When I first heard there was a pro-Trump “robocall” that was paid for by William Johnson (of the American Freedom Party) and that featured Jared Taylor, my question was Why? More specifically: What was Johnson trying to accomplish? (I assume Jared Taylor took the opportunity that was given to him by Johnson to speak his mind.)
Before delving in, it’s worth pointing out the oddness of the robocall’s content. It begins with the voice of one Ronald Tan, a Filipino minister who speaks with an accent that most would perceive as Mexican. (The Reverend urges the congregation to vote for Trump by citing a Biblical non sequitur.)
Iowa is over 90 percent White—making the Republican caucuses effectively 100 percent White. Was featuring Tan in the call an attempt at being PC, or perhaps an attempt at race-less “God and Country” patriotism?
Jared Taylor then enters and says eminently reasonable things about how immigration should be good for Americans—as opposed to being good for immigrants—and that we don’t need Muslims.
So let’s return to the question, what was Bill Johnson trying to accomplish? Here are the possibilities, as I see them.
Option 1: Help Trump Get Elected in Iowa
This is the most obvious answer . . . but also the least likely.
The very first question one should ask before writing an article, delivering a speech, or creating propaganda is, Who is the audience?
Rev. Tan’s nonsense aside, could we expect Jared’s message to resonate with Iowa Republican voters (that is, older White people)? Would it persuade them to vote for Trump?
I think not. The message might have worked with their parents and grandparents, but it’s clearly not a good one for Baby Boomers, who’ve deeply imbibed hegemonic liberal discourse.
For the robocall to make sense as propaganda, one would have to assume that Iowa Republicans are racially conscious (maybe even dyed-in-the-wool White nationalists) and that they are strangely ignorant of the mainstream media’s constant criticism of Donald Trump as a crypto-racist.
Who are Iowa Baby Boomers and what do they believe? The fact that Ben Carson led in the state for some time says a lot about them . . .
It’s true that the vast majority of White Baby Boomers (in Iowa and elsewhere) are unconsciously “racist” (that is, they want to be around other White people, send their children to all-White schools, etc.). This doesn’t mean, however, that they are consciously “racist” in private. The vast majority are consciously “colorblind.” Among themselves, they talk about how they just want to “judge people as individuals” and how they were once friends with this “articulate, intelligent” Black man, etc. We’ve heard it all before.
Trump’s campaign has been successful because he’s been able to tap into Whites’ unconscious or implicit racial feelings. But the moment these become conscious or explicit—the moment Trump says, “I’m the White man’s candidate!” or “I’m a White Nationalist!”—is the moment his campaign collapses. Baby Boomer Whites—most all Whites—are not ready or willing to vote for identitarianism. They are, in fact, afraid of our ideas.
I do not say this as a nay-sayer or pessimist. I say it as a realist. Politics is the “art of the possible.” At the moment, political identitarianism is not even close to being possible in the United States. Implicit identitarianism, on the other hand, is quite possible—and Trump has proven how potent it can be strategically.
Put bluntly, Johnson and Taylor are not helping Trump by endorsing him; and they aren’t helping him by producing an ad that many will perceive as being issued or approved by Trump’s campaign. Arguably, Trump would benefit more from being denounced by nationalists and identitarians than endorsed by them.
Option 2: Publicize White Nationalism By Creating a Media Stir
If this was the goal, then—mission accomplished.
In this scenario, Johnson is using the political system to bring attention, and potentially money, to a cause. It’s a “cart before the horse” strategy, but perhaps it’s just crazy enough to work.
The drawback, of course, is that something like this is likely to be viewed negatively—indeed, as a destructive and unsound political move—by people who support Trump’s campaign, that is, by Republicans who are the most sympathetic to an identitarian message.
Thus far, Trump has largely avoided denouncing Shitlords who support him on Twitter and the like, to his great credit. But this robocall could force him to distance himself from the American Freedom Party and American Renaissance, which wouldn’t be good.
Option 3: Leeching , Coattail-Riding, Me-too-ing, etc.
This third option is probably closest to the truth.
Johnson is trying to gain popularity by associating himself with Donald Trump. In turn, he’s taking the opportunity to present himself as a mover-and-shaker among Republicans, or at least among White Nationalists.
Perhaps there’s something to be said—or maybe a lot to be said—for acting bigger than one is. But my sense is that seeking out negative publicity never ends well.
Moreover, would we not seem even bigger and more powerful if we demonstrated a better grasp of political strategy and communications?