I have been visiting the Drudge Report for as long as I can remember. There’s a simplistic beauty in the barebones, black-and-white layout that gives the site a certain charm. But more importantly, the site has always served as a dependable one-stop-shop for a conservative news junkie like me. A collection of everything from the political, to the entertaining, to the bizarre, if you needed to know it, you could find it on the Drudge Report.
Drudge, of course, owes his rise in the world of conservative media to his uncovering of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Since that time, you could always bet that if somewhere in the world, a Clinton was caught in the act of something embarrassing or unfortunate, Matt Drudge would be there with every detail and perspective on the story that existed online. His distaste for everything Clinton was endearing to conservatives, who flocked to him not only for his in-depth coverage of the stories, but also his often biting and humorous commentary on them. He pursued the Kerry’s and Obama’s of the world as well, but nothing quite matched the sheer delight he seemed to get from badgering Bill and Hillary.
And yet as we approach an election cycle in which Drudge’s anti-Clinton slant is needed more than ever, he has turned his guns on anyone who opposes his chosen candidate, Donald Trump. When he isn’t busy casting Ted Cruz and his supporters as evangelical end times cultists, Drudge has gone full conspiracy nut over the Trump camp’s inability to procure delegates based on old and well-defined GOP rules. He has continually sown the seeds of divisiveness and discord in the party that will have to stand against his old arch enemies in just a few short months.
For his part, Drudge’s devotion to Trump’s candidacy seems to have nothing to do with principle and everything to do with the media circus that would accompany a Trump/Clinton general election. “Trump vs. Clinton is the race America deserves,” he tweeted in February, “EPIC. WILD. NASTY. FUN.”
I have no doubt that Drudge’s support of Trump is partially fueled by his distaste for the Clintons. Trump would, after all, be the most blunt, the most crass, the most tasteless in his attacks against Hillary, and such obnoxiousness is tailor-made for those bright red headlines. The site’s genetic makeup has always been about 25% tabloid, so it’s not especially surprising that Drudge would throw his support behind the National Enquirer’s chosen candidate. It’s just disappointing.
If Trump is the nominee, his dismal polling numbers against Clinton, combined with his apprehension for engaging in debate, make him a most desirable general election opponent for Hillary. If the nominee is anyone but Trump, Drudge will have a difficult time pulling an about-face in supporting whichever candidate is chosen to oppose the Clinton machine, rendering what could have been a valuable source of attack for Clinton’s opponent largely impotent.
Whatever happens, if the party’s inability to coalesce gives us a Clinton in the White House in November, at least part of the blame will rest, ironically, on the shoulders of Matt Drudge.