Michael Brendan Dougherty has a very good piece titled “How an obscure adviser to Pat Buchanan predicted the wild Trump campaign in 1996” (hat tip: AmRen).
That ‘obsure advisor’ was the late great Samuel T. Francis, a giant figure in Alt-Right circles, and the prediction took place in Francis’ article “From Household to Nation,” which Dougherty notes “reads like a political manifesto from which the Trump campaign springs.”
Francis was a UNC history PhD candidate focused on the Southern Agrarians, who then went on to have a most interesting and varied career:
From 1977 to 1981, he was a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., with specialization in foreign affairs, terrorism, and intelligence and internal security issues. From 1981 to 1986, he was legislative assistant for national security affairs to then U.S. Senator John P. East (a Republican from North Carolina) and worked closely with the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism, of which Senator East was a member.
Francis’s political work in the late 1970s and the 1980s focused on international and domestic terrorism. He published several policy studies, including Palestinian Terrorism: The International Connection (1978) and The Soviet Strategy of Terror (1981). In 1986, he published a monograph, Illegal Immigration – a Threat to U.S. Security.
In 1986, Francis joined the editorial staff of The Washington Times as an editorial writer. He served as deputy editorial page editor from 1987 to 1991, as acting editorial page editor from February to May 1991, and as a staff columnist through September 1995. Francis received the Distinguished Writing Award for Editorial Writing of the American Society of Newspaper Editors in both 1989 and 1990. He was a finalist for the National Journalism Award (Walker Stone Prize) for Editorial Writing of the Scripps Howard Foundation in 1989 and 1990. His twice-weekly column was nationally syndicated through Creators Syndicate. In addition to his journalistic career, Francis was an adjunct scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Auburn, Alabama.
Francis was then fired from The Washington Times for a talk he gave at the 1994 American Renaissance conference, moving on to foundational Alt-Right publications:
He served as a contributor and editor of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s quarterly, Modern Age. After his dismissal from, Francis continued to write a syndicated column for VDARE.com and Chronicles magazine, and spoke at meetings of American Renaissance and the Council of Conservative Citizens.
Now here is where all this gets interesting…
Apparently, El Rushbo spent a good deal of time on his radio show today discussing (respectfully) the 1996 Sam Francis article at the center of Michael Brendan Dougherty’s piece.
This is quite significant.
Rush is no dummie.
He most certainly knows who Sam Francis was and what he stood for.
For Rush to treat Francis respectfully may signal something very seismic. Might Rush himself be increasingly moving in the Alt-Right direction? Rush’s excitement at Trump’s candidacy (Trump not being a conservative ideological puritan) is one such indicator.
Ann Coulter, who is on the Alt-Right Team (but who, understandably, won’t come out of the closet publicly) lives near Rush in FL. Over cocktails and apps, might she be turning Rush onto VDARE, AmRen, and the like?
Might Rush be attempting to nudge the Overton Window a bit more towards the views of the Alt-Right?
The gist of Sam Francis’ 1996 article was to point out the cumulative effects of a cosmopolitan, transnational elite, one which increasingly has its tentacles in the Democrat and Republican party establishments. The Davos crowd, the Soros types, the MSM elites, those whose visions of PCC or international environmental treaties, or coordinated ‘refugee’ resettlement plans… such are Francis’ targets.
Traditional left-right politics, Francis argued, is exhausted and played out. It’s time has passed. On side are the powerful U.S Chamber of Commerce types, whose money fuels GOP, Inc. (and even Democratic Party, Inc), along with their free market and libertarian-oriented think tanks. On the other side is a far Left Democratic party increasingly beholden to the totalitarian dictates of political correctness and (non-white) identity politics.
