‘alt-right’ goes mainstream


It is interesting how catchwords suddenly go mainstream. I had heard the word ‘alt-right’ on rare occasions before but it was just earlier this week that I noticed that NPR correspondents suddenly using the term repeatedly in describing the extreme right wing sphere. According to this article:

Alternative Right was the name of a website set up by “identitarian” Richard Spencer in 2010. The term has been embraced by those opposed to immigration, multiculturalism and globalism.

But while that may have been its genesis, currently that term is an umbrella one that covers all those in the right wing sphere who see traditional conservatives and Republicans as too squishy and ‘politically correct’ and lacking true zeal in pursuing the extreme conservative agenda.

Hillary Clinton really mainstreamed the word when she used it in her speech yesterday saying that Trump had embraced the alt-right philosophy and that the hiring of Steve Bannon from Bretbart as the Trump campaign CEO was evidence of that. That was followed by Trump responding by first saying that he did not know what alt-right meant and then that the policies he was pursuing were not alt-right or alt-left but were just common sense.

Meanwhile, Trump’s latest statements on immigration, where he suggested a softening of his stance on throwing all undocumented people out of the country immediately, has aroused considerable ire among his alt-right supporters.

In his interviews, Trump seems to be making up policies on the fly in response to questions. It is becoming clear that he can vacillate on almost everything and retain alt-right support but the one thing they will not tolerate is his backtracking on immigration issues such as the wall and deportations and bans on Muslims entering the country.

Xenophobia is what clearly drives the alt-right sphere.

Comments

  1. Johnny Vector says

    Marcus: Plus it’s a little easier to spot on their foreheads than dangling from the differential of their trucks.

  2. Chiroptera says

    Siobahn, #1:

    Heh.

    One thing I notice is that so many people claim “common sense” without seeming to realize that the scientific method was invented because “common sense” is actually a pretty terrible way to reach conclusions about most things.

  3. lanir says

    I think I agree with someone I saw who’s been confronting these guys for a long time. Don’t give them the respectable sounding name they want. Call them what they are. If you want a name for the movement I humbly suggest RAFAXT (Racist Assholes For A Xenophobic Tomorrow). It technically includes some mild cussing but honestly… this is one of those times when it’s simply descriptive.

  4. agender says

    @ 1and 4, Siobhan and Chiroptera: “common” as in “commoner” – the thinking of the common man(!) as opposed to nobility and clergy.

  5. KG says

    Hillary Clinton really mainstreamed the word when she used it in her speech yesterday saying that Trump had embraced the alt-right philosophy and that the hiring of Steve Bannon from Bretbart as the Trump campaign CEO was evidence of that.

    Worth noting that the factual basis for that is Bannon’s own boast that “We’re the platform for the alt-right,”, made to Sarah Posner of Motherjones. So Trump’s denial that he knows what the phrase means is either a bald lie (most likely), or evidence that neither he nor his team conducted the most elementary checks before hiring Bannon.

  6. lorn says

    “Hillary Clinton really mainstreamed the word when she used it in her speech yesterday saying that Trump had embraced the alt-right philosophy and that the hiring of Steve Bannon from Bretbart as the Trump campaign CEO was evidence of that.”

    It is being called “mainstreaming” but I picture it more as the lancing of a nasty boil. What comes out is ugly, messy, smelly, rancid and potentially contagious but out in the open people can see it for the malignant ideology it is. Perhaps I’m too much of an optimists but I’d like to think that the vast majority of Americans who get an eyeful of this will turn away in disgust.

    If a strong majority of Americans can look at the alt-right and still vote for Trump … perhaps we richly deserve all the degradation and suffering we will are going to get.

  7. KG says

    If a strong majority of Americans can look at the alt-right and still vote for Trump … perhaps we richly deserve all the degradation and suffering we will are going to get. – lorn@11

    Well there’d still be all those who didn’t vote for him – and all us benighted foreigners who don’t get a vote. But even the level of support Trump is getting in the polls, while indicating he’s likely to lose, also indicates a deep and alarming social pathology in the USA. Just as the Brexit vote does in the UK*, and the levels of support far-right parties and racist legal measures do in many European cultures.

    * By no means everyone who voted for Brexit was motivated by racism and xenophobia – but they could hardly have helped seeing their centrality in the Brexit campaign.

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