The latest bit of evidence that reality is stranger than fiction is the emergence of the Yang Gang phenomenon that has been sweeping through the dissident right. Andrew Yang, a long-shot Democratic candidate from New York, has acquired a band of enthusiastic supporters among the internet meme lords and underground influencers that provided much fuel to the Trump candidacy leading up to his unlikely 2016 election victory.
The reasons for the loss of enthusiasm for Trump on the right are clear. There has been little if any significant improvement with regards to his signature issue, immigration. Trump has also chosen a path of inaction regarding the wave of internet censorship that has banished many of his supporters to the far corners of the internet where they have faint hope of influencing mainstream discourse. Trump's failure to "drain the swamp" came into sharp focus for many at the most recent annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Most speakers were establishment GOP supporters who delivered boilerplate rhetoric about how socialism is bad and support for Israel is good. The convention was sponsored by Google, and invitees included representatives of leftist media outlets and Soros-funded organizations. Meanwhile, immigration patriots and independent journalists who support a nationalist, America First agenda were all but excluded. (One notable exception was Michelle Malkin, who brought the house down by fearlessly calling out the neocons who chose to exclude discussion of immigration from the conference entirely. I will be surprised if she is invited back to CPAC.) The business-as-usual CPAC was orchestrated by White House official Mercedes Schlapp, who was also reportedly responsible for preventing the "Angel Moms" from meeting with President Trump before the signing of his recent disastrous spending bill which put another nail in the coffin of the Wall promise. Some of Trump's high-profile former supporters, like Ann Coulter and Lou Dobbs, have declared that MAGA is a failure.
Trump does maintain some support among, for example, followers of the Q-Anon phenomenon. Q-Anon is an internet trend which follows the posts of a supposed government insider who provides clues regarding the behind-the-scenes efforts to bring bad actors to justice. Q-Anon enthusiasts insist that Trump's seeming failures and betrayals are all part of his "4-D chess" method. "Trust the plan," they advise. From a psychological point of view, the mental gymnastics required to maintain this faith are fascinating.
To most observers, however, failure to deliver is failure to deliver. Whether Trump was running a con all along, or has simply been ineffectual, may be debated, but more and more people are starting to conclude that the Trump Train has badly derailed.
Enter Andrew Yang. Yang first came to the attention of the dissident right when he spoke about how White Americans faced a declining population and plague of drug abuse. The fact that he mentioned issues affecting the People Who Must Not Be Named was extremely validating to shunned members of the dissident right who want the interests and needs of White America to be addressed. Nobody else is doing so. Trump constantly touts employment statistics for every sub-group of American people by name, except Whites. Recently Steve King of Iowa was censured, supposedly for his support of "White Supremacy," when he was really guilty only of allowing the New York Times to misrepresent his praise of Western Civilization. Just last week, the Democrats responded, nonsensically, to Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's criticism of Israel by condemning "hate" against a hodgepodge of victim groups that included virtually everyone EXCEPT White Christians. Only the Chinese-American Democrat dared mention Whites as a group in a sympathetic manner, thus putting him on the radar of the right.
Another Yang idea that was, surprisingly, met with enthusiasm by the dissident right was his proposal to grant $1000 a month to all Americans as part of his Universal Basic Income plan. This is certainly not a conservative proposal, but I think it is wrong to accuse the right-wingers who support this of "selling out." The support of Yang's UBI propsal is not so much a result of "selling out" as simply giving up. In despair that the Hail Mary chance to save the Republic, which Trump represented, has failed, they have concluded that America is dead, and therefore they may as well join the other vultures in picking over the carcass. The joyful memes depicted alt-right emblem Pepe the Frog being showered with money by a smiling Andrew Yang are, in my opinion, a form of gallows humor, of dancing while the ship goes down.
Yang has plenty of deal-breaking beliefs for most right-wingers, notably his opposition to gun rights, and he has been frantically distancing himself from the unexpected surge of support from the underground right. In any case, support for him is mostly facetious, and is not likely to amount to much in practical terms. The important point is that the semi-serious support of Yang by disaffected Trumpers is indicative of a vacuum of leadership on the right. The time is ripe for another leader to emerge who gives a voice to the Americans first forgotten by the GOP, then by Trump. As no obvious figure is on the horizon, some have latched on to the unlikely choice of Yang. Perhaps he may be thought of as the "rebound fling" by a lover who has been jilted by the one they once believed was "Mr. Right." Hopefully an actual "Mr. Right" will come along, but as of now, we're still looking.
GALLERY: Internet users are leaving the Trump Train, joining the Yang Gang.
The Carolina Contrarian, Anne Wilson Smith, is the author of Charlottesville Untold: Inside Unite the Right. She is a soft-spoken Southern belle by day, opinionated writer by night. She loves Jesus, her family, and her hometown. She enjoys floral dresses and acoustic guitar music. You may contact Carolina Contrarian at CarolinaContrarian@protonmail.com.