Those familiar with Occidental Dissent, the brainchild of the neo-Confederate League of the South’s (LOS) Bradley Dean Griffin, might be confused as to why an avowed “Southern Nationalist” blog has spent the past few months championing Donald Trump.
Taking the views of the League –– a pro-secessionist organization –– at face value, it seems highly unlikely that any hardcore believer in their cause would go to bat for a presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat.
Take a 2014 statement on the LOS website by president Michael Hill. “Now we in the League do not participate in National Elections; however we do not miss an opportunity to show how managed [sic] and corrupted the US electoral system is,” Hill said at the time.
In spite of such high-minded sentiment, Griffin, who writes on his blog under the pen name Hunter Wallace, was an early rider of the Trump Train.
It began somewhat slowly, with Griffin gloating over Trump’s assertion that Mexicans are “rapists” and “drug dealers,” and kept pace as the radical right’s ardor for Trump gained momentum. Frequent posts decried the segment of the GOP described by the Alt-Right as “c----,” progressing to a series of posts titled “The Case For Trump” and a daily poll update titled “[T]he Horserace.”
Throughout, Griffin has championed the bigoted, nativist, anti-immigrant sentiments Trump espoused on the campaign trail, usually peppering them with memes, buzzwords and film references popular on the Alt-Right, such as Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road and a plantation-themed version of Pepe the Frog.
But Griffin’s ride with Trump seems to be coming to an end. His last poll update was on Oct. 6, just two days before a leaked video of Trump discussing sexually assaulting women was released. Although Griffin devoted a low-energy post to touting Trump’s performance in the second debate, his enthusiasm seems to have withered.
The Occidental Dissent blog this week reads as someone arriving home to lick his wounds. One post warns of the impending short-lived rise in pro-secessionist and softer “rainbow” Confederate sentiment that would accompany a Clinton victory. Griffin claims this will devolve into apathy with nothing accomplished. Another bemoans the suspension of Alabama’s Supreme Court chief justice as a sign that participating in state elections is futile.
Could it be that in spite of being a proud “Southern Nationalist,” Griffin saw in a Trump presidency some glimmer of hope for reconciliation with the federal government? Or that the haunting prospect of a Clinton victory in November proved so terrifying that he felt compelled to participate in American politics?
These are plausible explanations, but unlikely for a spokesman of a neo-Confederate fringe group with such an ardent belief in the impending collapse of “the empire” that they have formed a paramilitary wing and begun actively encouraging members to hoard weapons, ammunition and supplies.
Although Griffin himself isn’t much of an end-times prepper, and has used his blog to decry violent rhetoric, his embrace of Trump and the Alt-Right remains a recognizable tactic frequently deployed by the League to draw members to their cause.
After all, Michael Hill and the League of the South are never ones to let a good crisis go to waste. The election of Barack Obama signaled an impending gun-grab, his re-election, the coronation of a totalitarian despot. In the wake of the Charleston shooting, the League agitated against the removal of the Confederate flag, from which they had previously distanced themselves. Target’s decision regarding bathrooms was a sign of God’s impending judgment against a corrupt nation. After Hillary Clinton denounced the Alt-Right, Michael Hill went as far as claiming his group was the “original Alt-Right” while speaking on the Rebel Yell podcast.
Griffin has sought to portray himself as a Trump supporter so that when Trump fails, either to win the presidency or to live up to the alt-right’s expectations, he is there to offer an alternative.
The turn has already happened, as forecast by Michael Hill’s recent post “An Appeal to Southerners.” “What will America’s demise leave for the rest of us?” Hill wrote. “More importantly, what will it leave for our children and grandchildren? If we keep ourselves tied to this rotting carcass, then our demise will be certain. Only poverty and despair await.”
Compare this with a post by Griffin regarding Trump being caught on microphone discussing sexual assault. “I asked the wife what she thought about this. Her response was “so what”? How does that affect us and our family?” Griffin wrote. (Griffin is married to Renee Griffin, born Baum, the daughter of the Gordon Baum, who headed the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens until his death.)
For Hill, Griffin, and the League, it doesn’t matter who wins the election. The next president will serve only to fuel Hill’s next fever dream about the overreach of federal power being used to provoke a war with China/Russia/Iran in order to institute martial law and round “white, Christian, southerners” into camps.
In these fraught times, rest assured: whatever rabbit trail Hill runs down, Occidental Dissent will follow.