Lyndon LaRouche

That Time the LaRouchies Won Two Primaries in Illinois

Friday A/V Club: Before there was Arthur Jones, there was Mark Fairchild.

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Arthur Jones, a man whose career includes a long stint in the National Socialist White People's Party, is on track to win the Republican nomination next month in Illinois' 3rd Congressional District. When this story first started attracting attention, some people added it to their list of signs that bigots are newly "emboldened" in the Trump era. But on closer examination, it turned out to be more of a sign that the Democrats have a stranglehold on the 3rd District: Jones is a perennial fringe candidate, and the only reason the old Nazi looks likely to actually win a primary this time is because he's the only candidate on the Republican side who bothered to sign up. That's the kind of thing that can happen in a race that one party is sure to lose.

But this post isn't about Jones. It's about the déjà vu this story is giving me. It was in the same state, 32 years ago, that two followers of the proto-fascist crank Lyndon LaRouche managed to win the Democratic nominations for lieutenant governor and secretary of state. That time there were some other candidates on the primary ballot—George Sangmeister and Aurelia Pucinski, respectively. When Mark Fairchild and Janice Hart beat them, the most widespread theory had it that they won by having less "ethnic" names.

Below you'll find a 1986 C-Span interview with Fairchild, the would-be lieutenant governor. Asked at the beginning if LaRouche runs an "anti-Semitic, hate-filled, neo-Nazi organization," Fairchild, who was 28 at the time, describes the charge as "pretty heavy-duty stuff" and denies it. He then goes on to discuss his platform, which among other things included quarantining AIDS patients and using the military to fight the war on drugs. The talk also turns to some of LaRouche's trademark conspiracy theories, including the notions that Henry Kissinger is secretly gay, that Walter Mondale is a KGB agent, and that the queen of England is a drug dealer.

But the best moment comes at 51:20, when a caller reads a passage from the LaRouchie book Dope, Inc.:

In the late 1940s, University of Chicago professor Milton Friedman was installed as President of the Gold Seal Liquor Company—the original Capone enterprise. Friedman soon also assumed the presidency of the Illinois Liquor Dealers Association—a position from which he no doubt carried out his first experiments in "free market economics."

"My understanding," the caller remarks, "is that the Milton Friedman who headed Gold Seal Liquors is a totally different Milton Friedman than Milton Friedman the economist." For the record, the caller's understanding was correct.

The Republicans wound up crushing the LaRouche Democrats. Meanwhile, Adlai Stevenson III, who had been set to be the Democratic nominee for governor, instead created a third party—the Solidarity Party—rather than share a ticket with Fairchild and Hart.

The punchline: After Stevenson returned to the Democrats, the Solidarity Party and its ballot line were seized by a group whose cultist reputation rivaled the LaRouchies'—the New Alliance Party. And the New Alliance Party had been created by one Fred Newman, a former ally of a fellow named Lyndon LaRouche.

Here is the full C-Span interview:

(For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here. Dope, Inc. was co-authored by David Goldman, who after leaving the LaRouche movement started blogging under the name "Spengler"; to see what he's up to these days, go here.)

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  1. National Socialist White People’s Party

    Wouldn’t that just be Bernie Sanders supporters?

    1. Somebody better get some aloe for that Bern!

    2. We’re not that type of socialist.

      /socialist prog

  2. But this post isn’t about Jones. It’s about the d?j? vu this story is giving me. It was in the same state, 32 years ago, that two followers of the proto-fascist crank Lyndon LaRouche managed to win the Democratic nominations for lieutenant governor and secretary of state.

    Look, I’m not expert on Illinois, but if I rely on The Blues Brothers as my primary cultural authority on all things Illinois and Chicago, Nazis have a long standing tradition there, no?

    1. They do, independently of the Blues Bros.

  3. Henry Kissinger is secretly gay, that Walter Mondale is a KGB agent, and that the queen of England is a drug dealer.

    *raises eyebrows*

    J Edgar hoover is a secret crossdresser, Trump is a KGB agent, and the CIA brought drugs into the inner cities (and the Federal Government created AIDS *cough*Tavis Smiley*cough*)

  4. What’s Alex Jones’ take on Lyndon LaRouche?

  5. Oh man, there was (is?) a LaRouchie stationed on the sidewalk Broadway near Wall Street for years and years. He looks exactly as you would expect.

