On Friday, July 22, “a boisterous crowd assembled in a conference hall in Tampa for the launch event of American Virtue, the group for Gen Z right-wing nationalists that launched in 2021 as American Populist Union (APU),” Political Research Associates’ Ben Lorber reported late last month. Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini told the crowd: “I believe in you guys. This movement is gonna take over [the GOP] and make this country truly great again. It’s the people in this room, the conservative youth…who are truly going to save [the USA] from both parties, from the uniparty. So God bless the nationalist populist movement, God bless the United States, and God bless everybody in this room.”
Attempting to separate itself from overt racists, “American Virtue appears to be a venue for young White nationalists to curry favor with a new crop of MAGA-aligned political figures,” Lorber noted (https://politicalresearch.org/2022/07/28/american-virtue-plot-rights-future).
According to Lorber, “American Virtue presented itself, as the groypers once presented themselves, as a more far-right alternative to the campus conservative group Turning Point USA(TPUSA), which held its own Student Action Summit down the street.”
Over the past few months, Christian nationalist organizations have been holding organizing conferences, summits and training sessions. Hundreds of people are attending these gatherings. And whatever else they might achieve, they are certainly ginning up the base.
Turning Point USA, a far-right billionaire-funded student organization led by right-wing political operative Charlie Kirk, that played a critical role in the January 6 insurrection, held a three-day “Student Action Summit” in Tampa, Florida (https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/07/25/ghun-j25.html).
Moms For Liberty, part of the so-called parental rights movement, held its first national summit in Tampa, Florida, to train conservatives to take over school boards across the country (https://buzzflash.com/articles/bill-berkowitz-for-buzzflash-moms-for-libertys-national-summit-draws-hundreds-to-build-conservative-majorities-on-local-school-boards).
The Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas featured the anti-immigrant, race-baiting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
In June, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition held its annual “Road To Majority” conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
John Guandolo, a former FBI agent forced to leave the agency in 2009 in disgrace, “has founded an organization called Understanding The Threat, through which he trains law enforcement agencies around the country to identify seemingly anyone with dark skin and a beard as an Islamic terrorist,” Right Wing Watch recently reported (https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/michael-flynn-teams-up-with-radical-far-right-activist-john-guandolo/). The training promises to “organize communities into operational forces to identify roots of corruption & dismantle the hostile networks behind it, and re-establish a Republican form of government at the local level.”
The purpose of all these events is to organize and galvanize Christian nationalists. Right Side Broadcasting Network host Mike Crispi, whose failed New Jersey Congressional campaign enlisted Roger Stone as campaign adviser earlier this year, told the American Virtue crowd: “Be an activist,” urged Crispi, “get out there and spread that message…in order to save this country we need to elect—again from the local level all the way to Congress, Senate, President—America First, unapologetic people who are not going to capitulate one inch to the left.”
Another American Virtue speaker, former Trump administration official Adam Korzeniewski told the crowd not to “sit on Twitter” but to “learn to doorknock…what we need is political soldiers, we need people with political intelligence. And you have to ask yourself: do you have your eyes on the prize?”
The message to the American Virtue crowd as well as the other events was clear: “politics is a battle of wills…[get] involved in local committees, your local politics. In the Republican Party, be a precinct chairman. Politics is a marathon. It’s not a sprint.”
As Political Research Associates’ Lorber pointed out, “Taken together, many activists in the American Virtue orbit are embedded within institutions and campaigns spanning the rightward flank of the MAGAmovement, working to pull the conservative establishment in an even more hardline nationalist direction.”