Having had Ruling Class apparatchik John McCain as a Senator for Life, Arizona and its GOP now have one of the more curious Republican senatorial candidates in the country: Blake Masters. A former protégé of Tech titan Peter Thiel, one of the few American oligarchs somewhat friendly to national conservatives, Masters had been running a decidedly pro-American nationalist campaign—until he won the GOP primary. But then came unsettling website and personnel changes. There are more recent signs, however, that things are looking up.
Masters began as a strong National Conservative candidate. One of the first groups his campaign contacted was Arizona’s College Republicans United, on Masters’ radar for opposing immigration and raising money for Kyle Rittenhouse.
ASU student group College Republicans United is raising funds for Kenosha protest shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. The group told an @azcentral reporter “they do not speak to journalists with pronouns on their Twitter page" and to "get a real job.” https://t.co/U87WUCvqC3— Rachel Leingang (@rachelleingang) August 29, 2020
CRU leaders tell me that Masters’ campaign was very open about pushing for an immigration moratorium, prosecution of Big Tech monopolies and censorship—even said nice things about VDARE.com’s Peter Brimelow and Steve Sailer!
Masters’ expertise on these subjects apparently came from a long and thorough study of immigration, including VDARE.com. Masters also reportedly had adopted similar hardline views on abortion, fair trade, economics, and, most encouragingly, the Great Replacement. Masters took a direct and ongoing part in carefully articulating the campaign’s message. My sources said Masters designed, coded and updated his website himself, and participated in day-to-day policy discussions.
Hence, after Masters’ primary victory in early August, these supporters were particularly troubled to learn that the campaign quickly reworked its website. The hardline messaging on the Great Replacement and other issues was gone, including his unequivocal opposition to abortion:
Less than a month after winning the Arizona GOP Senate primary with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, Blake Masters is softening his language on controversial issues like abortion, gun control, immigration—and even the 2020 election.
His campaign website no longer describes him as “100% pro-life” and a section that previously called for a federal bill to recognize unborn children as human beings “that may not be killed” has been deleted.
Masters has also dropped language from his site suggesting Trump won the 2020 election and removed references to a racist conspiracy theory that claims Democrats are trying to “import” immigrant voters.
“They’re doing the traditional pivot to the middle for the general election,” said Tyler Montague, a veteran Arizona Republican consultant. "He needs to appeal to moderates in the middle to win. So, he’s trying to walk back the super pro-life positions to something that more closely reflects the electorate.”
[Blake Masters, Trump-endorsed GOP Senate candidate in Arizona, attempts pivot to the center, by Musadiq Bidar, CBS, August 31, 2022]
Dropping those issues, notorious corporate libertarian busybody Chuck Warren, a Utah “Republican Strategist." told CBS’s Bidar, was a good strategy that would permit Masters to “‘focus on kitchen table issues’ instead of trying to go viral for controversial comments that force his campaign to play defense.”
Presumably, that meant the policy wonkery that Stupid Party Brain Trusters think wins elections. Masters dutifully followed that advice in some speeches. Result: Primary voters were left confused, uncertain, and fearful of engaging in the general election campaign.
Indeed, the shift prompted fearful discussion among Republicans who remember the years of abuse under the hated McCain machine with its “conservative talking points” during campaign season, followed by centrist and leftist policy positions once reelected.
The question is, why would Masters purge the website of winning issues connected to the National Question and so important to Historic American Nation?
After the changes, a GOP party source told me, there followed a flurry of texts, emails, and phone calls about the changes, and who made them, among donors, the Republican National Committee, and grassroots supporters of the Masters’ campaign. One supporter was told that Masters’ direct involvement in the website and his updates to the abortion section reflected “his desire to use his policy section as a ‘living document’ rather than an immutable record of his positions.” Such words could only provide comfort to the cynical world of practiced political consultants, and fear among Masters’ supporters, who worried about an existential campaign crisis.
