In light of white nationalist Richard Spencer holding a meeting in Washington on Saturday to celebrate Trump’s victory, the media has been talking a lot about the alt-right. I could not believe that mainstream media like CNN were giving them so much attention, but perhaps they see it as a way of undermining Trump through guilt by association.
I was sad that such a major white nationalist meeting could have occurred in Washington in 2016, but as a serious amateur journalist, I knew it was my responsibility to cover it, so I listened to the event on youtube as I lay down on the pillow to sleep.
I had previously written a blog post fearing Richard Spencer could one day run for President, and perhaps with the election of Trump, he now feels emboldened to play a larger role in public life. Spencer is very articulate and polished in interviews, but aside from a few terrifying applause lines (referring to the mainstream media as the Lügenpresse and yelling “hail Trump” ) his speech dragged on a bit.
The big star of this disturbing event was Kevin MacDonald who some describe as the intellectual Godfather of the alt-right.
In a very provocative speech, MacDonald expressed hope that Trump could be a hero to his white people, but fears that Trump’s administration is being hijacked by Zionists that will pursue Israel’s interests at the expense of America’s and worried that pro-Israel elites have brainwashed too many Christians into becoming Christian Zionists.
It’s a bit of misnomer to call these people the “alt-right”. They’re certainly far right on cultural issues , but on foreign policy they’re just incredibly anti-neocon. Spencer for example is a huge critic of the Iraq war, opposes support for Israel, and even supports the Iran nuclear deal, though all of this takes a back-seat to being anti-immigration, which is their number one issue.
And although some of the rhetoric at the event sounded disturbingly anti-Semitic to me, I felt so much better when I learned that some Jews were there, such as twitter star “the reactionary Jew”. Although the alt-right has criticised Jews for pushing immigration on Western countries while supporting extreme nationalism in Israel, the reactionary Jew feels that all peoples have the right to be as nationalist as Israel is.
The real takeaway from all this is that Trump is the first internet President. For all the talk that Obama used social media to get elected, his 2008 victory was really the result of support from traditional media (Oprah in the Democratic primary, the cable pundits and print media in the general election).
By contrast, Trump was incredibly opposed by the traditional media in the general election, but the power of his internet support completely overwhelmed them.
We are living in scary times.
Such scary times that Peter Beinart has a provocative article in The Atlantic arguing that Trump’s presidency is so dangerous, the electors should use their constitutional power to overturn it.