The Alt-Right is Modernizing White Supremacy — and Trump is Helping

Donald Trump’s victory in this week’s presidential elections was celebrated by a new generation of white nationalists. In the days after Trump’s win, this cohort — mostly young and male — consider what comes next for their movement and dream of building their own “white ethno-state.”

The so-called “alternative right” is a diverse movement, ranging from openly racist Twitter trolls to more genteel writers who recast white supremacy as a movement of pro-white “identity politics.”

Across the spectrum, alt-righters celebrated Trump’s win — and wondered what will come next for their newly-emboldened movement.

“Mr. Trump has won, and that is glorious and historic but make no mistake: The fight is far from over,” Chris Roberts wrote at the major “alt-right” site American Renaissance. “If Mr. Trump does begin deportations of illegal immigrants, liberal states and cities may try to resist, with possible standoffs between ICE agents and local police.”

Roberts then advises: “White advocates, do not rest in your laurels… now the fight begins.”

Elsewhere, others worried that Trump would become too conciliatory as he takes office.

Pat Buchanan, writing in the website Vdare, wrote that Trump should be “gracious toward those whom he defeated,” but his first duty is to “keep faith with those who put their faith in him.”

Others considered how best their white nationalist movement could take advantage of this political moment.

“Lots of good developments are on the way,” on blogger wrote on the website Occidental Dissent. “Now that Trump has destroyed both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, the time is ripe to reemerge on the political stage in the South.”

“We have so much work to do,” the writer went on. “There are so many opportunities to exploit. Are we capable of taking advantage of the situation though?”

Richard Spencer, the most popular spokesperson of the “alt-right,” offered his thoughts about what comes next — framing his vision of white nationalism in the context of pro-white “identity politics,” speaking in language that might be familiar to any college student today.

At Radix, Spencer wrote: “Trump’s victory was, at its root, a victory of identity politics. And it was a campaign that ultimately dispensed with ‘conservatism’ as we knew it.”

Spencer elaborated on his vision for what comes next in an interview with the site Reveal. He wants to see the creation of a “white ethno-state” and sees Trump’s election as a “first step towards” this goal.

“What the ethno-state is, is an ideal… it would be a homeland for all white people,” Spencer said.

Spencer calls this ethno-state a “safe space” for whites — people of various “European ethnicities” — that would be their own.

Grace Elizabeth Hale, author of “Making Whiteness,” calls Spencer’s choice of words and the alt-right more broadly a “modernizing and repackaging” of older forms of white supremacy.

The alt-right is making white supremacy “acceptable in the present,” Hale said in an interview with the Forward. “They’re modernizing it, changing it, saving it. It couldn’t necessarily survive if they didn’t adapt it.”

Email Sam Kestenbaum at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum

Author

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum is a staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.

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The Alt-Right is Modernizing White Supremacy — and Trump is Helping

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