[Content warning for racism, religious prejudice and accounts of mass shootings]
On May 16 2011 a minor sideshow in the Republican Party’s bid to oust Barack Obama came to an end: businessman and TV celebrity Donald Trump announced that he wouldn’t be running for president. Trump had been hounding Obama over the so-called “birther” issue but had been roundly mocked by Obama and discredited when Obama released the long-form birth certificate. Nonetheless, the flamboyant property developer had been posturing as a potential Republican candidate:
“In spite of Trump’s claims about being frontrunner in the polls, one published on Monday by the Politico website and George Washington University showed 71% of those surveyed thought he had no chance of becoming president.”https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/may/16/donald-trump-us-presidential-race
Other potential candidates who would withdraw before the start of 2012 included Tea Party favourite and opponent of Occupy Wall Street, Herman Cain — the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. Conservative science-fiction author John C Wright regarded Cain quite favourably, but Wright’s future editor, Vox Day, was far more antagonistic towards the candidate:
“Herman Cain is not the man with the courage of his convictions for whom pro-life conservatives have been waiting for more than 20 years. He is not the bold and principled leader that their courageous steadfastness merits. The Magic Negro, Part II: Republican edition, is the black version of Mitt Romney, only less intelligent, less monied and more closely tied to Wall Street. The fact that these two bank-owned, flip-flopping faux conservatives are presently leading in the pre-Iowa polls is a testament to the sad and muddled state of the Republican Party.”https://www.wnd.com/2011/10/359437/
Something about Herman Cain really did not sit well with Day, even more than Day’s general dislike of insufficiently nationalistic Republicans. Cain’s candidacy was derailed in October 2011 due to an allegation of sexual harassment and despite hiring the lawyer L. Lin Wood to help refute the claims, Cain eventually withdrew.
Day’s dislike of Cain was distinctive but not unique, he also had a long term dislike of Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Romney was regarded as a relative liberal within the Republican Party and helped institute a public healthcare system when Governor with many features in common with the current Obama administrations scheme for a federal system. As early as 2008, Day had taken to calling Romney “Captain Underoos” — a dismissive reference to Romney’s Mormon religion. Day had been critical of the idea of John McCain potentially picking Romney as running mate in 2008, making an unusual comparison of Romney to Hitler:
“In general, there is something distinctly problematic about an outsider who wants to come in and lead. It seldom ends well, as the Germans learned after embracing an Austrian outsider. One of the reasons for the disastrous state in which conservatism finds itself, particularly the conservative media, is that so many of its self-appointed leaders are not really conservative and hail from very different social, ethnic, and religious backgrounds than the great mass of conservative America. Can it really be considered any great surprise that irreligious Ivy Leaguers, naturalized aliens and secular New York City Jews have failed to provide successful intellectual leadership for religious conservatives from the heartland?”https://web.archive.org/web/20100114201729/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2008/07/captain-underoos-to-rescue.html
Like Trump, Vox Day was also a subscriber to the “birther” beliefs that Barack Obama was not a natural-born US citizen but was unsure of the quality of candidates that the Republican Party could run against him. The only possible saviour was the maverick libertarian, Ron Paul. Day, like Paul, was a believer in the anti-empirical economic theory known as Austrian Economics and was convinced that government stimulus spending and measures taken by the Federal Reserve bank to stabilise the economy in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, were going to cause the economic downfall of the USA.
You may not like him. You may think he is crazy and hypocritical and wrong on a panoply of issues. But the fact of the matter that he has been warning everyone about the eventual consequences of the credit boom that the Federal Reserve and the federal government created over the last fifty years, and the subsequent bust they have been desperately staving off since 2008. In doing so, they have made things worse, so much so that the USA may not survive as a nation when their efforts finally fail. This is not a Democrat vs Republican thing. It is an economic sanity vs insanity thing. Obama has been disastrous, as he has increased federal debt 92% since 2008. McCain would have done the same or worse. Romney and Gingrich would actually be worse than Obama in this regard. The economic Fimbulwinter is coming and there is only one national politician who even understands the core issues involved.https://web.archive.org/web/20190610011139/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2011/12/why-smart-people-support-ron-paul.html
Without providing too many spoilers for the next few years, I can confirm that America did not fall into the economic equivalent of the Norse mythological end times.
