One of the toughest problems for dissident political movements to navigate is the army of grfters and subversives that are always on the prowl for easy targets. The Tea Party movement is a great example. The people who initially got involved did so for all the right reasons. They were nice, white middle-class people upset about what they saw happening in Washington. It was the sort of spontaneous civic nationalism that many white people still cling to as a solution to our present woes. It’s the good sort of populism.
The trouble is, the movement was quickly swarmed by an army of grifters and opportunists, along with the body-men of the establishment,. These people showed up offering help, organization and in some cases, a famous name to add credibility. Before long the whole thing became a bust-out, with the grifters carrying off what they could, before it collapsed in a heap. The caravan of hustlers has now moved onto peddling neo-libertarianism as the antidote to both populism and identity politics.
Of course, something similar has happened to the Trump phenomenon. This story in Politico about various clowns and freaks in the MAGA movement is emblematic of what has become of Trumpism. Ali Alexander, one of the organizers, appears to be the spawn of Sammy Davis Jr. and an Easter Island statue. Judging from his postings, he takes a lot of drugs or suffers from psychotic episodes. The Tea Party, at least, drew a decent class of grifter. Trump’s baggage train is just freaks and lunatics.
In fairness to Trump and the millions of people who voted for him and still support him, they can’t do much about these freak shows. The media loves to promote old weirdos like Roger Stone, because it makes Trump look bad. He provides easy copy and he is willing to be their Sambo, dancing at the end of whatever string they offer. People like Loomer, Molyneux and Cernovich show up because they sniff a few dollars. They are performers and they go where they can find an audience willing to pay them to perform.
The fact that the place was empty suggests politically active whites are staring to wise up to this stuff. Last year’s C-PAC also experienced a drop in attendance. Maybe people are starting to figure out that these events are just a way to keep them busy while their pockets are picked. Maybe white people are rethinking their politics. The utter disappointment of the Trump presidency thus far has probably been the worst thing to happen to this sort of political racketeering. It’s smartened up the chumps.
Still, there is a pattern here. The Reagan years birthed Conservative Inc., which hoovered tens of millions out of the pockets of middle-class white people into various projects that never accomplished a thing. The Contract With America institutionalize the system into a permanent political-industrial complex. The Tea Party, of course, was a complete bust and now Trumpism is becoming an embarrassing freak show. Any resistance is either co-opted or turned into something embarrassing.
The thing that all of these failed movements have in common is they accepted the premise of liberal democracy. From Reagan to Trump, all efforts to reform or challenge the system did so within the context of liberal democracy. They also assumed that the fight must take place on the platforms of the Progressive media. Inevitably, the media picks the most embarrassing members of the alternative to come up on stage. This happened with Reagan, Gingrich and even Bush. We see the same thing happening in the Trump era.
This suggests two rules for dissident politics. One is a variation of the oldest bit of political advice. Never been seen with crazy people or wearing funny hats. Professional pols have people who make sure they are never in the same shot as a crank or weirdo. Smart pols also avoid putting themselves in situation where they can look silly, like driving a tank wearing an over-sized helmet or getting goosed by a farm animal. For dissidents, it means staying clear of attention whores and people with heads full of nutty ideas.
More important, it means staying as far away from Progressive media as possible. This has been a topic for a long time on the Dissident Right, but the side in favor of engagement has always won. Their argument was that it was the best way to get the attention of the public. Today, that’s not the case. Mass media is the worst way to get the attention of the public, because it is all click-bait, agit-prop and tabloid nonsense. The fragmentation also means a much lower ROI. There are better ways to get the public’s attention.
Maybe that’s a bit of white pill to take away from the failure of GrifterCon to attract much of audience this weekend. Maybe people now associate being in the news with being mentally unstable or being an unreliable degenerate. While a story about Roger Stone may get eyeballs on a news site, the people viewing it do so for the same reason people look at pictures of a snake trying to swallow a goat. The freak show has reached a point where it is self-discrediting. That would be a great development for dissidents if true.