What if you dropped all this leftover 19th-century piety about the free market and promised to fight the elites who were selling out American jobs? What if you just stopped talking about reforming Medicare and Social Security and instead said that the elites were failing to deliver better health care at a reasonable price? What if, instead of vainly talking about restoring the place of religion in society–something that appeals only to a narrow slice of Middle America–you simply promised to restore the Middle American core–the economic and cultural losers of globalization–to their rightful place in America? What if you said you would restore them as the chief clients of the American state under your watch, being mindful of their interests when regulating the economy or negotiating trade deals?
That’s pretty much the advice that columnist Samuel Francis gave to Pat Buchanan in a 1996 essay, “From Household to Nation,” in Chronicles magazine. Samuel Francis was a paleo-conservative intellectual who died in 2005. Earlier in his career he helped Senator East of North Carolina oppose the Martin Luther King holiday. He wrote a white paper recommending the Reagan White House use its law enforcement powers to break up and harass left-wing groups. He was an intellectual disciple of James Burnham’s political realism, and Francis’ political analysis always had a residue of Burnham’s Marxist sociology about it. He argued that the political right needed to stop playing defense–the globalist left won the political and cultural war a long time ago–and should instead adopt the insurgent strategy of communist intellectual Antonio Gramsci. Francis eventually turned into a something resembling an all-out white nationalist, penning his most racist material under a pen name. Buchanan didn’t take Francis’ advice in 1996, not entirely. But 20 years later, “From Household to Nation,” reads like a political manifesto from which the Trump campaign springs.
To simplify Francis’ theory: There are a number of Americans who are losers from a process of economic globalization that enriches a transnational global elite. These Middle Americans see jobs disappearing to Asia and increased competition from immigrants. Most of them feel threatened by cultural liberalism, at least the type that sees Middle Americans as loathsome white bigots. But they are also threatened by conservatives who would take away their Medicare, hand their Social Security earnings to fund-managers in Connecticut, and cut off their unemployment too…
For decades, people have been warning that a set of policies that really has enriched Americans on the top, and likely has improved the overall quality of life (through cheap consumables) on the bottom, has hollowed out the middle.
Chinese competition really did hammer the Rust Belt and parts of the great Appalachian ghetto. It made the life prospects for men — in marriage and in their careers — much dimmer than those of their fathers. Libertarian economists, standing giddily behind Republican politicians, celebrate this as creative destruction even as the collateral damage claims millions of formerly-secure livelihoods, and — almost as crucially — overall trust and respect in the nation’s governing class. Immigration really does change the calculus for native-born workers too…
But the response of the predominantly-white class that Francis was writing about has mostly been one of personal despair. And thus we see them dying in middle age of drug overdose, alcoholism, or obesity at rates that now outpace those of even poorer blacks and Hispanics. Their rate of suicide is sky high too. Living in Washington D.C., however, with an endless two decade real-estate boom, and a free-lunch economy paid for by special interests, most of the people in the conservative movement hardly know that some Americans think America needs to be made great again.
The parallels with Pat Buchanan are known and apparent:
Plenty of others have noticed the parallels between Pat Buchanan and Donald Trump. Some have seen that Trump is attracting the “radical middle” social base and taking on the Caesarist, almost Latin American-style populism that Francis recommended. Buchanan was recently asked about why Trump was having all the success that he did not enjoy, when he is running on so many of the issues Buchanan did 20 years ago. Buchanan said that it was because the returns are in on the policies he criticized 20 years ago. All of this is true…
The precursors occurring across European politics are also known, but the contemporary Republican Party in America still has its head in the sand:
[T]he Trump phenomenon also seems global and inevitable. America’s elite class belongs to a truly global class of elites. And everywhere in Europe that global class is being challenged by anti-immigrant, occasionally-protectionist parties who do not parrot free-market economic policies, but instead promise to use the levers of the state to protect native interests.
Here is a C-SPAN video of Sam Francis speaking at a 1999 conference on “Multiculturalism and America’s Future”, hosted by the Council of Conservative Citizens. (Francis starts at the 19:00 marker.)