Not too long ago, conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos was sent home with his tail between his legs. Many predicted the end of his short but storied career. Only a few months later, Milo seems to be back in the thick of things, touring college campuses with the same rebellious spirit that got him run out of so many liberal towns.
What happened, and how did he make his comeback? Should we really call it a comeback, and what do conservatives need to do in order to ensure a powerful, new, controversial voice like Milo’s remains in the spotlight, as it should be?
Milo’s career “ended” when he lost his core employment at Breitbart. The onus of his firing was great marketing by his liberal enemies — he was brought to task for an out of context comment that he had offered as an aside in an unimportant interview years earlier. Although he had built a successful career as a speaker outside of Breitbart, the public shock was enough to embarrass Milo into laying low for a few months. He did not appear on the public circuit for quite some time. A lucrative book deal that he had signed with a major publisher was also cancelled in a very public manner.
Because Milo had largely built his audience online, the internet was merciless in its criticism of him during this time. There was no getting away from Milo memes from the so-called “SJWs” who made it their mission to trip up Milo and other prominent conservatives at every turn. The volume was immense. There was simply no way around it — Milo had to sit down for a second to let the heat die down.
Liberals heralded the end of Milo’s career and slowly turned their attention to other things.
The short attention span of the liberal Internet proved to be its undoing in terms of seeing Milo’s career truly ended. Milo began slowly regrouping, determining where his true core audience was, and finding ways to communicate with them outside of the ire of the mainstream Internet. Soon, the high turnover of the news cycle started doing Milo’s work for him. Because he was no longer at the top of the heap, his small victories were no longer worth mentioning. They went unnoticed and allowed him to begin gathering his audience again.
We now see the results of a little patience and a great deal of skill in knowing the media. Milo is fully regrouped, with all of the influence that he had with young conservatives restored. Within his core audience, his influence may have even increased. He is seen as the potential martyr who somehow won his victory over the mainstream, liberal Internet through sheer force of will. He did not give up, and they eventually had to.
However, Milo’s continued success rests squarely in the hands of the core college conservatives that Milo had been trying to reach all along. Colleges and universities are stereotypically known as safe havens for liberals, and with good reason. However, conservatism has been given a boost through the resurgence of Milo, and young conservatives are taking heart again.
Milo is definitely coming with the right message. He is toning town any of the rhetoric that could prove divisive between prominent sects of conservatives. He now understands the power of keeping irrelevant issues to himself for the greater good – seeing conservatism outpace liberalism within youth circles. He is still just as controversial within the shortlist of issues that he is touching on, however. You can definitely expect a great show if you go to see a Milo Yiannopoulos lecture.
The number one issue is making sure that young conservatives understand a hero when they see one. This is not the time to compete – this is the time to rebuild. Milo can serve as a communications linchpin between campuses and as a lightning rod for talking points that many groups can take up at once for a bigger reach.
The future is never assured. Milo’s career was derailed once at its apex. However, learning from past mistakes is the best way to make sure that the same thing does not happen twice. For the sake of conservatism, let’s all make sure that it doesn’t.
~ Liberty Planet