Did Sam Francis Hold a Fundraiser for Donald Trump?

Of course, not. The paleo-conservative died in 2005. But what about Bill Ayers (the co-founder of the Weatherman) fundraiser for President Obama?

The reason for asking is elite journalism’s tic of recognizing the tawdry associations of president-elect Trump while never having taken seriously President Obama’s associations with the radical left. For instance, I read this in the New Yorker:

Throughout the campaign, he was accused of being the leader of a white backlash movement, waging war on minorities: he says that he wants to expel millions of unauthorized immigrants, and calls for a moratorium on Muslims entering the country. Since his election, many analyses of his political program have focussed on his ties to the alt-right, a nebulous and evolving constellation of dissidents who sharply disagree with many of the conservative movement’s widely accepted tenets—including, often, its avowed commitment to racial equality. This connection runs through Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, an “economic nationalist” who was previously the executive chairman of Breitbart, a news site that aimed to be, Bannon once said, “the platform for the alt-right.” Earlier this year, Breitbart published a taxonomy of the alt-right that included Richard Spencer, a self-described “identitarian” whose political dream is “a homeland for all white people.” At a recent conference in Washington, Spencer acted out the worst fears of many Trump critics when he cried, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” Later, Spencer told Haaretz that the election of Trump was “the first step for identity politics for white people in the United States.”

It is important to note that the link between Trump and someone like Spencer is tenuous and seemingly unidirectional. (When reporters from the Times asked Trump about the alt-right, in November, he said, “I disavow the group.”) But it is also true that partisan politics in America are stubbornly segregated: exit polls suggest that about eighty-seven per cent of Trump’s voters were white, which is roughly the same as the corresponding figure for his Republican predecessor, Mitt Romney. It is no surprise that many of Trump’s critics, and some of his supporters, heard his tributes to a bygone American greatness as a form of “identity politics,” designed to remind white people of all the power and prestige they had lost.

It is true, too, that Trumpism draws on a political tradition that has often been linked to white identity politics. One Journal author suggested that the true progenitor of Trumpism was Samuel Francis, a so-called paleoconservative who thought that America needed a President who would stand up to the “globalization of the American economy.” In Francis’s view, that candidate was Pat Buchanan, a former longtime White House aide who ran for President in 1992 and 1996 as a fiery populist Republican—and in 2000 as the Reform Party candidate, having staved off a brief challenge, in the primary, from Trump.

Three graphs of a long story on Trump and the alt-right even though the reporter also concedes, “what is striking about Trump is how little he engages, at least explicitly, with questions of culture and identity.” “[A]t least explicitly” gives the reporter room to disbelieve Trump and to leave readers inclined to think the worst thinking the worst.

So doesn’t that make the New Yorker the alt-left equivalent of Breitbart?

The question is how to parse these associations and affinities. Do you rely on hard evidence? Do you define narrowly the overlap between the politician and the offensive action or idea? Consider how Noam Scheiber cleared President Obama of untoward associations with Ayers:

Suppose we were talking about a meeting Mike Huckabee attended during a (fictitious) run for state senate in the early ’90s. Let’s say the meeting took place in the home of a local pastor, who, back in the ’70s, had been part of a radical anti-abortion group that at times attempted, but never succeeded in, bombing abortion clinics. The pastor was never prosecuted and had since become a semi-respectable member of his community, where he also ran an adoption clinic for children of mothers he’d counseled against abortion.

If Huckabee had once addressed a group of local conservative activists at the pastor’s home, would that tell us anything about his views on political violence? Reasonable people can disagree about this. But I don’t think it would.

But that is not the standard that Kalefa Sanneh of the New Yorker is using for Trump or the alt-right. Although he has no clear links between Spencer and Trump, because people who like Spencer voted for Trump — kahbamb — association confirmed. But because Bill Ayers and former supporters of the radical left (even in its terrorist phase) voted for Obama, no connection. Just the way the system works.

Which is true. Bad people vote for good candidates all the time. We wonder why such candidates appeal to such voters. But to see the New Yorker do what Rush Limbaugh does is well nigh remarkable. Rush assumes that people who vote Democrat are overwhelmingly bad citizens or bad Americans. Turns out — thanks to the revelations that have arisen during Trump’s candidacy and election — that editors of “respectable” journalism do the same. If you voted for Trump you must be harboring views of white supremacy. Just because you think immigration and ISIS may be a problem?

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17 thoughts on “Did Sam Francis Hold a Fundraiser for Donald Trump?

  1. Maybe not, but then who really did write Obama’s first book, the memoir entitled “Dreams From My Father?” And why? Did he (Obama) simply lack the literary skills to craft the work and needed a ghost writer? Or was the rumor all just a Snopes bad dream? Either way, connection or not, over the past eight years it has always seemed as though someone else was talking behind that smug mask of his.

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  2. I just checked the label on the latest issue, which arrived yesterday. My subscription does not expire until March 2018. Not sure exactly how it got extended that far, but I can’t see me renewing it again. Too bad. I have been a subscriber since 1971, when I was in college. They have totally gone off the rails in their anti-Trump posturing. I guess they thank they are in a race with the Washington Post to see who will be seen as the leader of the anti-Trump party.

    The only reason the author of the linked piece is able to use Sam Francis as a synonym for unacceptable extremist is because the NR gatekeepers did it first.

