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Richard Spencer, a notorious American white nationalist, who previously served as some anarchist’s punching bag, has been expelled from the biggest annual conservative conference in the United States.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), currently unfolding at the Gaylord National Harbor complex in Washington D.C., is the premiere annual conference attended by Republican lawmakers and conservative personalities and activists.
Spencer, who has sought in recent months to inject a whites-only agenda into the mainstream politics of America’s right wing, is not welcome there.
Event organizers said on Thursday that Spencer was prohibited from attending the conference, which features big-named speakers such as Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas; Steve Bannon, former Breitbart chief executive turned White House strategist; and Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican National Committee, who now serves as President Trump‘s chief of staff.
The public rebuking of Spencer by the conservative mainstreamers will undoubtedly infuriate the neo-Nazi followers of the “alt-right” personality, many of whom are segregationists who believe the American government should institute policies giving special consideration to a group of people they unscientifically categorize as “the white race.”
“There is a sinister organization that is trying to worm its way into our ranks,” said Dan Schneider, the executive director of the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC. “We must not be deceived by [a] hateful, left-wing fascist group.”
Schneider’s use of the term “left-wing” to describe the “alt-right” is not new, but relies on traditional definitions of what it means to be “left” or “right” politically; the Nazi Party of Germany was considered a left-wing group because, at the time of its ascendancy, it professed to oppose government control and speak on the behalf of the working class.
But with regard to America, the traditional spectrum means very little in modern politics. While feigning an aversion to government regulation—an attribute of the historic left, but not the contemporaryAmerican left—the Republican Party is considered right wing, partly due to its stance on numerous social issues, and because it remains combative towards workers’ rights. (To further complicate matters, “conservatives” in the United Kingdom support abortion rights and same-sex marriage.)
Schneider’s remarks seem geared toward further distancing American conservatives from the overwhelmingly detested substance of Spencer’s white-nationalist rhetoric.
“They hate the Constitution. They hate free markets. They hate pluralism,” Schneider explained to the Washington Post. “Fascists tend to want big government control.” (Fascism typically falls on the far-right of the traditional political spectrum, which, as explained, means little in American politics.)
Ian Walters, a CPAC spokesman, told NPR that Spencer was unwelcome because his views are “repugnant and have absolutely nothing to do with conservatism or what we do here.”
“He’s anti-free markets, anti-Constitution, anti-pluralism,” Walters added, indicating by use of language mirroring Schneider’s that CPAC had given some thought to how it would react to Spencer’s presence. “This was one bad egg who bought a ticket.”
“People want to talk to me,” Spencer told NBC News outside the event. “They don’t want to talk to these boring conservatives. They want to learn about ideas whose time has come, not whose time has passed.”
Spencer’s rise to infamy followed a post-election shindig in which he cried “Hail Trump” while his supporters threw up Nazi salutes, and was pushed along by viral footage of him getting punched hard in the face while giving an interview during a post-inauguration protest.
By all known accounts, his favorite color is white and his favorite animal is the frog, certain species of which are known to spontaneously change genders.
Spencer’s expulsion follows CPAC’s decision to boot scheduled speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, who in a less-than-year-old YouTube video espoused sexual activity between men and boys, comments he has since admitted may have been “flippant.”
Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.