It’s the best of times and the worst of times for the American Right. President Biden’s approval rating is the worst it has ever been and the Republicans stand a good chance of recapturing Congress in the midterms [Biden’s approval ratings have plummeted, and that could spell trouble for Democrats in Congress, by Christina Wilkie, CNBC, August 24, 2021]. But the GOP is confused, leaderless, benefitting from simply not being Democrats. It’s an opportunity for someone who dares to cross the political Rubicon, especially by emphasizing the escalating immigration disaster. Unfortunately, there’s no obvious candidate.
It’s not just the Afghanistan catastrophe that has Biden underwater. Inflation is rising, illegal immigration is out of control, and it appears we even have variants not just of viruses, but terrorist groups [ISIS Branch Poses Biggest Immediate Terror Threat to Evacuation in Kabul, by Eric Schmitt, New York Times, August 26, 2021]. The Europeans who feared a foreign policy fiasco under President Trump are furious with Biden [Anger And Consternation From Europeans Watching Afghanistan Fall To The Taliban, by Eleanor Beardsley, NPR, August 16, 2021]. And the Democrats’ hopes of passing a massive infrastructure bill rest on Senate moderates like Krysten Sinema, who has already said she won’t vote for it [Sinema: I simply won’t back a $3.5T spending bill, by Burgess Everett, Politico, August 23, 2021].
Further, Democrats are split on the issue of crime, with an open break between many Democratic politicians and Black Lives Matter after every Senate Democrat voted against defunding the police [Senate Democrats unfazed by GOP police funding proposal, by Alan Fram, AP, August 11, 2021]. That may help with fearful white suburban voters but won’t be good for progressive turnout. Even the attempt to exploit for political gain the January 6 Mostly Peaceful Protest seems strained when the FBI admits there wasn’t much evidence of coordination. In short, America is not back.
🚨 NEW AD 🚨— Taylor Budowich (@TayFromCA) August 24, 2021
President Donald J. Trump releases, “Surrenderer-In-Chief” pic.twitter.com/ctijLXj8gg
Yet what is the Right’s response to this? On Afghanistan, Republicans have mixed messages. Some seem to want to stay in Afghanistan beyond August 31, including Senators Graham (no surprise) and Tom Cotton [Cotton says the military should not withdraw from Afghanistan on August 31 deadline, 5News, August 24, 2021]. Others think ending the war was a good idea, but the execution was bad. But any pullout would have been messy. And even after the deaths of 11 U.S. Marines at Kabul Airport, Biden has reason to hope that the public will come around to his side, as Pat Buchanan points out tonight [Americans’ views on the Afghanistan withdrawal run along party lines, The Economist, August 19, 2021]. There are troubling signs that the GOP is returning to the unreconstructed neoconservative Invade-The-Worldism of the George W. Bush years.
Part of this means letting in unlimited Afghan “refugees” to supposedly win some kind of political victory over Joe Biden. Numerous Conservatism Inc. commentators, politicians, and the GOP governors of Utah, South Carolina, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, and Massachusetts support this. (Lest we forget, President Trump also attacked Biden for not wanting to admit enough Afghans [Trump Endorses Prioritizing Afghan Refugees Amid Series Of Attacks On Biden, by Andrew Solender, Forbes, August 16, 2021]. This means GOP is throwing away the immigration patriotism card.
And then there’s COVID-19. President Biden has apparently received a report saying that evidence of where COVID-19 came from it is “inconclusive," though it does mention the non-cooperation of the Chinese government [Biden receives “inconclusive” intelligence report on COVID-19 origins, by Yaron Steinbuch, August 25, 2021]. That tells us all we need to know about where it probably came from. But whoever is responsible will never be identified or punished.
And our rulers want it that way. President Biden is not going to press for definitive answers; instead, he wants private corporations to push vaccine mandates. But now it appears that vaccines only work for a few months and everyone will require “booster” shots as the virus mutates [Biden Administration Likely to Approve Covid-19 Boosters at Six Months, by Stephanie Armour and Jared Hopkins, Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2021]. In other words, our immune systems have become a kind of subscription service for Big Pharma. Given the centrality of ending COVID to Biden’s campaign, it’s not surprising that the dawning realization that this pandemic is forever has people souring on him [Poll: Biden’s job ratings decline amid COVID surge, Afghanistan withdrawal, by Mark Murray, WRAL, August 24, 2021].
But what’s the Republican response? President Trump told his supporters to get vaccinated and was booed [Donald Trump booed at Alabama rally after telling supporters to ‘take the vaccines,’ by Jordan Mendoza, USA Today, August 23, 2021]. Whatever your opinion of the vaccines, the reason people react this way is that they are being told to trust the same institutions that have lied to them about everything else. It’s not surprising many think there’s something nefarious going on [Why People Don’t Trust ‘the Science,’ by Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, July 30, 2021]. We can’t defeat COVID-19 unless we get honesty from those institutions and a real investigation into where the disease came from. The GOP won’t deliver on those two things.
