protest. They didn’t join the Tea Party, and
they’re not going to join this. The Occupy movement has taken
over the Democrats, as opposed to the Democrats expanding their
universe. They’re contracting, because they’re going to the leftist
side of their party. Even honest protests tend to get hijacked by
professionals or by anarchists. So it becomes a negative. It’s also
incredibly hard for a parent. Say you have kids, 8, 9,
10, and you have to explain to them what that pink
hat stands for. I mean, come on.
ZITO: I know this world has become much more
progressive, but it’s not that long ago that I raised
children. I was not willing to have that kind of
conversation with my daughter or my son.
RUSH: Right. And that’s another thing. I don’t think
the progressives are anywhere near the majority. If you
look at polling data on self-identified liberals and conservatives, only 25 percent say they’re liberal. Pervasive
liberalism is an illusion because they have the media
and they have pop culture. So they have the ability to
make it seem that they are a majority and dominant,
but look at the elections they’re losing. It’s phenomenal.
ZITO: One thousand and thirty state legislative seats,
governors’ offices, A.G. offices, secretary of state offices, state offices. It’s been catastrophic for Democrats. I have been reporting and screaming about this
since 2009, when I really saw things starting to
change. People just laughed at me. In 2014 I came
back from five days in Wisconsin and I predicted at
Real Clear Politics — I can’t believe I was bold enough to write this
— that in 2016 we’d be reading about Wisconsin going red. I said
Wisconsin is going to vote for whoever the Republican candidate is
because this state is gone for the Democrats. They haven’t had a
statewide election that the Democrats have won outside of their
U.S. Senator. That was three years ago.
RUSH: It’s phenomenal. You are incredibly insightful. You are one of
the relatively few people in any industry who have become identified
by a signature phrase: “The press takes Trump literally but not seriously. His supporters take him seriously but not literally.” Everybody
knows Salena Zito crafted that quote. It’s a profundity. My experience is that Trump people do a little bit of both, taking him seriously
and literally. They’re just a little more forgiving because of what he
represents at large. When it comes to the wall, for instance, how
many really think he’s going to build that wall and that Mexico’s going to pay for it? And if it doesn’t happen, will they feel betrayed?
ZITO: I wrote a piece for The Washington Post just a week after the
election. I had tapped a database of over 4,000 people that I inter-
viewed over the past year. I reached out to hundreds of them for the
story, even the voters who were voting against Clinton and not nec-
essarily for Trump. They never believed that. What they believed is
that he was going to disrupt things. What they believed was he
wasn’t in anybody’s pocket. That he was not a politician. That he
might not get everything done he said he was going to do, but he
was going to put Washington on notice, and that was the most
important thing to them.
Both parties needed a lesson, and they were very willing to participate in that, even if they didn’t love him or even if they did love him.
And this election cycle cannot be told without looking back at 2006
and saying that’s right where it started, right there in western Pennsylvania and in eastern Ohio and in Wisconsin where Democrats won
these Republican seats — not because these voters liked Democrats all
over again. It’s because they were mad at the system, and they swung
back in 2010 and threw them all out. I think there’s one left in that class
of 2006. These voters have been telling us, and have been sending a
message to Washington, and Washington has continuously misread
the voting results, and that’s what led to this election cycle.
RUSH: I think they do it on purpose. It’s a combination of ignorance and arrogance that’s causing them to do that. You spotted the
trend in 2006. Now let’s go to June 16 and Trump’s coming down
the escalator, and he gives his announcement speech. What was
your reaction that day?
ZITO: I wrote a story not long after about the “Know-Nothing”
party, which is an incredibly important but lost moment in our
electoral history where the country was at its most populist. I said
we need to understand populism and what drives it, and what
Trump has going for him, and I can see that because I live in
Pittsburgh. It’s like the Paris of Appalachia. Right? I’m at the fault
line where elections matter. Populists arise when you have great
economic upheaval and industrialized change, and that happened
with the Know-Nothings. That also then happened again with
William Jennings Bryan, but the ability to reach all those people
was limited because of the lack of technology. I warned that technology could make us elect our first true populist President.
RUSH: But when Trump makes his announcement and says
what he says about Mexicans, says what he says about McCain,