What’s “Alt-Right” you now may ask? Better learn fast. Let’s start with an article.
Posting this article again in light of Donald Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon as cheif strategist and senior adviser. Brietbart executive, Alt-Right hero and their channel to Trump. In the White House, he’s a part of the US government, in prominent position IN the White House. It’s a move decried by groups that monitor hate groups, like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
The 2016 election is over. Donald J. Trump is the US President elect. Democratically elected to the highest office of the United States. So shall it be written, so shall it be done. The people have spoken. President Obama stated today that the non-supporters give Trump time and a chance.
However, what Mr. Obama did not address, he refused to comment when asked, was about Stephen Bannon’s role in the Trump administration. Stephen Bannon is a Brietbart executive and Alt-Right leader – both are ties to, made of, and for White Nationalists. Bannon has known ties with white nationalist groups, it’s not a secret because he’s not hidden it. Brietbart is a website of the far Right, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, conspiracy theories, etc. and a thorn in Republican party’s side because of Breitbart’s fierce attacks on Paul Ryan and other Republicans.
Bad messaging! Trump tells supporters to “Stop it now!” “Stop!” racist attacks and intimidation. But gives Stephen Bannon a key post in his administration.
I was sitting back and giving Trump a chance. He won. I was hoping he’d be like another Reagan (who would not be a prominent member of today’s Republican party, which they’d never admit). Hoping he will surprise us, prove us wrong in some monumental way. Not a good start. Or an overreaction on our part?
– From my Facebook post today.
THE ALT-RIGHT HAILS ITS VICTORIOUS GOD-EMPEROR
By Andrew Marantz , NOVEMBER 12, 2016. The New Yorker Magazine.
Trump connected with people for whom racism is realism, misogyny is locker-room talk, and viciousness is the new normal. PHOTOGRAPH BY EVAN VUCCI / AP
I spent much of this fall listening, both online and in person, to the connoisseurs of ugliness who call themselves the alt-right. This is such a new category that no two people agree on precisely what it means or how many people fall within it. Some on the alt-right are committed white nationalists; others are committed neo-monarchists who refer to Donald Trump, buoyantly, as their “god-emperor”; others are chaos agents who are committed to nothing at all. One could argue that, together, these people’s social-media activism made it possible—made it conceivable—for Trump to be elected. On Wednesday, Charles Johnson, an alt-right troll who calls himself a journalist, was sitting on a Brooklyn-bound F train wearing a Make America Great Again hat. “You support a man who is racist, sexist, and homophobic,” a man standing next to him said, accurately. “We won—fuck off,” Johnson said, also accurately.
The alt-right is united less by ideology than by sensibility; a hallmark of that sensibility is a careful attunement to social norms, and a perverse delight in desecrating them. This is easy to do on the Internet, where anyone can say anything. Mike Cernovich, whom I profiled last month, became a prominent vessel of pro-Trump populism by saying unconscionable things on Twitter. “This election was a contest between P.C. culture and free-speech culture,” he told me the day after Trump’s victory. “Most people know what it’s like for some smug, élite asshole to tell them, ‘You can’t say that, it’s racist, it’s bad.’ Well, a vote for Trump meant, ‘Fuck you, you don’t get to tell me what to say.’ ” Cernovich, who grew up working-class in rural Illinois, visited his home town in February. He said, “My parents voted for Obama, but they told me, ‘If it’s Trump versus Hillary, we’ll go with him. He gets us. He talks like us.’ Since then, I never doubted that he’d be President.”
One of the political-science clichés that hasn’t been rendered obsolete by this election is that of the Overton window. In 1994, Joseph Overton, a think-tank analyst, described the epistemic range of public debate: ideas that fall within the window are acceptable; those outside it are unthinkable. The range of acceptable ideas does not always bend toward justice, but it does change over time. The alt-right rages against political correctness in the name of the First Amendment, but this is a canard. No alt-right dissident has been jailed for thought crimes. One of the innumerable ironies of this campaign was that the only credible threats to the free press—“If I become President, oh, do they have problems”—were uttered by Trump himself.
In August of last year, Ann Coulter, a forerunner of the alt-right who once seemed like a punchline and now seems like a prophet, introduced Trump at a rally in Iowa. Coulter’s position on immigration—white nationalism, essentially—was then outside the Overton window, and Trump was the only candidate who embraced it. “The Republican Party’s typical position is to preëmptively surrender whenever liberals start yelling, ‘Ooh, that’s mean, you can’t use that word,’ ” she told the crowd. “Well, they found something new with Donald Trump.” She denounced élites as “speech Nazis,” for which she received a round of applause. Then she added a sentiment that everyone could agree with. “Since Donald Trump has announced that he’s running for President, I feel like I’m dreaming,” she said. “I can’t believe I turn on the TV, and on prime-time TV every night they’re talking about anchor babies, they’re talking about sanctuary cities, they’re talking about Mexican rapists.” Someone in the audience shouted, “Build the wall!” For much of the general election, the polls suggested that Iowa would go to Hillary Clinton. Trump won the state by ten points.
The morning after the election, an influential alt-right blogger who goes by Vox Day wrote, “Donald Trump has a lot to do . . . It is the Alt-Right’s job to move the Overton Window and give him conceptual room to work.” Day and his peers have been doing this job for months. They have flooded the Internet with offensive images and words—cartoon frogs emblazoned with swastikas, theories of racial hierarchy—and then ridiculed anyone who had the temerity to be offended. “Racism and sexism are a) human beliefs, and, b) as legitimately held as any other belief,” Day told me in a recent e-mail. No picture is shocking. No idea is bad. Who gets to define bad, anyway? “Remember that rhetoric is the art of emotional manipulation,” Day added. Last week, on his blog, Day wrote, “There is no more Republican vs. Democrat. It is now whites vs. non-whites and white quislings.”
Trump connected to the segment of the population that was prepared to believe that racism was realism, misogyny was locker-room talk, inconvenient facts were media myths, and viciousness was the new normal. Just as surely as he has redrawn the electoral map, he has radically altered the Overton window. No Presidential candidate before him had ever mocked a disabled reporter, or bragged about his penis size during a debate. What kept every other candidate before him from stooping to these tactics, presumably, was deference to social norms. But norms can be swept aside.
On Election Day, I stood outside a small Methodist church in Greensboro, North Carolina, that was serving as a polling place. Standing next to me, passing out flyers promoting a candidate for district-court judge, was a man named Larry, an African-American in his sixties. He made amiable small talk with everyone who passed, including people wearing pro-Trump T-shirts. “I know I don’t want that crazy man to be President, but I don’t have hate in my heart for anybody,” he said. Just before nightfall, a white man with a gray beard left the polls. On his way to the parking lot, he stopped in front of Larry and delivered an unsolicited monologue about why he had just cast his vote for Trump. “Bill Clinton has an illegitimate mulatto child—you know that, don’t you?” the man said. “That’s fine; I’m O.K. with mixed people, but I’m just saying—why doesn’t he talk about it?” The man mentioned George Wallace, and segregation, and the myriad pathologies he ascribed to “the inner city.” Larry looked at the pavement and didn’t say much. Eventually, the man got in his car and drove away. When he was gone, Larry said, “I’ve seen a lot in this state. I’ve known people whose kin got lynched. In the last twenty years, or thirty, you didn’t hear people saying the things that man said. These days, suddenly, they feel like they’re allowed to say it.”
Andrew Marantz is on the editorial staff of The New Yorker.