Far-right activists have a brilliant new strategy: Don't vote!

White nationalist Nick Fuentes, failed GOP candidate Laura Loomer and Ali Alexander of Stop the Steal all on board

By Kathryn Joyce

Investigative Reporter

Published September 23, 2022 6:30AM (EDT)

Nick Fuentes, Alex Jones and Ali Alexander during a 'Stop the Steal,' Far-Right Rallies leaders, broadcaster rally at the Governor's Mansion in Georgia November 19th, 2020. (Zach Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Nick Fuentes, Alex Jones and Ali Alexander during a 'Stop the Steal,' Far-Right Rallies leaders, broadcaster rally at the Governor's Mansion in Georgia November 19th, 2020. (Zach Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ali Alexander, a key organizer of the "Stop the Steal" protests that led up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, declared this week during a livestream appearance that he probably won't vote in this year's midterm elections. As Right Wing Watch first reported, Alexander said that Republicans had failed to adequately "court" his or his supporters' vote and that conservatives might be better served by "strategically losing" rather than "a win that cannot be sustained." 

Strange as this may seem, he's not alone. With this declaration, Alexander joins a handful of far-right activists, including white nationalist leader Nick Fuentes and failed Florida congressional candidate Laura Loomer, who are discouraging their fans and followers from voting as a rebuke to the GOP. 

The trend began in August with Loomer, a self-declared "proud Islamophobe" and white nationalist who, after losing the Republican primary in Florida's 11th congressional district, delivered a bizarre speech in which she refused to concede ("because I'm a winner"). The following day, she urged her supporters not to vote for the Republican who defeated her, six-term incumbent Rep. Daniel Webster, in the November general election. In a post on the right-wing social media site GETTR, Loomer wrote, "I encourage all of my supporters and all of my voters to NOT support Daniel Webster and the establishment RNC and Big Tech voter fraud machine that is propping his feeble body up and depriving my constituents of the representation they deserve and need." 

She went on, "I weep not for myself, but for our country and the constituents of Florida's 11th District who do not have a Congressional Representative as a result of voter fraud, illegal Big Tech election interference, and RNC corruption. The Republican Party is broken beyond repair." (Although the 11th district primary was fairly close, the result was clear enough: Webster got 51.1% of the vote to Loomer's 44.2%, winning by roughly 6,000 votes.) 

In the weeks since her loss, Loomer doubled down on these messages, saying the GOP "disgusts me these days," that she has no "faith in the party anymore," and that she refuses to "blindly support treasonous RINOS." In a GETTR post last Sunday, Loomer wrote, "I will never support people who are working to undermine our country and the integrity of our elections by giving them my vote. In fact, I will actively campaign AGAINST the demented, sickly RINO Dan Webster who the GOP establishment rigged my election in favor of. You don't reward cowardice and corruption in your own party with your vote." 

Since losing her Florida primary, Laura Loomer has said that the GOP "disgusts" her and she won't vote for any Republican who isn't "fighting for the release of the J6 political prisoners." 

In another post last weekend, she added that she would refuse to vote for any Republican who fails to support "mass deportations," isn't "fighting for the release of the J6 political prisoners" and lacks "a viable plan to combat voter fraud." Loomer has also recently aired numerous complaints about the party, charging that GOP officials had "blacklisted" her campaign and orchestrated Donald Trump's failure to endorse her candidacy, and accusing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' of "plagiarizing" her work, since she had "brought illegals to Nancy Pelosi's house " years before he created a media spectacle by flying asylum seekers to Martha's Vineyard. 

Also last week, young white nationalist leader Nick Fuentes, head of the far-right America First or "groyper" movement, vowed that if DeSantis wins the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 instead of Trump, Fuentes won't vote for him and would work to "spoil" the election for Republicans. 

"I support Trump or nothing at all. I'm either voting for Trump in '24 or I'm not voting," Fuentes said during a livestream. "And that's gotta be the message: we want Trump, we want Trump in the primary, we want Trump in the general, we are not going to vote for anyone else. They need to understand that." He suggested that the far right would only "need a small concerted minority of Trump supporters to say, 'We will sit out the election, we will spoil it for Republicans if we get DeSantis.' Because in my opinion, that's the only way we're going to salvage Trumpism — by sitting out." 

Fuentes added that he was "sitting out the midterms" as well because he is "unimpressed" and "disappointed at what I've seen from the party." The only exception, he said, should be voters in Arizona, where the slate of far-right candidates — from gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake to U.S. Senate nominee Blake Masters to incumbents such as Rep. Paul Gosar and state Sen. Wendy Rogers — is sufficiently radical to garner his approval. "Anywhere else? Just forget about it," Fuentes said. "No chance." 

