The Nick Fuentes clique is currently experiencing a meltdown in which many of the key figures in his organization are dissociating from Fuentes. Since I’ve commented negatively on Fuentes to some extent, it is worth writing a bit about my perspective on Fuentes and America First.
Anyone who has followed me for even a little while will know that I used to have much more positive feelings toward Fuentes and America First. At its peak, America First landed a series of devastating blows against Conservative Inc. This was hilarious and extremely well done, if not entirely repeatable; but that’s okay.
The big problem faced by America First was that Trump lost. This put Fuentes and America First in a difficult position, obviously, as his entire brand was anchored to Trump. America First fell out of its cozy nest, and had to spread its wings and fly on its own. What Fuentes chose to do was integrate his movement into the GOP (republican party) by creating a political action committee with AF PAC, aiming to attract MAGA politicians to his movement, presumably to eventually spawn an AF caucus. He has also created cozy.tv, which in my estimation is more valuable than anything else he’s done.
It’s necessary to some extent for reactionaries to integrate themselves into the political apparatus. However, attempting to establish a support base for congressional candidates is a mistake. As some disavowals have shown (Joe Kent, and arguably Marjorie Taylor Greene), these people are simply above the pay grade of Fuentes, literally. Fuentes cannot control these politicians because he has neither the numbers, money, or media reach to force the politicians to do what he wants. You don’t have to be a master of game theory to understand why politicians will milk Fuentes for what he’s worth and then casually toss him aside once elected.
Fuentes is also competing directly with other right-wingers in this field, and will get steamrolled by them. J.D Vance and Blake Masters are backed by the Thiel faction, which we may as well call the neoreactionary faction. Whatever happens, the neoreactionaries have money, and the populists have not.
The better way to gain influence in the regime is directly. As we know, elected politicians do not hold power. Media holds power (the press controlled state) and staffers/bureaucrats make policy. What Fuentes should want is to have unelected appointees are selected and hired from his people. Then his people can make decisions rather than just make Fuentes rich. It’s not nearly as difficult to gain these positions as it is to win an election, and they will have more influence anyway. Fuentes’s network building (schmoozing) is basically how it’s done. You write an article here or there, host a few conferences, do some podcasts, and then you’re making connections and getting in with the right people. To the extent Fuentes is doing this, it’s a good thing.
The key issue I have had with Fuentes, though, really culminates in this meltdown. He made America First all about himself. His word is law, his actions are unquestionable, America First is Nick Fuentes. Since Patrick Casey left (see my conversation with him here) …
… it’s been pretty obvious that Fuentes has serious personal problems. He has made many needless enemies and alienated many others for no reason at all. (Vox Day for example). He is frequently engaging in what you would call “drama” streams, just recently with Metokur (really?). This is not suitable for someone in the leadership position he has chosen to be in. Some of his main associates at this point are people like Baked Alaska and Ethan Ralph. Why?
Perhaps my highest value is loyalty. To the extent that there is any disloyalty among any persons involved in the recent drama, I object to it. I don’t think Fuentes ought to throw people like Baked Alaska under the bus. There is no need to break any friendship they might have. Likewise, if people want to disassociate from Fuentes, they should do so without breaking any bond of loyalty. It sounds to me like Fuentes is not reciprocal in this aspect—loyalty is not simply leader-worship, it is a two-way street. The obligations of loyalty extend insofar as they are mutually respected.
I don’t know who is loyal to who. I’m not on the inside. Regardless of the moral values at play, it’s a good thing that America First is fragmenting. Fuentes has monopolized the right-wing populist youth for far too long. The dissident right is powerful because of its decentralization and diversity. It fails when too much is placed on a single personality. We saw it happen with Richard Spencer, and we are seeing it happen with Fuentes. So far, no figure has emerged that has deserved such singular dedication. In the wake of the collapse of Fuentes, perhaps we will get lucky and one will emerge, but either way, take the lesson to heart that you cannot put your faith in men like this.
Seriously, look at this: