The following post was published in September 2016 but it was very prescient of recent events in August 2017, almost a year, later. But it is also a reminder that the GOP and the vast majority of Evangelicals were fully cognizant of who they were propping up to become the next US president.
After the weekend of August 12, 2017, the republican President Donald Trump has buoyed the white nationalist movement as no president has done in generations when he equated activists protesting racism with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged in Charlottesville, Va. These events have forced those who voted for him to come to terms with the facts, that they supported a man who condones racism and that the USA is not a post-racist country.
Incidentally, in the article, the name of Richard Spencer is mentioned. His buddy, Stephen Miller is a senior adviser to our US president. Steve Bannon who is also mentioned, has been serving as the president’s chief strategist.
Here’s the rest of the story…
On September 17, 2016, The Economist published the following report, “Trump and the Alt-RightPepe and the stormtroopers.”
How Donald Trump ushered a hateful fringe movement into the mainstream
“First, an apology, or rather a regret: The Economist would prefer not to advertise the rantings of racists and cranks. Unfortunately, and somewhat astonishingly, the Alt-Right—the misleading name for a ragtag but consistently repulsive movement that hitherto has flourished only on the internet—has insinuated itself, unignorably, into American politics. That grim achievement points to the reverse sway now held by the margins, of both ideology and the media, over the mainstream. It also reflects the indiscriminate cynicism of Donald Trump’s campaign.”
“Much of the Alt-Right’s output will seem indecipherably weird to those unfamiliar with the darker penumbras of popular culture. It has its own iconography and vernacular, derived from message boards, video games and pornography. Its signature insult is “cuckservative”, directed at Republicans supposedly emasculated by liberalism and money. Its favorite avatar is Pepe the frog, a cartoon-strip creature co-opted into offensive scenarios; one Pepe image was reposted this week by Donald Trump junior and Roger Stone, a leading Trumpista, the latest example of the candidate’s supporters, and the man himself, circulating the Alt-Right’s (White supremacists) memes and hoax statistics. Its contribution to typography is the triple parentheses, placed around names to identify them as Jewish.”
“To most Americans, the purposes to which these gimmicks are put will seem as outlandish as the lexicon. One of the Alt-Right’s pastimes is to intimidate adversaries with photoshopped pictures of concentration camps; a popular Alt-Right podcast is called “The Daily Shoah”. To their defenders, such outrages are either justified by their shock value or valiantly transgressive pranks. Jokes about ovens, lampshades and gas chambers: what larks!”
“Jared Taylor of American Renaissance, an extremist website, dismisses these antics as “youthful rebellion”. (Mr Taylor is involved with the Council of Conservative Citizens, which Dylann Roof cited as an inspiration for his racist massacre in Charleston last year.) But the substance behind the sulphur can seem difficult to pin down. The term Alt-Right, reputedly coined in 2008 by Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute, a bogus think-tank, encompasses views from libertarianism to paleoconservatism and onwards to the edges of pseudo-intellectual claptrap and the English language. Many Alt-Righters demonise Jews, but a few do not. Some, such as Brad Griffin of Occidental Dissent, another website, think “democracy can become a tool of oppression”, and that monarchy or dictatorship might be better; others, such as Mr Taylor, disagree. Some are techno-futurists; others espouse a kind of agrarian nostalgia. Many mourn the Confederacy. Mr Griffin thinks that, even today, North and South should separate.”
“Yet from the quack ideologues to the out-and-proud neo-Nazis, some Alt-Right tenets are clear and constant. It repudiates feminism with misogynistic gusto. It embraces isolationism and protectionism. Above all, it champions white nationalism, or a neo-segregationist “race realism”, giving apocalyptic warning of an impending “white genocide”. Which, of course, is really just old-fashioned white supremacism in skimpy camouflage.”
“That is why the term Alt (short for “alternative”) Right is misleading. Mr Taylor—whom Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, a watchdog, describes as the movement’s “intellectual leader”—says it represents an alternative to “egalitarian orthodoxy and to neutered ‘conservatives’.” That characterization elevates a racist fixation into a coherent platform. And, if the Alt-Right is not a viable political right, nor, in the scope of American history, is it really an alternative. Rather it is the latest iteration in an old, poisonous strain of American thought, albeit with new enemies, such as Muslims, enlisted alongside the old ones. “Fifty years ago these people were burning crosses,” says Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League, a venerable anti-racist group. “Today they’re burning up Twitter.”
“Probably the best that can be said for the Alt-Right is that its mostly youngish adherents are naive: unaware that 21st-century America is not the worst society the world has ever conjured, and so prime exemplars of the pampered modernity they denounce. Their numbers are hard to gauge, since they mostly operate online and, as with most internet bullies, anonymously: like dissidents in the Soviet Union they must, Mr Taylor insists, for fear of punishment. As with pornographers, though, the web has let them forge like-minded communities and propagate their ideas, as well as harass critics and opponents (particularly those thought to be Jewish). Online, they have achieved sufficient density to warrant wider attention. There, too, they and Mr Trump found each other.”
“The association precedes Mr Trump’s hiring as his campaign manager of Stephen Bannon, former boss of Breitbart News, a reactionary news website that Mr Bannon reportedly described as “the platform for the Alt-Right”, and which has covered the movement favorably. Already Mr Trump had echoed the Alt-Right’s views on Muslims, immigration, trade and, indeed, Vladimir Putin, whom Alt-Righters ludicrously admire for his supposed pursuit of Russia’s national interest. Pressed about these shared prejudices (and tweets), Mr Trump has denied knowing what the Alt-Right is, even that it exists—unable, as usual, to disavow any support, however cretinous, or to apply a moral filter to his alliances or tactics.”
“This is not to say he created or leads it, much as Alt-Right activists lionise his strongman style. Mr Taylor says Mr Trump seems to have “nationalistic instincts that have led him to stumble onto an immigration policy that is congruent with Alt-Right ideas”, but that “we are supporting him, not the reverse.” Breitbart, Alt-Righters say, is merely Alt-Lite. The true relationship may be more a correlation than causal: Mr Trump’s rise and the Alt-Right were both cultivated by the kamikaze anti-elitism of the Tea Party, rampant conspiracy theories and demographic shifts that disconcert some white Americans.”
“Unquestionably, however, Mr Trump has bestowed on this excrescence a scarcely dreamed-of prominence. Because of Mr Trump, the Alt-Right thinks it is on the verge of entering American politics as an equal-terms participant. “He is a bulldozer who is destroying our traditional enemy,” says Mr Griffin.”