Brokaw Lectures Trump Opponents: Stopping Nomination Would ‘Be an Attack’ on Democracy

Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw made his latest appearance on the newscast he helmed for decades to act as though he had the best interests of the Republican Party at heart and warned opponents of Donald Trump that any successful attempt to stop him from gaining the nomination could “be an attack on the basic principles of why we have elections.”

Current anchor Lester Holt provided the lead in by noting that there’s “a fight for the soul” of the GOP and with Trump having amassed “millions of supporters who back him,” he argued that the similarly devout opposition to Trump “rais[es] the question many are asking: Is it the people or the party who should choose the nominee?”

Brokaw built up to this crux by first highlighting the size of Trump rallies and the bombast in which Trump has spoken on a daily basis to both his supporters and the media and how nearly all political prognosticators have been wrong about the level of success he would have.

“They were wrong. He won in seven states just last night, brought a record number to the polls and his momentum picked up pace,” Brokaw added.

Brokaw also picked up on how devoted “Trump supporters have stood by him showing up in ever larger numbers” and that “[w]hatever else the establishment thinks, he has become the voice of a large part of the Republican electorate.”

After soundbites from two supporters, Brokaw reached the crux of his commentary about how any attempt to stop Trump would serve as affront to America’s constitutional republic: “So if the GOP establishment tries to silence their voices, would that be an attack on the basic principles of why we have elections? If Trump voters are denied their choice, what then? Where do they go?”

Back live in studio with Holt, Brokaw trotted out the flawed comparison to Trump and 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater:

You're too young to remember this and we don't know what Romney’s going to say tomorrow but in 1964, the Republican establishment tried to keep Barry Goldwater from the Republican presidential nomination. They failed and then he lost massively to LBJ in the '64 election. Four years later, Richard Nixon made his famous comeback so you never know with politics.

The transcript of the tease and commentary from March 2's NBC Nightly News can be found below.

NBC Nightly News
March 2, 2016
7:23 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

LESTER HOLT: When we come back, Tom Brokaw joins on the fight for the soul of the Grand Ole Party. 

(....)

7:26 p.m. Eastern

HOLT: Finally tonight, as we said before the break, a fight for the soul of the Republican primary is under way. On the one side, Donald Trump and the millions of supporters who back him. On the other, the Republican establishment. All of it raising the question many are asking: Is it the people or the party who should choose the nominee? Here's Tom Brokaw. 

DONALD TRUMP: Bigger and better than ever. 

TOM BROKAW: His popular reality TV show portrayed him as a take-charge guy. 

TRUMP: You're fired. 

BROKAW: And his campaign was an extension of that. 

TRUMP: I will be winning, because I win. I win. 

BROKAW: At huge rallies, he was like a wrestling promoter, promising to take on Washington. 

TRUMP: How can I describe our leaders better than the word stupid. 

BROKAW: Washington pundits were appalled. 

TRUMP: We're building a wall. 

BROKAW: And they were wrong. He won in seven states just last night, brought a record number to the polls and his momentum picked up pace. Trump continues his barroom style, taking on the Speaker of the House from his own party for criticizing him.

TRUMP: Paul Ryan, I don't know him well, but I'm sure I'll get along great with him and if I don't, he's have to pay a big price, okay. 

BROKAW: Through all of it, Trump supporters have stood by him showing up in ever larger numbers. Whatever else the establishment thinks, he has become the voice of a large part of the Republican electorate. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TRUMP VOTER: We need change, and I think right now, we need someone that's not what we've been getting. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE TRUMP VOTER: He has his own money and I think he will represent the people in this country. 

BROKAW: So if the GOP establishment tries to silence their voices, would that be an attack on the basic principles of why we have elections? If Trump voters are denied their choice, what then? Where do they go? Lester, we’ve been here before. You're too young to remember this and we don't know what Romney’s going to say tomorrow but in 1964, the Republican establishment tried to keep Barry Goldwater from the Republican presidential nomination. They failed and then he lost massively to LBJ in the '64 election. Four years later, Richard Nixon made his famous comeback so you never know with politics. 

HOLT: Alright, Tom Brokaw. Thank you. Good to have you here.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center