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Fuentes continued in that vein this week on Telegram, complaining that the campaign war chest DeSantis has amassed demonstrates a nefarious conspiracy: "Once again, the establishment working together on both sides to dethrone Trump." In another post he wrote, "Honestly I hope the Democrats maintain their House majority and gain control of the Senate" even if that might harm him personally, because "the GOP has done nothing to earn the support of the people since backstabbing Trump in 2020." 

And now there's Alexander, the bombastic self-described political strategist who is widely credited with orchestrating the protest movement leading up to Jan. 6. In a Monday livestream on the new app Callin, which he entitled "My fears of a 2022 'win,'" Alexander said, "I'm increasingly of the belief that I personally will not be voting this midterm election. I'm doing a lot of soul-searching on that, and that's a decision I have come to myself, but it's increasingly a decision that some of my friends and colleagues have told me [they share]." 

Like Fuentes, Alexander urged voters in Arizona, and perhaps Pennsylvania (where far-right Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano is the GOP gubernatorial nominee), to still turn out. But, he continued, "the reason I can't is my vote hasn't been earned … on a personal level. On a move [sic] level, our vote's really not been courted as a demographic." 

Predicting that Republicans would likely lose the Senate and adding that "we're shrinking our presumptive majority in the House already," Alexander suggested that a weak Republican victory in November might be worse than full-on defeat. 

"It's counterintuitive, but a short-term win can mean a long-term loss," he said. "We need to take both chambers [of Congress] or none," he continued, since a narrow victory in the House would presumably elevate Rep. Kevin McCarthy — who has become a despised figure on the far right — to the speaker's chair. Alexander claimed many other people in his "friend group that are public figures" were starting to say the same thing. 

Ali Alexander proclaimed on social media that he and Loomer had warned that "GOP and even parts of 'MAGA Inc.' sold out patriots and gave Democrats a chance of keeping BOTH chambers of Congress."

"In an ideal world, I'm saying, 'Vote Republican, vote straight down the ticket.' But a lot of my friends are not feeling that, I'm not feeling that," Alexander said. "A loss is going to sting. But as people know, in sports or other disciplines, sometimes a strategic loss and mitigating and preparing for that loss is better than a win that cannot be sustained." This notion of "strategically losing" was something few wanted to talk about out loud, Alexander acknowledged, since it sounded "too similar to sabotage." But he called on listeners to "share this podcast with some of our allies who are still platformed," such as far-right media figures Jack Posobiec or Mike Cernovich, in case they too wanted to join the don't-vote groundswell.

On GETTR, Alexander promoted the livestream with a post proclaiming that he and Loomer had warned people that "GOP and even parts of 'MAGA Inc.' sold out patriots and gave Democrats a chance of keeping BOTH chambers of Congress," adding a hashtag he's apparently trying to get trending, #GOPrevolt.

On one hand, the prospect that some of the most vitriolic and destructive activists on the far right are working to demobilize their supporters ahead of the 2022 and '24 elections was greeted as welcome news by many Democrats. On Twitter, users responded to the news of Alexander's announcement with variations on "That's the spirit" and "Spread the word." Other progressive commentators have pointed out that Republicans' insistence that the 2020 election was stolen likely depressed turnout in the January 2021 U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia — perhaps leading to wins by Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff — and that these continuing claims could have the same effect going forward. 

"You will never hear me say on this show stuff to try to trick Republicans into not voting," said progressive podcast host David Pakman in July, after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene mused that conservatives still angry about Trump's 2020 loss might not turn out this year. "But I'm certainly not going to tell Republicans not to do it themselves." 

On the other hand, notes Political Research Associates research analyst Ben Lorber, there's a complicated irony at work when it comes to these far-right activists threatening to withhold their support: That their influence has already spread far and wide within Republican politics, and they themselves may not matter anymore. 

Earlier this year, Lorber recalled, Nick Fuentes boasted that his America First movement would begin endorsing and running its own candidates, "in order to deepen their impact" on the mainstream GOP. That by and large hasn't happened, and instead Fuentes and his movement have been increasingly sidelined in the larger universe of conservatism. 

"Faced with this disappointment," Lorber said, "Fuentes is doubling down on the insurrectionary, anti-establishment energy" that drove events like the Million MAGA March in December 2020. Now, Lorber continued, "the white nationalist politics Fuentes has long championed have moved mainstream," while the Republican Party has "little patience for the groyper leader himself." 

By Kathryn Joyce

Kathryn Joyce was an investigative reporter at Salon, and the author of two books: "The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption" and "Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement."

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Ali Alexander Conservatives Elections Far-right Laura Loomer Nick Fuentes Reporting Republicans