The Political Power of Sean Hannity
In Washington, they call the media the fifth branch of government. This is due to the fact that unless you watch CSPAN, you get all your news on what happens in Congress or the White House from TV or newspaper outlets. For this reason, the popular Fox News personality has more political sway than most politicians. His opinion on bills or events influences millions of Americans, and more than often they start to agree with him. Hannity is smart with a strong personality, and has an extremely loyal following. So, as of right now when the GOP was starting to think maybe Ryan could fill Boehner’s shoes, Hannity’s opinion on the matter matters.
Hannity suggested yesterday that instead of the GOP settling for Ryan, who he insists is nice, they should find someone who they really want and will be willing to “fight.” For many conservatives, this is exactly what they want: a fighter. Hannity alluded to this, using the word “rid” in reference to Boehner stepping down. It has long been a movement that Boehner is a “RINO,” meaning “Republican in name only,” and that there needed to be a leader in the House that truly embodied conservative principles. In other words, more far right leaning, and unafraid to do things such as shut down the government if it means truly upholding and pushing certain values (such as defunding Planned Parenthood).
The power of Hannity can be seen through his opposition to Rubio’s immigration reform, and his support for Donald Trump. For the far right, these are two areas that they agree with him on. But what if Hannity did favor Rubio’s immigration plan, or dislikes Trump? What would his followers then say? Unfortunately, we have to just muse over that question. But the bottom line is that Hannity has more power than he would if he were inside Capitol HIll, and for right now, the Speaker fight seems to just be getting started.