Meanwhile, as the process of selecting a candidate continued into 2012 author Brad Torgersen was anxious about the possibility that the GOP would pick former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In 2008, Torgersen had written Mitt Romney rather than vote for McCain or Obama. Gingrich’s history of infidelity made him unacceptable to Torgersen. In the comments to his Facebook post, fellow author Kevin J Anderson anticipated a future irony within a possible Obama v Gingrich contest:
“I rarely comment on politics, but this has really been making my head spin. If Gingrich is the nominee, Hardcore Christian family values voters will look at two candidates:One candidate who has never been divorced, who has a strong marriage, a loving wife, and two daughters he obviously adores, who has belonged to the same religion all his life.One candidate who is now on his third religion as well as his third wife, who broke his marriage vows repeatedly, who left one wife when she got multiple sclerosis, left another wife when she got cancer. And the Christian family values voters will choose the latter. So much for their principles. (I am not endorsing any candidate here; I just loathe the hypocrisy.)”https://www.facebook.com/brad.torgersen/posts/359534047406168?comment_id=359805230712383
Mormons no more uniformly vote for the same candidates than any other social grouping in America but in broad strokes, they sit in an unusual position. Largely traditional, often with socially conservative views and mainly concentrated in a state that would likely be Republican regardless, nonetheless Mormons often found themselves unwelcome by the dominant evangelical Christian faction of the Republican Party that sees the Church of the Latter-Day Saints as, at best, heretical and at worse an alien religion pretending to be Christian. However, those same socially conservative position of the church put them at odds with many on the left.
Brad Torgersen rightly objected to misinformed Facebook jokes about Romney’s Mormon faith in 2012:
“Well you know what? I am a gosh-damned Mormon!! And the yuks and snickers and ‘magic underwear’ comments that followed on simply reminded me that I am not sure who is worse: the evangelicals who are bigotted against me and mine, or the progressives who are bigotted against me and mine? Because really, this crap all looks the same after awhile regardless of the source. Guess what progressives, you’re behaving just like your hated rivals, the evangelicals, when you do this shit.”https://www.facebook.com/brad.torgersen/posts/302963653089023
Although, he didn’t make similar comments about Vox Day’s jibes.
Larry Correia was never much of a Mitt Romney fan because of Romney’s past support of public healthcare and some gun control measures but Correia was also not keen on Gingrich.
John Scalzi (a former ‘Rockefeller Republican’ who had anticipated voting for Obama again) made a small but surprising intervention into the nomination process. He donated $50 to the campaign of John Huntsman in the interests of pluralism and a healthy electoral process:
“What I would actually like is two candidates I don’t see as entirely unfit for office (note I say “I” here — I’m not particularly interested if you agree with my assessment) go and have a presidential campaign that doesn’t make me feel like it’s being waged at the level of two second-graders sticking their tongues out at each other and talking to me like I jammed a cake mixer into my brain and clicked it over to the “high” setting. I figure a Huntsman/Obama election race is my best chance for a campaign that does not actively make my country stupider, either before or after the election.”https://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/11/23/in-which-i-make-my-first-presidential-campaign-contribution-of-the-election/
What the Republican Party lacked was a charismatic candidate who could garner enough support from the party’s right to win a nomination and yet still appeal to the broad electoral centre of US voters to beat Obama. The eventual compromise candidate was Mitt Romney but with the anti-tax “deficit hawk” Paul Ryan as Vice Presidential candidate.
Not that Obama was unbeatable. The flagship policy initiative of the Affordable Care Act (aka ‘Obamacare’) had been a bruising legislative struggle but the major provisions of the act were not due to be implemented until 2014, so voters had not yet had a real opportunity to see the policy in action. Nor was the economy in great shape, although things had improved since 2008 the impact of the Global Financial Crisis was still in effect. Technically the Iraq War was over with an official withdrawal of US troops in 2011 but Iraq was still in civil disarray and internal violence was on the rise. Elsewhere in the region, there was a growing civil war in Syria and instability in multiple countries.
In September of 2012, an attack on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya led to the deaths of four Americans including the US Ambassador to Libya, J Christopher Stevens. The attack would become a cause célèbre for the Republican Party which would mount a number of investigations in an attempt to identify wrongdoing by the Obama administration and in particular to attempt to prove negligence by the then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
The mass shooting in a cinema in Aurora, Colorado led to renewed calls for gun control laws, in particular controls on so-called “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines. Larry Correia strongly disagreed:
“As can be expected in the aftermath of any shooting that grabs headlines, two things are going to happen. 1. Liberals will knee jerk try to pin it on the right. 2. They’ll start bleating for more gun control. We got #1 when ABC news was trying to blame this on the Tea Party before the blood had even dried, and of course when that came back as untrue, just like it did with the Giffords shooting, they went right into #2.”https://monsterhunternation.com/2012/07/24/fisking-a-gun-control-editorial/
Statistical coverage of US elections had increased by leaps and bounds during the 21st century. After surprising success at predict outcomes of the 2008 Presidential Election, the website FiveThirtyEight run by sports statistician Nate Silver had been acquired by the New York Times. It was just one of many websites analysing and commenting upon polling information. The increased interest in polling also led to an increased interest in polling methodology.
