When Donald Trump hired Steve Bannon, former editor at Breitbart, to manage his campaign, a term entered the mainstream: alt-right. But who are the alt-right? What do they believe, what sorts of things to they want for the country, and why do they matter? And why do they love Donald Trump?
The alt-right came into being after the death of William F. Buckley in 2008. Buckley was considered an intellectual conservative, and his publication, the National Review, frequently told conservatives what views, and people, were acceptable in the party. When he died, and when, five years earlier, Pat Buchanan was fired from National Review, a hole emerged in far right media. Along came Andrew Breitbart to fill that hole. CBS has a primer on the alt-right, Breitbart, and Bannon, which you can read here.
Then Andrew Breitbart died, and Steve Bannon became editor-in-chief of Breitbart. Bannon is a very, very conservative dude, who has spent the past year mainstreaming the alt-right movement. And while it is unlikely many Trump supporters have heard of the alt-right, they most definitely espouse alt-right views.
According to Breitbart (the website), in an article co-written by alt-right poster boy Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right is a group of like-minded intellectuals, who are tired of politics as usual. Milo references numerous individuals in his article, including Richard Spencer, founder of AlternativeRight dot com. Spencer is a white nationalist, pure and simple, who believes some fairly awful things about race. From the ADL:
In addition to Alternative Right (which he no longer edits but still writes for), Spencer runs the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white supremacist think tank; publishes Radix, a journal that promotes white culture and identity, and heads Washington Summit Publishers, a company that sells books by leading intellectual white supremacists such as Jared Taylor of American Renaissance and the late Sam Francis.
Through all of these ventures, Spencer has become a leader in white supremacist circles that envision a “new” right that will openly embrace “white racial consciousness.” Although Spencer began his career The American Conservative, he has since rejected conservatism. He believes that conservatives can’t or won’t represent explicitly white interests.
Spencer has been an influence on a younger generation of college-age racists. In 2010 and 2011, leaders of the now defunct racist student group, Youth for Western Civilization, invited Spencer to speak at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and Providence College in Rhode Island. In both speeches to students at the schools, Spencer attacked affirmative action.
In other instances, Spencer has rejected the idea of appealing to mainstream audiences. In a 2011 interview on the website of Wermod and Wermod, a British-based publishing company that also sells white supremacist books, Spencer said, “Trying to ‘work within the system,’ or appeal to European-Americans using the language of FOX News and the GOP, is a bootless—not to mention a tasteless—strategy.”
Instead, at the April 2013 American Renaissance conference, Spencer called for the creation of a “white ethno-state on the North American continent.”
Groups like VDARE and American Renaissance are highlighted by Milo in his Breitbart piece as a “gathering point for an eclectic mix of renegades who objected to the established political consensus in some form or another.” He adds that these sites have been called racist, as if that label is somehow wrong or unwarranted.
Okay, let’s take a look at VDARE and American Renaissance. First, VDARE. The Southern Poverty Law Center has dozens of entries, backed by decades of research, on VDARE. VDARE was founded by Peter Brimelow, an English immigrant who is a proud racist. If Yiannopoulos was able to, at the very least, insinuate that VDARE is not a racist organization without laughing, I’m impressed. Read these quotes, then convince me VDARE is just a place for eclectic renegades:
America was defined — almost explicitly, sometimes very explicitly — as a white nation, for white people, and what that means is that there is virtually no figure, no law, no policy, no event in the history of the old, white America that can survive the transition to the new and non-white version. Whether we will want to call the new updated version ‘America’ at all is another question entirely.
— Sam Francis, VDARE.com, July 21, 2003
Jewish activity collectively, throughout history, is best understood as an elaborate and highly successful group competitive strategy directed against neighboring peoples and host societies. The objective has been control of economic resources and political power. One example: overwhelming Jewish support for non-traditional immigration, which has the effect of weakening America’s historic white majority.
— Kevin MacDonald, VDARE.com, Nov. 14, 2006
What race realists find most infuriating about the liberalism of the last half century is not just that it has lost its instinctive appreciation for the culture and people of the West but actively, viciously attacks them. Whites are doing something no other people have ever done in human history. Our rulers and elites welcome replacement by aliens, they vilify our ancestors and their own, they sacrifice our interests to those of favored minorities, and they treat the entire history of the West as if it were a global plague of rapine and exploitation. This is a disease that is killing us, and we must fight it head on.
— Jared Taylor, VDARE.com, July 4, 2008
Oh, there’s Jared Taylor. You may recognize his name; Taylor is another white nationalist, and the founder of American Renaissance, the second “gathering point” in Milo’s article. Here a few quotes from Jared Taylor:
Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.
— American Renaissance, 2005
Our rulers and media executives will try to turn the story of Hurricane Katrina into yet another morality tale of downtrodden blacks and heartless whites… . [But m]any whites will realize — some for the first time — that we have Africa in our midst, that utterly alien Africa of road-side corpses, cruelty, and anarchy that they thought could never wash up on our shores.
— American Renaissance, 2005
Jared Taylor wound up in the spotlight after the massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina last year. As the spokesperson for the Council of Conservative Citizens, the white nationalist group featured in the shooter’s manifesto, Taylor had to try and spin the CCC as something other than what it is, and he failed miserably. In a statement Taylor posted to the CCC’s website, he wrote:
The C of CC unequivocally condemns Roof’s murderous actions.
However, the council stands unshakably behind the facts on its website, and points out the dangers of denying the extent of black-on-white crime.
Every year, there are about 500,000 violent, interracial crimes. Of these, about 85 percent are committed by blacks against whites.
Every year, there are some 20,000 rapes of white women by blacks, but rapes by white men of black women are so unusual, they scarcely appear in crime statistics.
If these figures were reversed—if there were wide-spread white-on-black rape and violence—it would be constant national news. Instead, the true nature of interracial violence is ignored.
This is dangerous. Our society’s silence about these crimes—despite enormous amounts of attention to “racially tinged” acts by whites—only increase the anger of people like Dylann Roof. This double standard *only makes acts of murderous frustration more likely*.
In his manifesto, Roof outlines other grievances felt by many whites. Again, we utterly condemn Roof’s despicable killings, but they do not detract in the slightest from the legitimacy of some of the positions he has expressed. *Ignoring legitimate grievances is dangerous*. (source)
This is the alt-right. White, conservative, predominantly male, angry at people of color, angry about integration, determined to create their own all white country. This is why Donald Trump chose Steve Bannon to lead his campaign. Trump isn’t using a dog whistle to attract racists anymore, he’s using a bullhorn, and Bannon does not use subtlety to get the alt-right message across, he uses a bat.
Donald Trump does not want to be President of the United States. He wants to be president of the alt-right’s fantasy country, Whiteistan™. That’s the “great America” Trump will try to create if he is elected. Trump is the candidate of choice for the alt-right, white nationalists and white supremacists, xenophobics, misogynists, pro-war, pro-torture, anti-choicers, sovereign citizens (luckily, they usually don’t vote), and people who think they’re disenfranchised because we elected a black president.
Or, as Milo calls them, eclectic renegades.