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  3. Dan, so this makes Hillary part of the old alt-right:

    Now George Stephanopoulos, Hillary Clinton, and a legion of Republican strategists are tying Bill to Obama because they sat on the board of a foundation together. What if they did? And what if they’re friendly neighbors in Hyde Park? Bill and Bernardine are also friends with an old friend of mine who has a sterling reputation as a juvenile-court judge. Does that prove anything, other than that they’ve had successful careers in education and law, respectively? This latest media flap is an absurd and opportunistic piece of guilt by association. Unlike Obama’s membership for many years in the church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, or his comments last week in San Francisco, it raises no questions about his beliefs, only about our trivial political culture. It deserves to die a swift and ignominious death.

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  4. Dan, gate keepers won’t keep gates (but if you are a distinguished university professor, all sins forgiven):

    Ayers said that he had never meant to imply, in an interview with the Times, published coincidentally on 9/11, that he somehow wished he and the Weathermen had committed further acts of violence in the old days. Instead, he said, “I wish I had done more, but it doesn’t mean I wish we’d bombed more shit.” Ayers said that he had never been responsible for violence against other people and was acting to end a war in Vietnam in which “thousands of people were being killed every week.”

    “While we did claim several extreme acts, they were acts of extreme radicalism against property,” he said. “We killed no one and hurt no one. Three of our people killed themselves.” And yet he was not without regrets. He mocked one of his earlier books, co-written with Dohrn, saying that, while it still is reflective of his radical and activist politics today, he was guilty of “rhetoric that’s juvenile and inflated—it is what it is.”

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  5. I expect that Timothy McVeigh could’ve made the same claim as Ayers. Except he was more honest and referred to all of the Oklahoma deaths as “collateral damage.” BTW IIRC, Ayers was the son of then CEO of Commonwealth Edison, the local electrical service provider in Illinois. Funny how the privileged white upper class suburbanites committed those crimes, but now want it to seem like they really “didn’t mean no one no harm.” Phooey.

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  6. “Turns out — thanks to the revelations that have arisen during Trump’s candidacy and election — that editors of “respectable” journalism do the same. If you voted for Trump you must be harboring views of white supremacy. Just because you think immigration and ISIS may be a problem?”

    Come on, Darryl. Everything said about Trump was said about Romney, Bush, McCain and would have been said about Kasich, Cruz, and even Boy Wonder Rubio. The Lamestream Media would simply say that ISIS is a dog whistle for all Muslims and immigration is a code word for all Immigrants of Color. The 50’s are calling and they want their stuffy, pretentious, overpraised, overrated, literary, low circulation magazine back

    Reading The New Yorker is one of the literary Hors d’Oeuvres that enlightened Manhattan Provincials treat themselves to. Believing that Republicans are Racist, Sexist, Homophobic, Islamophobic. Know-Nothing Bigots is what nourishes them and receiving the New Yorker in their mailbox is their version of the Fruit of the Month Club subscription.

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  7. cw, why are whites not Michelle’s friends?

    To our family and friends in the struggle, we stand with you. The God of justice and mercy has long known of the trials you have faced. He has not turned a blind eye to your suffering. He hears every cry for help. Jesus, God in the flesh, is at work. The Son of Man will bring the mighty down from their thrones. He will establish his Kingdom with righteousness and justice being the very foundation of his throne. He has promised to exalt the humble and replenish, strengthen, and restore the afflicted. God’s vengeance is a blessed assurance. There will be retribution for every evil done against God and his people.

    In light of this hope, do not fear and do not be discouraged. Fight on, with your prayers and with your body. Participate in non-violent resistance to shift the structures that seek our destruction. Encourage our brothers and sisters who have grown weary to hold on! Remember that this is the Lord’s work, it will be done with or without us, but may we not miss out on God’s call to stay in the struggle.

    To white evangelical Christians: contend with the betrayal that your brothers and sisters of color and others feel. Contend with the fact that, while you might not have supported Trump with a heart full of hatred against brothers and sisters and neighbors, many did. And your indifference to both their hatred and our suffering has done serious damage. One of the important things that all white Christians must do is to have HARD conversations with other white people. Call parents and grandparents, pastors, aunts and uncles, and friends. Explain to them the fear that many people in this country feel, and the real validity of that fear, rooted as it is in a long history of racism, oppression, and violence against people who are not white.

    It’s a HARD conversation because, like the one with your wife, you know you’re wrong and need to hear that you’re wrong. Would Michelle EV-UH talk to Glenn Loury or John McWhorter or Stephen Carter or Thomas Sowell? Probably not. False raceness.

    But this is the sort of thing that gets you on Christianity Today Radio.

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  8. I have English Devised Genocidal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(EDGPTSD). I need Windsor Castle and the ashy remains of the head of the lord protector. I also need scrips. Free The Seven!

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  9. So, you’re gonna use religion to try to get me to let you increase your adversarial political position. I know I only have a few credits of poly sci undergrad, all A’s, btw, but I’m pretty sure this was referred to as a con.

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  10. This sort of conflict model is the norm in “the world” — I always assumed anyone who claimed the Reformed mantle (with its concepts of depravity and merit) might think twice or maybe 500 times before buying in to this approach. But sociology classes, I guess.

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  11. Walton, one link to Mencken — from 1989 during the controversy over diaries HLM didn’t want published.

    I like this, though:

    Libertarianism, he argued, was nothing more than a restatement of the beliefs of the “Old Right,” which resolutely opposed the New Deal and any sort of foreign intervention in the early 20th century.

    Scary!!

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