When you search “New Right” in association with American politics, you get a variety of newsworks about a movement to push the American right in a more economically populist, culturally conservative, assertively nationalist direction. If the country’s most notorious journalism outlets are to be believed, the “New Right” is a group made up of the young and well-educated, who spend their time podcasting and tweeting their dissident theories. They come from a diverse set of political backgrounds, and their views run counter to the American narrative that economic growth and technological innovations are leading the country to a better future. Part of why those who are unfamiliar with the “New Right” have trouble describing the group is because the movement consists of people who believe that the system that organizes our society and government is entirely backward and makes no sense. 

The rise of the “New Right”—which grows through social media, planned gatherings, and supporters with money—has the ability to impact the 2022 midterm elections, which will not only decide control of both the U.S. House and Senate, but governor’s positions in 36 out of 50 states. 

Michael Feola, associate professor of government and law, whose teaching and research interests include political theory; critical theory; politics and economy; and conservatism, can share insights on how the “New Right” is defined, their visions for political change, and their ongoing civic impact:

  • This movement is defined by racial anxieties over the changing composition of the nation, driven by the ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy narrative. As a result, much of the far right embraces the aims and ideals of white nationalism: to restore a ‘white nation’ or create new, ethnic homelands.
  • The new right increasingly promotes a ‘post-truth’ information economy, at odds with a democratic polity. The most obvious manifestation would be the rise and popularity of the QAnon network. More significant, however, is the broader mainstreaming of conspiracy narratives by elected officials and mass media figures.
  • Paramilitary organizations have long played an important role for the far right. What is particularly troubling is the increasing relationship between these paramilitary groups and mainstream political parties/elected officials (e.g., the paramilitary presence at the Capitol insurrection).
  • The new right has significantly invested in the culture wars as a site of political struggle. Perhaps most dangerous is how these cultural antagonisms are used to drive policies targeting some of the vulnerable groups on the American social landscape.

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