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.