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Updated Jul 26, 2023, 2:46pm EDT
politics

Ron DeSantis drops a prominent ‘wartime conservative’ from the campaign

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The News

Will Chamberlain, a prominent conservative figure who co-published Human Events, was among the 38 staffers let go by the DeSantis camp in recent weeks.

In a text message, Chamberlain said that he parted ways with the campaign on Tuesday. Nate Hochman, a fellow conservative commentator who had been working as a DeSantis speechwriter, left the campaign the same day amid questions about his ties to a pro-DeSantis video that featured fascist imagery.

Both departures are ostensibly part of what DeSantis campaign manager Generra Peck called an effort to “streamline operations,” shrinking what had been the largest payroll in the 2024 GOP primary.

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David’s view

Chamberlain joined the DeSantis campaign last month, and didn’t face the same media scrutiny as Hochman. But like Hochman, he’s been an influential voice in the Trump-era populist right, and part of the conversation about which candidate — Trump or DeSantis — is better positioned to use executive power to battle the left.

In March 2019, Chamberlain bought Human Events, a once-influential conservative magazine that had struggled for relevance online. As publisher and editor, he pushed it in a populist, pro-Trump direction, adding influencer Jack Posobiec as a podcaster and senior editor. Chamberlain laid out his own principles in a May 2019 essay for the magazine, on what he called the “wartime conservatism” necessary to reverse the movement’s defeats.

“Peacetime conservatives complain that their colleagues have abandoned their principles. Wartime conservatives refuse to adhere to self-defeating principles,” Chamberlain wrote. “Peacetime conservatives worry about setting precedents that Democrats could exploit in the future. Wartime conservatives recognize that Democrats do unprecedented things all the time.”

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Chamberlain left Human Events in 2021, working with the conservative Article 3 Project and the Internet Accountability Project, where he advocated for reforming the Communications Decency Act to take away Big Tech’s “power to censor certain speakers using arbitrarily applied and unexplained community standards.”

In a speech last year at the National Conservatism Conference, Chamberlain updated his advice on “wartime conservatism,” saying that the next Republican president — be it Trump or DeSantis — needed to act quickly to fire federal employees and staffers in “independent” agencies.

“President Trump didn’t have control of the federal government,” he said, “and if we actually want to do anything, we have to bring the bureaucracy to heel.” The goal of internet reform, he added, should be to “get tech and the social media space back to where it was in 2016, when President Trump used it to win.”

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