This had to happen, and it had to happen on Day One of CPAC. It is that important.
Too many people at the left of center politics tried to link white nationalism with conservatism precisely because of people like Richard Spencer. White nationalism worked its way into the Alt-Right movement by agreeing with some things conservative, but that doesn’t make a bedfellow and no true blue conservative would have anything to do with white nationalism. There is no room for racism of any kind in conservatism. The white nationalists trying to embed themselves into the Alt-Right movement bothered many conservatives making the actions taken today at CPAC necessary.
One of the first speeches at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference challenged the media to stop referring to the alt-right, a small, far-right movement that seeks a whites-only state and that strongly backed Donald Trump for president, as conservative — and not long after, a leader of the movement was kicked out of the venue.
Dan Schneider, executive director of the American Conservative Union, told attendees at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 23 that members of the alt-right are “anti-Semites, they are racists, they are sexists.”
“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.”
Over a few confusing minutes, Schneider argued that the alt-right, a term coined then popularized by the National Policy Institute’s Richard Spencer, was philosophically left-wing because it departed from his definition of conservatism, in which “the individual” is sovereign.
“They hate the Constitution. They hate free markets. They hate pluralism,” Schneider said. “Fascists tend to want big government control.”
The argument wasn’t unique — in “Liberal Fascism,” the National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg drew a zigging line from the fascism of the 1930s to the welfare state liberalism of the Clinton/Obama era. But it made little impact in the conference’s main ballroom, and a few listeners walked out.
Richard Spencer, a self-proclaimed white nationalist, was asked to leave the Conservative Political Action Conference.
One of the walkouts came from Richard Spencer himself, who attracted such a large crowd of reporters that security staff asked him to move away from the entrance, which was rapidly being blocked. More and more cameras and recorders were shoved toward Spencer as he reminded reporters that the self-appointed guardians of conservatism had trusted Trump long after the alt-right had.
“’Donald Trump isn’t a conservative’ — that’s what they were saying a year ago,” said Spencer.
As the throng of reporters moved, Spencer was stopped by JP Sheehan, a CPAC attendee wearing a black-and-gold Make America Great Again baseball cap.
“Praise kek!” said Sheehan, posing for a selfie with Spencer and repeating a meme that had been adopted by the alt-right. “He’s the coolest guy.”
The growing crowd attracted more nervous attention from security, and after a few more minutes, they arrived to expel Spencer.