Corey Stewart is still running for Governor. While he talks about “draining the swamp” and governing as a fiscal conservative, his campaign has largely been centered on “heritage” issues. Most (if not all) of Stewart’s public events over the past couple months have involved raising his profile in opposition to moving a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, and his embrace of the Confederate flag. At one Republican Women’s club breakfast, Stewart used virtually the entire 15 minutes allotted to his speech to “stick up for our heritage,” and that’s not to mention the much higher profile rallies and events staged by his campaign exclusively around these issues.
Then tonight, after reports that Corey Stewart was out of money and was dropping out of the Governor’s race, Mr. Stewart “surprised” us all with a campaign rally that denounced everyone except for Richard Spencer and the White Nationalists who drew so much attention and ire the other night.
A majority of Corey Stewart’s supporters aren’t racists. Many of his supporters include people I admire, and whose character, integrity, and record of service to our country are unimpeachable. It is safe to say that the vast majority of Virginia Republicans share a basic belief that our history shouldn’t be whitewashed, and that historic monuments that remind us of the heritage and achievements of the generations that came before us – and that remind us of their shortcomings as well – should not suffer the tyranny of the current generation’s excessive addition to political correctness. It is especially infuriating watching the Democrats try to whitewash history when what the Democrats seem intent on erasing any memory of, is often their history in the first place.
However, the tone employed by the Stewart campaign on these issues has drawn a certain set of folks out of the woodwork. These people appear to have been embraced by the Stewart campaign, and the dog-whistle language that first reached them has now been amplified in ways that can not only damage the honest conservatives that make up the bulk of his supporters, but that can have a lasting negative impact on the Republican Party as a whole. This is why many of us have so passionately distanced ourselves from his campaign and many of his campaign’s supporters.
Is Corey Stewart a Racist? I doubt it. But he’s certainly an opportunist, a panderer, and a troll. (He certainly trolled Virginia tonight).
When Corey Stewart took to Reddit weeks ago to blast Ed Gillespie as a “cuckservative,” many of us were frustrated. Not merely because a gubernatorial candidate used such a stupid and vulgar term as part of the debate on whom the Republican Party of Virginia will nominate for Governor in November, but because that term originated as a racialist slur from the online fever swamps of alt-right white nationalists, as Shaun Kenney has detailed here.
Given how the Stewart campaign handled the ensuing outrage (leaning into it and embracing it and the attention it gave them, and then finally doubling down on it tonight!), I can only conclude that Corey is trolling all of us…saying outrageous things in the hopes of getting attacked in the liberal media and thereby raising his name ID and having the media falsely painting him as the more conservative candidate in the race (i.e., because he was the more “racist” or objectionable). Now, while Richard Spencer and his White Nationalists infuriated the right and the left, Stewart has used the opportunity to troll the media, the Charlottesville Mayor and Council, and even Ed Gillespie. Why did he denounce Ed Gillespie? Because Ed Gillespie denounced White Nationalism. Wow.
I could understand and even sympathize with those who charged that any usage of the term was racist, but Stewart probably isn’t racist for using it. First, Corey Stewart, the long-time leader of the Prince William County establishment, would actually have to believe in something to be racist. His record suggests that what counts as his beliefs are the pandering statements he makes to one crowd or another to get them to serve his interests. Case in point: he supported the renaming of Mills Godwin Middle School in Prince William last year (praising how “progressive” Prince William was under his leadership); now, the predominantly black student body won’t be forced into a school named after a notorious segregationist and champion of Massive Resistance. As the Washington Post reported:
In the summer of 1956, then-state Sen. Godwin pushed through a special session of the legislature a package of bills that was intended to result in the abandonment of public education in Virginia rather than allow school integration. He argued that ‘integration, however slight, anywhere in Virginia would be a cancer eating at the very life blood of our public schools system.’ Godwin never apologized for his role in massive resistance.
Doesn’t sound like the kind of guy who should ever have had a public school named after him, particularly when the children and grandchildren of those who suffered his injustices could be expected to attend such a school.
But now, Corey has essentially made his whole campaign about “heritage” issues involving Confederate flags and war memorials, as D.J. Spiker has explained. To hear 2017 Corey running for Governor, any changing of names like this would be an act of violence on our history.
Second, Corey’s supporters produced enough convincing evidence that—the origin of the term notwithstanding—its usage for many has lost the racialist context in which the term was born. It is absolutely a true statement that many who use the term “cuckservative” now do so mainly to amplify the insult of calling someone a “RINO” and do not use it as a way of implying that the target of the insult is somehow a traitor to the white race.
But since this whole kerfuffle began, we’ve seen things that indicate that Corey Stewart knew damn well what he was doing by employing the term “cuckservative”. He’s sounding a dog whistle…something that the intended audience hears loud and clear, without stepping over a line where the broader public catches on or reacts negatively. This was never more clear than this evening as his white-culture supporters applauded his stunt at the Northern Virginia TEA Party event.
So who is the intended audience?
To judge by many of those who have responded to his message, the intended audience is less-than-savory. Let’s start with Stewart’s rally in Richmond on March 4. (Images not otherwise credited are courtesy of anti-extremism Southern blogger Restoring the Honor). There was this guy, Derrick Davis (with the bull horn):
Davis is openly associated with the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party. Here’s a couple of images he’s been so kind to share on his Facebook page:
Ron Doggett was also in attendance to see Corey.
