Elected Republicans are increasingly finding themselves unable to govern the country on a national level, thanks to Rush Limbaugh, the success of Fox News and countless commentators in the ever-growing conservative media.

That's the conclusion of a new study by New York Times political correspondent Jackie Calmes.

Based on interviews with several current and former Republican leaders across the country and media analysts, Calmes found that there is large discontent within the national Republican Party directed at conservative broadcasters and bloggers who wield immense influence within the party. Calmes said that influence that has hurt Republicans in national elections for nearly two decades.

"Once allied with but now increasingly hostile to the Republican hierarchy, conservative media is shaping the party's agenda in ways that are impeding Republicans' ability to govern and to win presidential elections," wrote Calmes in a paper published Monday by the Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was interviewed for the study, and said that conservative media now acts as a cudgel against elected Republicans who show any willingness to compromise with Democrats or veer from accepted conservative dogma on low taxes, less regulation and more confrontation.

"If you stray the slightest from the far Right, you get hit by the conservative media," Lott said, according to the study.

"Not surprisingly, talk-show hosts and conservative pundits stoke that fear by inviting challengers to run against incumbents deemed too quick to compromise and then encourage support for them, including financially," Calmes wrote.

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is familiar with this pattern. In a surprise upset in 2014, Cantor was defeated in the Virginia Republican primary by a candidate who was aggressively backed by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. Fellow right-leaning radio host Mark Levin had also pushed for the ousting of Cantor.

Matt Drudge, editor of the widely read Drudge Report, was also credited for Cantor's undoing.

Despite that victory, Calmes said conservatives in the media don't often win the big battles.

"Setting the agenda, however, is not the same as winning, whether in the congressional or presidential arenas," Calmes wrote in the study. "Conservative media, and the conservative activists the media gives voice to, often do not win: Witness the retreat on the homeland security and immigration fight this year, the failed 2013 government shutdown, or Romney's nomination over more conservative rivals in 2012."

She said failures are then blamed on Republican leadership for "not fighting hard enough."

As for liberal media, Calmes found that it does not have the same impact on the Democratic Party.

"The explanation for conservative media's relative success comes down to audience," she wrote. "The Right has one, and the Left not so much, partly owing to the news-consuming habits of conservative Americans that formed over decades. MSNBC's audience is a fraction of Fox's."