The resurgence of the alt-right movement came as a surprise to most people in the media and many in electoral politics leading up to the election of Donald Trump. The administration’s actions after the election were even more shocking.
Though the strength of the movement’s revitalization may have surprised some, the campaign has been lurking beneath the surface for decades. Once considered a disgruntled group of conspiracy theorists and nutjobs, the movement gained strength through fringe outlets like InfoWars and increasingly more mainstream media like Breitbart and Fox News.
But it was President Trump and advisors like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller who have created a whole new audience and subsequent recruiting ground for the movement now called the alt-right.
David Neiwert, an author, and journalist details the rise of this in his new book “Alt-Right: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.” Neiwert researched the prominent rise of the alt-right and its figureheads such as Milo Yianoppolous, Donald Trump, and even Richard Spencer. According to Neiwert
The alt-right really is a mix of old and new. It’s got all the elements of white nationalism and white supremacism and that sort of thing in it, as well as nativism and Ku Klux Klan neo-confederacy.
There are differences, however, between the old far-right movement which consists of the Fox News crowd, and the new far-right movement referred to as the alt-right. The old movement continues to work hard on inculcating their core supporters while the new movement is conducting outreach geared towards convincing young white men, typically 30 or younger, to join the movement through social media and targeted advertising. It appears to be working and working well.
Trump continues to normalize the views of the alt-right with his public acts and comments. Incidents ranging from Twitter tirades and verbal assaults against minorities to the racially charged inciteful “Pocahontas” incident in front of the Navajo nation all while having it conducted in front of a picture of Andrew Jackson; a President known for his penchant hatred towards Native Americans continue to add fuel.
None of this is normal. Nor should it be considered so. When radicalization becomes the norm, especially radicalized racists who will answer the call to violence, it is time America faced some hard questions about how to address this and how to reverse the trend.
The movement may not have started with Trump, but as their “emperor god” there is no doubt that he cannot remain in power if we are to return to normalcy anytime in the near future.