Doggett has a long and notorious history of white supremacist/white nationalist activism in the Richmond area. He once hosted a racialist public access TV program, and has led groups supportive of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. He’s had things like this to say on extremist message boards:
‘Who gives a damn what niggers think with their 85 or lower IQs? Nothing is ever gained by their presence, so flush them.’
— Ron Doggett post to the forum of Vanguard News Network, January 2005
‘If it wasn’t for the Klan in reconstruction the White south would have been destroyed. So cheers to the Invisible Empire, 140 years old today.’
— Ron Doggett post to the forum of Vanguard News Network, Dec. 24, 2005
…and more lately posts to Stormfront, an online home for neo-Nazis and Klansmen.
Then there’s the goofy “Unity and Security” bunch. Unity and Security for America, Inc. is a group based in the Charlottesville area that keeps all the trappings and habits of white nationalism (including the iconography, the custom riot shields, some use of online alt right symbology like Pepe the Frog and “Kek”…all pretty weird, I know…check here, “Cucks & Kek: Racism’s Old Guard Reaches Out To An Online Generation” for background), but eschews overt hatred.
Here’s a Tweet from the head of the group, which advocates allowing immigration into the United States primarily from white countries, and little to no immigration from just about anywhere else:
— Jason Kessler (@TheMadDimension) March 28, 2017
More Twitter? How about this one, where Kessler seems to endorse a piece denigrating “pavement apes,” “fags,” and “jigaboos.” Nice.
Kessler and the group’s secretary, Isaac Smith, were both at Stewart’s Richmond rally.
Here’s another pic of Isaac Smith at the Richmond rally, this time making what might be a curious hand gesture (This is tongue and cheek here. The OK sign is not actually racist code):
I’m sure he’s just saying everything is “OK.” 😉 (There is an UPDATE about Isaac Smith at the end of this article, as he has reached out to The Bull Elephant for comment)
Here’s the kind of thing Smith finds important to say on Twitter:
Smith has communicated via Twitter with “@Fascingtonian,” (i.e., Fascist Washingtonian).
Again, see “Cucks & Kek: Racism’s Old Guard Reaches Out To An Online Generation” for more about the lingo of modern alt right white nationalism. @Fascingtonian, it seems, was also at Stewart’s Richmond rally with his “artisanal” Pepe masks:
Also in attendance in Richmond were brothers George and Gregory Randall. I’m told that the Randall brothers often appear to be acting in something akin to an informal security role for Stewart at his events, which is consistent with what this looks like:
We’ve seen no evidence of either of the Randalls doing or saying anything overtly hateful or offensive, but Gregory Randall, at least, seems to be associated with the League of the South, an organization that appears to have started as an innocuous booster of Southern heritage, but that has now morphed into a white nationalist front. Below is the image currently used as the cover photo for the organization’s Facebook page. Notice how close they have come to completely morphing the stars and bars into the Nazi flag, producing a hybrid that perfectly encapsulates “Southern Nationalism.”
But this wasn’t simply one rally. Fast forward to UVA. Here’s a picture of Isaac Smith introducing Stewart as they crash Congressman Tom Garrett’s Town Hall event.
More on Isaac Smith from Politico:
The man who introduced him, Isaac Smith, is a 20-year-old activist who founded a group calling for “America First policies.” Among those proposed policies? That “most immigrants come from Western nations.”
And here’s Mr. Kesler again, also at UVA. The leanings of these gentlemen are well documented.
And here is the whole clan with Stewart front and center.
It’s not as if these gentlemen are merely showing up at a single rally. They are the Corey Stewart fan club. He whistled to the dogs and the dogs heard him.
Corey Stewart probably isn’t racist. He’s just using people who sympathize with the message of White Nationalism and Richard Spencer to get elected. He understands that many people are frustrated after years of being denigrated, insulted, and generally maligned, just for being white (or worse, a White Male! of whom all the world’s evil is blamed). Corey Stewart understands that all this racialism from the Left has created a racialist movement amongst some whites and that they want to see a strong, white, male leader take on the left’s Alinsky army, the media, and just about everyone else. Somehow, years of denigration in the media has actually hurt their “white pride” and they are once again seeking to reclaim it.
Corey Stewart is using them, not necessarily because he agrees with them, but because he needs them to defeat Ed Gillespie (which is never going to happen).
And what’s worse, is that long after Ed Gillespie defeats Corey Stewart on June 13th, the Republican Brand will have been tarnished for years to come, all because Stewart would stop at nothing to try to win.
thanks to TBE contributors for help with the research for this piece….
In a phone interview with Isaac Smith, Mr. Smith made clear that the politico quote regarding his support for only immigrants from Western Nations was cut short. He also supports immigrants from Japan, South Korea, and South Africa. He made a point to explain that he was not supporting a white only culture, but an immigration policy which would open our borders to people that share our values. Also, he made a point that he was informed by Congressman Garrett concerning the UVA event during a constituency meeting a week before the rally, and that he was the one who invited Stewart. (A Garrett Campaign spokesman has told The Bull Elephant that no personal invitation was issued to Mr. Smith). Stewart did not advertise his appearance at the Garrett event. Mr. Smith also said that he reached out to the Whiskey Rebellion and the Gillespie campaign (this claim has yet to be verified). Video documenting Mr. Smith’s full comments (in context) will be updated to this piece later this evening.