in the first place; fortunately for the parh’,rnmost whites have nowhere else to go andrnhave not yet pereeived that the party’srnleadership no longer thinks they’re importantrnenough to court.rnOne reason white voters have nowherernelse to go but to the GOP is that the alternativernpart)’ of the right, which is whatrnthe Reform Partv’ promised to becomernwith Pat Buchanan’s seizure of it lastrnyear, has flopped even more drasticallyrnthan the big-tent Republicans. I’hcrcrnwere three main reasons for Buchanan’srnmiserable showing that do not really refleetrnon him or his campaign very much:rnthe fixation of most conservatives on riddingrnthemselves of the Clinton-Gorerndemons their own propaganda had created;rnthe lack of appeal last year of flie hvornmain issues on which the Buchananrncampaign chose to run, trade policy andrnan America First foreign policy; and flierndifficulty of winning control of the ReformrnPart)’ in face of the determined oppositionrnof the nuts that littered it whenrnthe Buchananites hit its beaches. Nevertheless,rnthe Buchanan campaign proceededrnto commit major tactical blundersrnthat convinced most conservativesrnthat its leader could not win or evenrnmake significant headway against the Republicans.rnThe proniohon of Lcnora Fulanirnto cochairmanship of the campaignrnsent confusing signals to rank-and-filernBuchananites and offered endless opportunitiesrnfor Rush Limbaugh and thernWeekly Standard to ridicule his claims tornconservative purity. The preposterousrnprediction by campaign cochairman PatrnChoate that Buchanan vvoidd win ?5rnpercent of the popidar vote because ofrnthe “coalition” fliat the Fulani alliancerncreated only opened the whole campaignrnto further ridicide among politicallv sophisticatedrnobservers. Buchanan alsornmanaged to keep himself out of the publicrneve during most of die primary seasonrnand afterward, so that by the time hernpopped onto the national screen in LongrnBeach, California, for his parh’s convention,rnmost voters had probably forgottenrnhe was running at all and had long sincernmade up their minds to support one ofrnthe hvo empty suits offered by the majorrnparties. Buchanan’s gall-bladder operationrnand repeated hospitalizations thereafter,rnthe brawls at the Long Beach conventionrnwith the flving sqitirrels of flicrnNatural Law Part}’, and the delay in receivingrnfederal matching funds were furtherrnsetbacks not entirely due to the candidaternor his campaign. But, to top it allrnoff, Buchanan chose as his running maternan obscme black John Birch Societyrnmember who soon turned out to have anrnediics problem in her background. FzolarnFoster brought absolutely nofliing tornthe ticket—no stature, no votes, no balance,rnno reputation—and b)’ picking her,rnBuchanan alienated racially consciousrnconservatives who had already beenrnalienated by Bush’s Rainbow Republicanrnconvention and might otherwise havernbeen attracted to the Buchanan standard,rnand pushed himself back toward the facLrning movement-conservative ghetto fromrnwhich Mrs. Foster came. The candidaternwho started off his two previous campaignsrnvowing to forge a new politicalrnidentit)’ of Middle American nationalismrnand populism thus wound up driftingrnback to mere conservative ideologicalrntorch-waving. For most of the rest ofrnthe campaign, Buchanan intoned predictablernnoises about abortion, homosexuals,rnand the cidturc war and abandonedrndie anti-corporate and pro-working-classrnthemes that had won him botii votes andrnsympathetic press attention in his firstrntwo races.rnhi fact, it was the Gore campaign thatrntried to sound flic populist bugle withrnwhat was dubbed (bv both his supportersrnand his foes) “class warfare.” As thernWashington Post’s Thomas F.dsall notedrnin September, “Gore’s aggressive pursuitrnof a populism fliat pits the middle classrnagainst the elite, corporations and thernwealtii)’ has provided a wa)’ to counter hisrnmajor liability among white men: tiieirrndoubts about his strength and leadership,”rnand he attributed to diis tactic thernVice President’s rise in the polls in thern”batrtcground states of Michigan, Ohiornand Missouri that hold die balance ofrnpower in the 2000 election. Among allrnvoters in each of flicse states,” Gore “is eitherrnfully competitive with, or slightiyrnahead of Bush, hi die event, of course,rnGore carried only one of these states, andrnFdsall noted in October that intcusiycrnanti-Gore efforts b’ the National Rifle Associationrnin key swing states were counteringrnGore’s appeal to white males.rn”The problem for Democrats,” he reported,rn”is that gun control is unpopularrnamong many of the swing voters bothrncampaigns are targeting in the finalrnweeks of the campaign, particularly inrnbatde ground states —such as Michigan,rnMissouri, Ohio and Penn.sylvania —withrna sizable bloc of hunters and other gunrnenthusiasts.” hi the end, Gore wound uprnwitii only ?6 percent of the white-malernvote, which is in the range of whatrnDemocratic presidential candidates havernreceived since tiie 1970’s. What madernthe Gore campaign somewhat uniquernamong recent Democratic national campaignsrnwas its effort to combine transparentrnracial a]3peals to nonwhites with economicrnpopulist appeals to white males.rnGore won the nonwhite vote overwhelminglyrnbut lost the white guys, hi the end,rnrace trumped economics.rnAnd that should tell us somethingrnabout the future, both of American politiesrnin general and of the hard right inrnparticular. The 2000 election proves thatrnthe soft right—the Beltway-based tubthumpersrnfor l^’conomic Man, imperialrnglobalism, big-goyeniment conservatism,rnniultiracialism, open borders, and onlyrnthe most tepid resistance to flie dominantrnculture — is a political flop. Fveii those inrnthe conservative establishment a bit morernto the right were eager to ride along widirnGeorge W. as he abandoned and mutedrnalmost every conscrvatiye flienie and issue.rnEventually, they may bolt over therndirection flic Bush aclministration is likelyrnto take, but if and when fliev do, whyrnshould anyone pay any further attentionrnto them? They helped legitimize andrnnominate Bush as a “compassionate conservative.”rnMore serious voices on thernright need to be heard in the future.rnAnd, given the clear racial alignmentsrnand polarizations revealed in flie recentrnelection, fliose voices need to say somethingrnsignificant about race. ‘I’lie silencernof the Buchanan campaign about racernand racial politics helped reduce it to single-rndigit figures in the opinion polls beforernit ever really started. The racialrndeiiiagoguer’ of the Gore eampaignrnhelped it v’iii as much of flie vote as it didrnwin — enough to take the election if Naderrnhad not been on flie ballot. And thernconfusions about race expressed by thernRepublicans coiiviuced them to neglectrntheir major political base among whitesrnand led fliem into flie fantasvland of niultiracialism.rnWhite voters may now havernnowhere else to go, but if an alternativernshould arise, fliev might well .start flockingrnto it. There is little indication fliat flicrnStupid Party, no matter who leads it, willrnchange its course or understand flie realrnmessage of the election; and if flic Republicansrnare unable to understand fliatrnmessage and act on it, the political futurernmay ‘et belong to a non-Republican hardrnright fliat does.rncrn34/CHRONICLESrnrnrn