During a December 2021 Twitter Spaces conversation with white nationalist Nick Fuentes, Nate Hochman suggested that Fuentes might be a good influence on young conservatives, but that Fuentes’ outright bigotry would limit his political potential.
“I think Nick’s probably a better influence than Ben Shapiro on young men who might otherwise be conservative. I think that the fact that kids are listening to you, there’s good things and bad things about it,” Hochman said in comments first reported by the Dispatch.
“But the fact that you have said super edgy things means that there’s a pretty strong ceiling to what you can actually accomplish in politics. Is that something that you’re actually thinking about? Like the fact that your career now is basically broadcasting from your basement. You can’t get on an airplane. You’re definitely never gonna be accepted in actual politics. You’ve created a pretty big ceiling for yourself. There’s not really anything you can do about it at this point.”
This week, Hochman was fired from Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign after retweeting a video that superimposed a Nazi symbol over DeSantis’ face. A person familiar with the incident told Axios that Hochman had made the video himself.
Hochman’s traffic in Nazi memes defied his 2021 advice to Fuentes: that explicit neo-Naziism is mostly regarded as a bad career move in the GOP. But Hochman didn’t tell Fuentes that his views were bigoted—only that they were strategically inadvisable. In that, Hochman echoed other terminally online Gen Z conservatives, who counsel each other to disguise their prejudices with plausibly deniable dog whistles.
And Hochman was right. Despite his chummy conversation with Fuentes (an antisemite who has fantasized about marrying a child), Hochman was still able to hold a position on DeSantis’ campaign until he literally Photoshopped a Sonnenrad onto the Florida governor’s face.
During their Twitter conversation, Fuentes envisioned a political program that prioritized white Americans’ interests. Hochman argued that it wasn’t a winning strategy although “maybe it would be ideal if it were.”
“If you are going to insist on a political coalition that is strictly organized around white identity at the exclusion of other people that might be allies in the electoral vote, you are going to lose because that kind of politics is no longer viable in America,” Hochman said.
“Maybe it would be ideal if it were, but if you are running a political campaign, a political strategy around activating white identity as an organizing principle of your politics you are going to lose. I respect some of what you’re doing, but this, fundamentally, is why I was saying earlier, I don’t think you’re a serious political operator because the kind of politics that you are advocating is disconnected from the reality of what America is in 2021. It’s just not gonna work.”
Hochman (who did not return The Daily Beast’s requests for comment) later told the Dispatch that he found Fuentes’ views immoral. “In an attempt to get him to engage–to signal that I wasn’t out to ‘get him,’ so that I could actually get him to talk to me—I said some really stupid things, which I don’t actually believe, that signaled agreement with Fuentes, even though I couldn’t disagree more with his vision of the world,” Hochman said.
But Hochman appeared to make overtures to Fuentes’ vision of the world with his video, which featured a Sonnenrad (a Nazi symbol) over DeSantis’ face. The video was uploaded through a “Ron DeSantis Fancams” Twitter account, which featured Nazi and fascist Italian footage in other videos set to upbeat music. Other DeSantis campaign accounts also shared videos from the account.
Hochman didn’t go to great lengths to hide his affiliation with the Mussolini-hyping Twitter account. He repeatedly retweeted its videos and even before Axios named Hochman as the video’s creator, social media users speculated that he was behind the clips, due to the videos’ EDM soundtracks. (Hochman was a longtime poster on a forum about dubstep, where he shared his own efforts at making electronic music, as well as his accounts of taking drugs and masturbating on an airplane.)
With one foot in respectable politics and another in 4chan, Hochman is the latest prominent Gen Z conservative to reveal far-right tendencies beyond those openly espoused by the mainstream GOP.
Fuentes, 24, has emerged as a figurehead for a small but influential cohort of white nationalists under 30. A Breitbart report on prominent young pro-DeSantis influencer Pedro Gonzalez revealed him to have sent racist and antisemitic texts. On Tuesday, Media Matters reported that current Fox News staffer (and recent writer for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott) Matteo Cina posted repeated antisemitic comments on TikTok, writing that “it is hard to talk about the Holocaust and rising anti semitism without discussing Jewish presence in banking.” On LinkedIn, Cina lists himself as a 2018 college graduate.
And a Wednesday report by the Daily Dot revealed New York Young Republican Club president Gavin Wax and Michigan 11th District Republican Committee chairman Shane Trejo participated in a racist group chat in which members traded antisemitic remarks and Holocaust jokes. (Wax and Trejo are not Gen Z exactly, but youngish millennials.)
The DeSantis campaign has not commented on the video Hochman shared, only confirming that “Nate Hochman is no longer with the campaign.”