Here’s what rank-and-file Masters voters didn’t know: Following the primary election victory, the source told me, Blake Masters was directed to hire an additional staff of political consultants recommended by the RNC. It’s unclear if the GOP consultants ordered the changes to the website, but the backlash over them ended in Amalia Halikias’ ouster as campaign manager, although the campaign kept her a consultant. Masters then hired Katie Miller, wife of Stephen Miller, to replace Halikias—which suggests he is still tied to an immigration moratorium and other hard National Question priorities.
None of this was well received by the RNC or Mitch McConnell. Always looking for an excuse to abandon authentic conservative candidates, the party and McConnell had wanted billionaire Thiel to pay for half the campaign’s cost [Peter Thiel rebuffs Mitch McConnell over Senate rescue in Arizona, by Isaac Stanley-Becker, Hannah Knowles and Isaac Arnsdorf, Washington Post, August 31, 2022]. Thiel said no. With the backlash, internal fighting, Establishment and anti-Establishment consultants working within the campaign, and subsequent contradictory messaging, McConnell and the party had an excuse to pull out.
This leaves two questions: Does Masters have the resources to win? And is he a real National Conservative?
As a student, Masters was heavily involved in anarcho-libertarian websites. He evolved into tracking more nationalist outlets such as VDARE.com as he grew older. Though the GOP still has its libertarian strain, it has generally turned toward America First conservatism. Masters has a unique understanding of the Republican Party’s base and its Establishment and their respective issues with taxes, oligarchy, banking, corporatism, immigration, and regulations.
After the disastrous website shift, Masters’ deftly, and unsurprisingly, tried to move the focus away from the putative policy changes. Thus did he deliver a tweet that tied economic downturns to an increase in diversity at the Federal Reserve Bank.
Finally a compelling explanation for why our economy is doing so well https://t.co/Ub2CeiyjCs— Blake Masters (@bgmasters) August 29, 2022
He followed with a video message that defended the tweet and in which he called Vice President Kamala Harris “so incompetent she can’t even get a sentence out.” Obviously, he said, Biden picked her to fulfill race and gender quotas:
I’ve never spoken to anyone who can say with a straight face that Kamala was somehow the most qualified candidate for that job.
And then he broadly attacked Biden’s “Affirmative Action Regime.”
Establishment GOP strategists are spooked by these Trumpian tactics. They think that, while they might have helped Masters win the primary, by double digits, they might also cause him to lose the general election, which they believe a more mainstream conservative can win. (Of course this didn’t work with Martha McSally.) That’s why it’s so likely the RNC political consultants deep-sixed the pro-life material from his website, a notable part of which was support for a law—enjoined by U.S. District Judge Douglas Reyes, appointed by President Barack Obama—recognizing the personhood of an unborn child. Masters also said a similar federal law should apply only to the third trimester of pregnancy [In Arizona, Blake Masters backtracks on abortion and scrubs his campaign website, by Allan Smith and Marc Caputo, NBC News, August 25, 2022]. Pro-life voters can be forgiven if they’re confused.
The backpedaling harmed the confidence of Masters’ supporters and showed up in polling. Some polls had him falling to 38 percent against Democrat rival and incumbent Senator Mark Kelly.
Currently, the Real Clear Politics Average shows Kelly with a 6-point, 47.2-41.2 lead.
But now that Masters has refocused on Affirmative Action—along with a more smoothly operating campaign, sources say—things are looking up. More recent polls from Trafalgar and Data for Progress show Masters and Kelly neck and neck, with Masters trailing by just 1 (48-47) or 2 points (47-45).
Weeks of campaigning remain for Blake Masters to show he remains committed to immigration moratorium, deportation of illegals, and right to life to shore up his support.
As an Arizonan, I believe that this can secure a victory for him in November.
Reginald De Chantillon [Email him] is a former GOP campaign strategist who worked on Pete Wilson’s campaigns for Governor, Proposition 187, and other local elections in California. He refused to sell his soul and left professional party building.