South and continued to dwell on his oppositionrnto free trade and abortion, issuesrnthat appealed only to special and limitedrnconstituencies. Perhaps most important,rnin South Carolina, he or his campaign orrnboth managed to flub the ConfederaternFlag issue, one that could hae broughtrnhim a clear victor) on the eve of a bankrnof Southern primaries. The story behindrnthe boondoggle exposes a further flaw inrnthe psychology of the campaign.rnFor the last couple of years, the ConfederaternFlag that flies over the staterncapitol in Columbia has been the centerrnof a statewide controversy, with thernNAiCP, white liberals, and mainstreamrnconservatives in the state demanding orrncondoning its removal. The flag has notrnbeen removed, in large part because onernman, a local chiropractor named BillrnCarter, successfully mobilized a grassrootsrncrusade to keep it flying. Carter inrn1’592 was state chairman for DavidrnDuke’s presidential campaign, a fact wellrnknown in the state and to the localrnBuchanan campaign when it appointedrnCarter to its steering committee thisrnyear.rnBut when the Larry Pratt affair brokernjust before the New Hampshire primary,rnthe South Carolina Buchanan campaignrntold Carter he had to be dropped fromrnthe committee because of his ties tornDuke, hideed, despite Buchanan’s ownrnprincipled and courageous public expressionsrnof support for Pratt, who had spokenrnbefore some rather bizarre groups onrnthe right, the campaign began purgingrnformer Duke supporters and other workersrnwho had even the slightest “links” tornthe out-of-thc-mainstream right.rnBut in South Carolina, the Buchananrncampaign managed to alienate Carterrnand his followers, who consist of somern45,000 names. Carter had already startedrnmobilizing this following for Buchananrnand preparing mass mailings to getrnhis people into the ()ting booths whenrnthe Buchanan campaign chucked himrnout. Buchanan himself, in Arizona atrntlie time, was quoted in the South Carolinarnpress as saying his campaign “hadrnno room for racists or those connected tornracist organizations.” Whether this remarkrnwas aimed at Carter or whether thernlocal press merely played it that way remainsrnunclear.rnBut what is clear is that b)’ alienatingrnCarter, Buchanan muffed the ConfederaternFlag issue in the state. Carter didrnsend out some 9,000 pieces of mail urgingrnotcrs in the state’s third congressionalrndistrict to vote for Buchanan, and twornof the five counties in the district werernthe only ones Buchanan carried in thernstate. But had Carter sent out the fullrnmailing, which he could not do withoutrnhelp from the campaign, Buchananrnmight have won similar results acrossrnSouth Carolina. As Carter himself wroternin a subsequent op-ed, “Without everrnhaving met me or knowing anythingrnabout me, Buchanan was polishing hisrnown image in the press at my expensern. . . . What chance does a little guy likernme have to be heard or have his say?”rnIt’s doubtful that either Buchanan orrnhis national campaign was trying tornharm Carter, but that may have been thernresult. It’s more likely that the smearkriegrnmounted by the national press inrnthe week before was affecting the campaign,rncertainly at the local and perhapsrnat the national level. The campaign’srnimmediate response to the charges ofrn”racism” and “racist” associates andrnworkers was one of denial, escape, andrnevasion and a noticeable muting ofrnthemes that might be interpreted asrncatering to “racism.”rnBut the blunt truth is that there canrnbe no serious national campaign of thernpopulist right without former Duke supporters,rnmilitia members, and other inhabitantsrnof the margins of national politics,rnand it is not possible to organize arnreal campaign without them. Thosernwho lead and run a populist campaign ofrnthe right have to face that truth and tornfigure out how to deal with it when confrontedrnwith their “links” to such “extremists.”rnThey can do what the Buchananrncampaign did, which was to purgernthe marginal elements and cud up in denial,rnor they can go on the offensive, exposingrnhow the Ruling Class and its petrnmedia use charges of “racism” and “extremism”rnto delegitimize and suppressrnany challenge to their power from thernright. If they do the former, they willrnmerely reconfirm the legitimacy of thernimposed political boundaries; if they dornthe latter, they will retain their own supportrnand use the occasion for a furtherrnchallenge to the powers they claim to bernopposing.rnThe Buchanan failure was a failure tornfollow through on the radicalism hisrncampaign had originally promised, and itrnsuggests that the radical implications ofrnthe campaign remain unclear in thernminds of those who designed and managedrnthe campaign, that the campaignrnsought to keep at least one foot firmly inrnthe camp of conservative Republicanismrnand was unable or unwilling to step outsidernthe camp into the new identity itrnpromised to create.rnYet these were tactical failures of execution,rnand it would be a serious error torndwell on them too much at the expensernof the larger strategic victory the Buchananrncampaign won, despite its failure torncapture the Republican nomination.rnThe strategic victory of the Buchananrncampaign lies in the fact that Buchananrndestroyed the political pretenses of bothrnneoconservatism and the mainstreamrnright and replaced them with his own nationalist,rnpopulist, and Middle Americanrnparadigm. The important fact about thernBuchanan campaign of 1996 is thatrnBuchanan steadily won second placernthroughout the early contests, when hernfaced several better-funded and betterorganizedrncampaigns with far morernestablishment support. It was to thosernother banners that neoconservatives andrnthe Beltway right flocked. Their firstrnchoices—]ack Kemp, Dan Quayle, BillrnBennett, Dick Cheney—could not evenrnmount campaigns. Their second-levelrnchoice, Phil Gramm, could not make itrnto the first primary. Bennett then signedrnon with Alexander and was shot out ofrnthe skies a few weeks later. Kemp thenrnwent with Forbes and followed Bennettrninto oblivion.rnThe clear lesson is that neither neoconservatismrnnor the Beltway right (insofarrnas they are at all distinguishable) canrnany longer command a significant politicalrnfollowing at the grass-roots level; onlyrnBuchanan or a movement espousing hisrnideas can do so, and the hatred and furyrnwith which his early success was greetedrnshows that the Ruling Class knows this.rnIt also must know that its age of dominancernis coming to an end, and that in itsrnlast days it has no better defense than tornrely on the kind of repression that it visitedrnupon the man who has shaken itsrnfoundations more than any other in thernlast quarter century. For all the flaws andrnuncertainties of the Buchanan campaign,rnit would be a mistake for eitherrnthe friends or the foes of the movementrnBuchanan has created and mobilized tornimagine that the king’s men can ever putrnthe Ruling Class and its old order backrntogether again. What its friends mustrndo now is understand how to build onrntheir real victories and to avoid the tacticalrnerrors that helped thwart their completionrnof its victory.rnlUNE 1996/43rnrnrn