    1. Still? I thought those guys went away in the 90s.

      1. Conspiracy nuts try to join them, but then wander off when they can’t understand what in hell their new conspiracy is about.

      2. He was still there as of around 2013 or so when my job got shipped to Jersey.

  6. During the 80s and early 90s, the press would cosistently refer to Larouche as being Libertarian, even though he was always on the ballot as a Democrat.

    1. During the 80s and early 90s, the press would cosistently refer to Larouche as being Libertarian, even though he was always on the ballot as a Democrat.

      And was, in fact, something of a communist.

      1. At the risk of being beaten to the asphalt of a parking lot, I liked his ideas on a high speed coast-to-coast train.

        1. *commences beating Mongo into asphalt*

  7. “”some people added it to their list of signs that bigots are newly “emboldened” in the Trump era.””

    What’s the odds people saying that are too young to know better?

    1. In fairness, I think you can say that bigots have been emboldened by Trump’s presidency, as bigots themselves have in fact claimed. But to claim that bigots are some significant percentage of the population and actually matter to anything is political BS.

    2. In their defense, the press did slightly encourage that interpretation.

  8. “”…and the only reason the old Nazi looks likely to actually win a primary this time is because he’s the only candidate on the Republican side who bothered to sign up.””

    Gosh, that’s exactly what I said yesterday when someone wondered how the Republican would even *allow* someone like this to run under their banner.

    In my local congressional district for the longest time we had CONVICTED CHILD MOLESTER perennially run under the Libertarian Party banner. Simply because he was the only one who paid the fee to run.

    1. CONVICTED CHILD MOLESTER perennially run

      But enough about Ed Murray.

    2. This is essentially what has happened to the Republican Party in much of CA. It’s a kind of death spiral where running as a Republican is increasingly pointless, so only loonies do it, which only confirms for the average voter that Republicans are loonies who shouldn’t even be allowed to run.

      1. It’s okay, though, because under California’s election rules, the actual race will be between two Democrats in most cases anyways.

        1. Yup – our upcoming governor race is shaping up to be between left-Democrat snake-oil salesman Tony Villaraigosa, and left-Democrat real-estate crony Gavin Newsom.

          Democracy!

      2. Depends on the county. Some districts yes, other districts no. Most counties are still red or purple in the state, but the heavy urban areas tilts the balance to allow the Democrats to control the districting.

        1. It’s funny, I’ve been reading lots of articles lately about California politics. Apparently, everyone is trying to jump out in front of the #Resistance parade and run for office, and now the Democrats are afraid that, due to the nature of California’s election system, this is going to hurt them in the election.

          Think of it this way: say you have a solid blue district, say 70% Democrat and 30% Republican. Now say you have two Republican candidates running in the open primary, and seven Democrats. If they all split the votes relatively equally, the two Republicans will each get about 15% of the overall vote, while the seven Democrats will each get about 10%, leaving a general election race in a deep blue district between two Republican candidates.

          1. It’s a thing to consider, but I doubt the Party is going to let things shake out that way. They keep pretty tight-fisted control over their primaries, even at the local level.

        2. Most counties are still red or purple in the state, but the heavy urban areas tilts the balance to allow the Democrats to control the districting.

          Hence my “much.” Western states are different from eastern states in that you tend to have densely populated urban areas surrounded by counties that have populations in the low five digits at best.

  9. The second least popular Friends episode.

  10. That was 1 punch line. The other was that New Solidarity (envisioned as the successor to SDS’s Solidarity) was LaRouche’s (Lyn Marcus’s) paper.

  11. I remember 1986 in Illinois very well. I once wrote a soc.historywhat-if post about it where I noted: “It is in any event pretty clear that Fairchild’s and Hart’s votes did not reflect approval of the LaRouchies’ views of the world. (And they did not reflect any huge LaRouchie campaign, either–the LaRouchies claimed their total campaign expenditures were only in the hundreds of dollars!) The LaRouchie candidate against gubernatorial candidate Adlai Stevenson III for example got well under 10 percent of the vote. Likewise, whenever there was a three-way contest between the Democratic regular, a “respectable” opponent and a LaRouchie, the LaRouchie came in a poor third–which suggests that the LaRouchie vote was partly a protest vote by people who may not have known who the LaRouchies were but *did* know they were opposed to the regular candidate (contrary to the conventional wisdom that they didn’t know who the regular candidate was)…”

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