Among conservative circles, the relatively poor performance of the Romney ticket in opinion polls often blamed on polls oversampling Democrat voters. Coverage of alternative polling figures where critics of the major polling companies produced “unskewed” poll results gained press coverage. This belief ranged from claiming that the ‘skew’ in the polls was a faulty assumption, to something more like an active conspiracy theory i.e. that polling companies were intentional skewing results in the hope of boosting Obama’s chances. When Romney’s poll numbers improved in October 2012, Larry Correia felt vindicated:
“I’ve been saying that the polls were crap and Romney was going to win for about four months now. My friends kept getting all despondant and bummed out, and I’d just tell them that that was what the media wanted them to feel. The narrative wanted conservatives to forget the Tea Party movement ever started, forget the 2010 midterms, forget the Wisconsin recall, hell, forget the Chick-Fil-A debacle boycott turned biggest fast food sales day ever.”https://monsterhunternation.com/2012/10/18/see-i-told-you-so-time/
Vox Day was so unhappy with how Romney became the candidate that he wasn’t keen on voting for him but even Day thought that Romney would beat Obama by 305 electoral college votes to 233. Meanwhile, John Scalzi was predicting Obama would win 294 to Romney’s 244 and in the comments to that post, Brad Torgersen went the other way with Romney 291 to Obama 247. Torgersen was so confident of a Romney win that in the comments to his own Facebook post on the subject he stated that he expected Nate Silver would be discredited by the final result and also counselled that Obama would be wise to concede quickly and gracefully once the results became clear:
“If he’s not… if he refuses, and we get dragged-out legalese or threats to force recounts and accusations of vote fraud…. can even Obama believe this won’t shred whatever good will is left for he and his Presidency?”https://www.facebook.com/brad.torgersen/posts/122712491217261?comment_id=122760307879146 
Vox Day’s prediction is even more surprising considering that he also thought that Romney was fighting a demographic uphill battle. The shifting population of many Republican states, including Texas, was presenting a future challenge for the GOP. Day thought the tipping point where Republicans might become unelectable as President might be as early as 2016. He predicted only one route out for them:
“Unless, of course, the Republican party becomes the party of white nationalism and starts winning 75 to 80 percent of the white vote, which seems extremely unlikely given SWPL cultural influence, white female left-liberalism, and the party elite’s preference for irrelevance to “extremism”. So, my prediction of a US collapse by 2033 would appear to be progressing rather nicely.”https://web.archive.org/web/20121109161439/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-last-republican.html
In the end, none of these would be pundits was correct, although John Scalzi came closest. Obama won 332 electoral college votes. A decisive win. Vox Day was philosophical and Larry Correia took to quoting Robert Heinlein:
“Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”Robert Heinlein https://monsterhunternation.com/2012/11/07/congratulations-obama-voters/
Correia and Heinlein both left it unclear who they imagined the barbarians might be. However, Correia did have a theory of how Obama might have won so (to him) surprisingly:
“Yeah, about the voter fraud, really, Cleveland? You get 100% turn out in your inner city districts? I used to live in the inner city. I’m fairly certain you could hold a FREE all you can eat barbeque, with pony rides, a wet t-shirt contest featuring Playboy bunnies, and a Jay-Z/Led Zepplin/50 Cent/Kayne/Beyonce/Elvis/Sinatra/U2 concert, which handed out a free Obamaphone to every visitor, and you still wouldn’t get 100% turn out. That’s cool though, because Philly did even better, because after they threw out 70 of the court appointed observers, not only did their super record banana republic level turn out beat every possible expectation, they also voted 99% for Obama. But Colorado was not to be outdone, because they had ten democrat counties with over 100% turnout? That’s even better than Venezuela or Cuba! Bravo.”https://monsterhunternation.com/2012/11/11/there-i-go-offending-people-again/
Larry Correia provided no links or references to these claims but despite him pointing to his capabilities as an auditor, he did not appear to have actually checked any data.
Correia’s primary concern about a second Obama term was gun control. Tragically, before the year was over the issue would once again dominate the headlines. On December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut a twenty-year-old man first murdered his mother and then went to the Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered twenty-six people including twenty young children using an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. The horrific killings shocked America and brought renewed calls for gun control measures. Although, not all Americans felt that way. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee responded to the attack by suggesting that violence in schools was due to the secular nature of schools.
