How the Right Took Power in the United States

Phases and Coalitions 1940-2012

Showing the Three Times the Ultra-Conservative Coalition Mobilized to Move the Republican Party to the Right

Phase 6: 1970s - A "New Right" Builds a Movement

Instead of bemoaning the failure of Goldwater to attract voters, ultraconservatives repackaged themselves as populists and reframed their messages. They created a "New Right." To the middle class, they offered tax reductions, which also served their goal of reducing the size of federal and state budgets and meddling government programs. To the emerging Christian Right, they promised to restore America to its proper status as a Christian nation built on “family values” and to defend the idealized Christian family against the sinful feminist, homosexual, secular humanist, and socialist subversives.

The subtext in this campaign of reframing was race. Ultraconservative strategists began to “use welfare and the War on Poverty…to capture the increasing racial fears of much of white America at a time when African Americans were asserting their rights in new ways,” explains Lucy Williams.

William Rusher set the tone of the new frame pitting populist producers against parasitic liberal elites:

[A] new economic division pits the producers—businessmen, manufacturers, hard-hats, blue-collar workers, and farmers—against the new and powerful class of nonproducers comprised of a liberal verbalist elite (the dominant media, the major foundations and research institutions, the educational establishment, the federal and state bureaucracies) and a semipermanent welfare constituency, all coexisting happily in a state of mutually sustaining symbiosis.

  These new frames were designed to build a mass base and increase voter turnout. Some analysts claim it involved an intentional plan to “mobilize resentment” through populist rhetoric and convince portions of the electorate to vote against their economic self interest in favor of hot button social issues. In addition to rhetorical populism and producerism, different sectors of the Political Right (and different players in specific sectors) also use dualism and the demonization of opponents, conspiracist narratives, and an apocalyptic frame that raises the stakes of political struggle to a cosmological level.

To implement the plan, conservatives began constructing a network of social movements and social movement organizations and institutions that would feed people into their political operation. As Doug McAdam and David A. Snow explain, social movements consist of groups of people who act with “some degree of organization and continuity outside of institutional channels for the purpose of promoting or resisting change in the group, society, or world order of which it is a part.” Just as the Civil Rights Movement pulled the Democratic Party to the Political Left, the new conservative movement, energized and trained in the Goldwater campaign, would pull the Republican Party to the Right.

 

Cite: Chip Berlet. 2007. “The New Political Right in the United States: Reaction, Rollback, and Resentment.” In Michael Thompson, ed, Confronting the New Conservatism. The Rise of the Right in America. New York, NYU Press. <Buy it at Powell’s>

Color
Key

Major Phases of
Right-Wing Movements

New or Reframed
Coalition Partners

Sub-Sectors
under a Major Section

Ultraconservative Coalition
Mobilizes a Rebellion

Discarded
Coalition Partners


1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

1932-1941:
Pre-WWII Conservatism
Post-WWII Republican Party Coalition 1950s: Ultra-Conservative Fusionism 1960s: Facing Challenges from
the Left
1963-1964: Goldwater Presi-dential Campaign 1970s: A “New Right” Builds a Movement 1980s: The Right-Wing Coalition Institutionalizes Post-1991: Reframing Political Debates Post-2008:
Tea Party & Town Hall Movements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Libertarianism

Economic Conservatism

Economic Conservatism

 

Economic Conservatism

 

Economic Conservatism

Economic Conservatism

Economic Conservatism

 

Sector: Business Nationalism

Sector: Business Nationalism

 

Sector: Business Nationalism

 

Sector: Business Nationalism

Sector: Business Nationalism

Sector: Business Nationalism

 

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

 

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

 

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

Sector: Corporate Internationalism

 

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticommunism

Militant Patriot
Anticollectivism

Militant Patriot
Anticollectivism

National Security Militarism

National Security Militarism

 

National Security Militarism

 

National Security Militarism

National Security Militarism

National Security Militarism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neoconservatism

Neoconservatism

 

 

Social Traditionalism

Social Traditionalism

Social Traditionalism

 

Social Traditionalism

Religious Right
Christian Right

Religious Right
Christian Right

Religious Right
Christian Right

Religious Right
Christian Right

Naked
White Supremacy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naked
Antisemitism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2012, Chip Berlet