In 1995, Samuel Francis was fired from his job at the Washington Times after being attacked by Dinesh D’Souza for attending the 1994 American Renaissance conference. In his book The End of Racism, D’Souza wrote wildly fake quotes and fake claims about the conference. The claims were so fake, the publisher had to destroy the first batch of books printed to avoid a lawsuit from Jared Taylor. D’Souza was trying to establish himself as a gatekeeper who was purging conservatives of so-called “racists.”
However, Sam Francis remained a icon among true conservative activists until his death in 2005.
Now, Vanity Fair magazine is lamenting that Sam Francis is making a comeback in new conservative circles.
His name comes up in speeches at conservative conferences; at the 2022 National Conservatism Conference, Hillsdale College professor and former Heritage Foundation fellow David Azerrad cited Francis when arguing that American law unfairly targets conservatives while oppressed groups get a free pass. Peter Thiel protégée turned Donald Trump–backed Senate candidate Blake Masters has been promoting Francis’s ideas throughout his Senate campaign, going so far as to recommend his book of essays, Beautiful Losers, which Masters has cited as an influence on his style of conservatism, in an Instagram Story that was pinned at the top of his account. Joe Kent, another Republican candidate endorsed by Trump this cycle, seems familiar enough with Francis’s writings to reference his work multiple times while running for Washington’s third congressional district seat. Francis is cited in articles by influential, and relatively mainstream, conservative writers working for publications like National Review; former Trump administration staffer and essayist of “Flight 93 Election” fame Michael Anton and founder of the Trump-promoted Compact Matthew Schmitz have also both referenced him.
Francis’s work started popping up again in 2016 as a way to understand the phenomenon that led to Trump. Michael Brendan Dougherty, then a senior correspondent for The Week and now a senior writer for National Review, wrote an article in 2016 calling Francis “the Rosetta Stone for Trumpism.” Dougherty cited a 1996 essay written by Francis in which he argued that white working-class resentment from economic globalization could be channeled into electoral success. Shortly after Doughtery’s article was published, Rush Limbaugh read an essay of Francis’s on air. But while discussion of Francis in the early Trump days was oriented toward trying to understand how we got to Trump, now his ideas are cited not descriptively, but prescriptively.