Larry Correia responded to the ensuing political debate a few days later with what was to become one of his most widely shared posts. Entitled An Opinion on Gun Control  it outlined many of the key points of what he regarded as the futility and danger of gun control. The post did not directly address the murders and Sandy Hook Elementary School or that the weapons used by the killer had been bought legally by the killer’s mother.
The popularity of Correia’s post eventually led him to an appearance on Mike Huckabee’s own Fox News show, much to Correia’s delight:
“For any of the new visitors interested in checking out my work, just click on any of the books linked over on the right.”https://monsterhunternation.com/2013/01/20/on-huckabee-tonight-on-fox/
Vox Day pushed back on the moves towards gun control in a different way:
“At this point, I think it is perfectly reasonable to question if Lanza had anything to do with the shootings beyond being one of the victims of the real shooters. But what about those grief-stricken parents? And why is the media still going on about assault rifles when they have nothing to do with what supposedly happened at Sandy Hook? I was entirely willing to reserve judgment, but the inexplicable anomalies are rapidly piling up again. The pattern is readily apparent and given the facts at hand, Occam’s Razor increasingly suggests a false flag. I don’t understand why anyone finds it hard to believe there are elements in the US government who don’t hesitate to murder US citizens, given that the Obama administration openly asserts its legal right to kill citizens at will without due process. Let’s engage in a little outlandish legal conjecture and assume that the shootings were real. What, one wonders, would have prevented the administration from legally placing the children of Sandy Hook elementary school on its secret kill list and then ordering their assassination?”https://web.archive.org/web/20170911051940/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2013/01/more-questions-at-sandy-hook.html
Day would continue to attempt to cast doubt on the truth of the mass murder for years afterwards.
Next Time: How to get Correia Nominated for a Hugo…
-  https://www.scifiwright.com/2012/07/for-any-independent-or-undecided-voters-out-there/#comment-2691602339
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Cain_2012_presidential_campaign#Sexual_harassment_allegations
-  it’s not strictly relevant that he hired Lin Wood but the guy will turn up much later in this story
-  Day wrote a lexicon in 2008 for some of the nicknames he uses including “Lizard queen = Hillary Clinton” https://web.archive.org/web/20180119031641/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2008/03/lexicology.html
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_garment
-  https://web.archive.org/web/20160113182804/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2011/03/obama-is-not-eligible.html
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_School#Fundamental_tenets
-  https://monsterhunternation.com/2012/01/26/out-of-touch-rich-guys-and-tax-time-fun/
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordable_Care_Act
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War#2011:_U.S._withdrawal
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_civil_war#Timeline
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Benghazi_attack
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Aurora,_Colorado_shooting
-  https://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/23/opinion/webster-aurora-shooter/index.html
-  It later moved to ESPN https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FiveThirtyEight#2012_U.S._elections
-  https://www.businessinsider.com.au/unskewed-polling-dean-chambers-poll-bias-skewed-obama-romney-2012-9?r=US&IR=T
-  http://drawandstrike.blogspot.com/2012/10/so-how-do-you-end-up-with-surprise.html
-  Initially here https://web.archive.org/web/20140618041730/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2012/08/mitt-romney-chicago-republican.html closer to the election more overtly saying “Therefore, I endorse not voting for anyone for U.S. president.” https://web.archive.org/web/20160113190537/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2012/11/2012-presidential-endorsement.html
-  https://web.archive.org/web/20171014005606/http://voxday.blogspot.com/2012/11/romney-305-obama-233.html
-  https://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/11/03/my-2012-election-prediction-obama-294-romney-244/
-  to his credit, Torgersen conceded he’d been wrong in a comment at Whatever post-election https://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/11/07/the-schadenfreude-pie-i-make-this-week-will-be-dedicated-to-right-wing-pundits/#comment-396705
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_presidential_election
-  Colorado 2012 turnout data is available here https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Results/Abstract/2012/general/turnout.html and the maximum turn out of ACTIVE voters in any county was less than 98% and the turn out of registered voters was even lower. Other claims made by Correia may be in reference to these claims https://www.factcheck.org/2013/01/voting-conspiracies/
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Hook_Elementary_School_shooting and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactions_to_the_Sandy_Hook_Elementary_School_shooting
-  https://www.businessinsider.com.au/huckabee-fox-news-shooting-god-2012-12
-  post is here https://monsterhunternation.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/ The interview on Fox is available on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzyuvl5Ry4g
-  this article doesn’t mention Vox Day but covers some of the theories Day advanced https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Hook_Elementary_School_shooting_conspiracy_theories