Following the invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush’s re-election, and the Republican sweep of Congress, Brimelow said conservative movement elites could no longer ignore the right-wing populism sweeping the nation. Suddenly the War on Christmas was gaining traction. “This issue became very popular in the conservative grassroots, so conservative media had to pay concession to it,” he said.
By 2005, Fox News personalities Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson were dedicating entire shows to the War on Christmas. While their rants were directed at “secular progressives,” they echoed the arguments of Brimelow’s allies. “It’s all part of the secular progressive agenda,” O’Reilly grumbled. “If you can get religion out, then you can pass secular progressive programs, like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage.” National Review’s website jumped back on the bandwagon, beginning with editor Kathryn Jean Lopez’s promotion of Gibson’s bestselling 2005 polemic, The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought.
Of the conservatives who once dismissed his Christmas crusade, Brimelow remarked with a self-satisfied chuckle, “They went over to the dark side.”
One of the reasons that I never entirely brought Thomas Frank’s argument in What’s the Matter with Kansas–working class people are being duped by conservative elites–is because a lot of the batshit lunacy is organic to the theopolitical and wingnut bases. The base invents this crap–it’s not foisted upon or ‘implanted’ into them by concerted propaganda campaigns. In other words, conservative elites* are following, not leading the charge.
Like it or not, a significant fraction of our fellow citizens are, at heart, scared nativists, and the Coalition of the Sane’s challenge is to keep them away from power. There is a broad base of resentment that is born from some pretty ugly, latent bigotry, in this case, anti-Semitism.
*By “elites”, I don’t mean that there is a unified cabal issuing orders, but simply those conservatives who have amassed influence, power, and wealth.