The truly totalitarian restrictions being implemented by Australia could eventually spread here [Hundreds arrested in anti-lockdown protests in Australia, by Cameron Jenkins, The Hill, August 21, 2021]. This provides another opportunity for opposition, but Republicans should be cautious. At the state level, Ron DeSantis has opposed mask mandates, but he doesn’t have public opinion on his side [“Thumbs down”: Ron DeSantis hit with brutal poll numbers as COVID-19 cases rise in Florida, by Brad Reed, Salon, August 25, 2021]. Meanwhile, in South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem has discovered the usual conservative trick of not using state power and instead trusting the free markets. She’s opposed a bill banning vaccine mandates in the state because it’s “not conservative” [The GOP struggles with what to do on employer vaccine mandates, by Aaron Blake, the Washington Post, August 25, 2021]. When conservative commentator Matt Walsh attacked this position, Gov. Noem used clips from CultMarx Enforcers Media Matters to call him sexist, yet another example of a Republican attacking conservatives with far more energy than they attack the Left [South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem accuses Conservative podcast host Matt Walsh of misogyny: All That Happened In The Twitter battle, Opindia, August 26, 2021].
In the massive infrastructure battle shaping up, there doesn’t seem to be much Republican action except knee-jerk opposition to the next stimulus bill. Of course, had Mitch McConnell pushed through the stimulus checks President Trump wanted before the election, ’45 would probably still be in office, the GOP would have kept the Senate, the federal government would have spent less than it probably will, and we’d all have and extra $600 each. Instead, we’ll pay more in taxes for a bill full of racial socialist giveaways for anti-white programs [Biden’s COVID relief bill is chock full of anti-white reverse racism, by Betsy McCaughey, New York Post, February 25, 2021]. The biggest one of all: Amnesty was snuck into this mammoth bill. Of course, this is where Republicans should focus their opposition.
All these problems come from a single source, the refusal of “American” leaders to think of this country as anything other than a shopping mall or a dumping ground. What’s at stake are existential challenges. There’s a massive wave of Afghan invaders that history tells us will add to our already staggering crime rate, something journos will do their best to conceal. There’s a spending bill that could break the country financially, an Amnesty that could break it demographically, and an official cult of anti-white hate that could break it apart politically. Indeed, the U.S. breaking apart might even be preferable to eternal subjugation of the Historic American Nation.
The historical challenge is staggering. Yet GOP leadership lacks what George H.W. Bush notoriously called “the vision thing.” They seem entirely missing in action when it comes to immigration, have no viable counteroffer when it comes to infrastructure, and are utterly incoherent on foreign policy. If Republicans regain power, it will be despite their best efforts to blow it. And then the GOP-controlled Congress, like Gov. Noem and the GOP-controlled 115th Congress elected with Donald Trump, won’t do anything with that power
The American Right requires a philosophical and ideological reorientation as complete as that which was accomplished at the beginning of the Cold War. As Paul Gottfried notes, today’s conservatives are simply a “pale imitation” of the Left itself, constantly borrowing the Left’s “rhetoric and positions” [Politics Is The New Religion, Chronicles, August 2021].
There is some intellectual movement toward a more nationalist, strong-government rightist state of the sort built by illiberal Hungary [Viktor Orban is winning his culture war, by Rod Dreher, The Spectator, August 3, 2021]. However, what chance does that have of succeeding in America when even Americans like Rod Dreher who sympathize with it retreat immediately when Leftists use devil terms against them?
The sole figure with any mass platform who is even pointing out the disconnect between the American and those who claim to speak for them is Fox TV host Tucker Carlson. Of course, for that reason, he already has most journalists in the country trying to take his scalp.
If Carlson were to run for president, what he would face is arguably worse than what Trump faced. The Ruling Class learned from 2016. It will never allow a reasonably free debate like that ever again. Carlson would be putting himself at the mercy of the most evil and powerful forces of the Regime. It’s not surprising he reportedly has no interest in the job [Tucker Carlson shuns 2024, by Mike Allen, Axios, June 21, 2021].
Unfortunately, there’s no one else at a national level with a mass following—except Trump himself, and he has missed his opportunity [Most voters don’t want Biden or Trump to run in 2024, poll finds, by W. James Antle III, Washington Examiner, August 23, 2021].
Anything’s possible of course. We can perhaps hope that Trump has learned from his mistakes, but we’ve been doing that for five years. It is all too clear that Jared Kushner will not allow him to run against legal immigration again. At a certain point, doing the same thing over and over again is just insanity. I, for one, have written him off.
Instead, I think that, barring the appearance of another man on horseback, another candidate catching lightning, or a Carlson about-face, the best bet is for ordinary patriots to start organizing and running for office everywhere they can, constantly attacking the GOP from the right.
Understanding that no one is coming to save us from Washington or from heaven anytime soon should galvanize us. An American Right must emerge that is willing to use state power explicitly in defense of its constituents and the nation. We don’t need to “educate” the people. The mass base, the grievances against the ruling system, and the willingness to fight (and not just settle for small government platitudes) are already present. The people are simply waiting for a leader, or, perhaps, many leaders, who have something to offer besides limited government boilerplate, Chamber of Commerce talking points, or faux populism like wearing a cowboy hat while you vote for Open Borders.
There is a huge vacuum on the American Right. The vague undeveloped ideas and impulses can only take form if they are expressed in a real-world political movement, preferably united behind a single candidate with a mass base. The people know what they want and the intellectual work is being done (by VDARE.com, among others), but it won’t happen unless someone who is already of the elite takes up the cause.
It simply remains for one man who already has some standing to decide it’s worth the personal risk to pick it up with his sword (microphone).
James Kirkpatrick [Email him |Tweet him @VDAREJamesK] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc. His latest book is Conservatism Inc.: The Battle for the American Right. Read VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow's Preface here.