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A Debater’s Guide: The ALT-Right, Richard Spencer, The National Policy Institute, Steve Bannon, Breitbart, and the future of the Trump Administration

November 24, 2016
Published in Newsletter

Introduction

You likely heard of the entities and individuals in the subject of this post possibly before the election but certainly after the election.

In this post, I want to provide as much clarification as possible regarding these individuals and groups, what they mean for modern day politics, including the politics disadvantages, and care that you will need to take when conducting research.

I do have considerably strong opinions regarding each of these matters but I will try to make the post as objective as possible, as I think there are dangers of flippantly identifying certain individuals and institutions into certain categories if they do not fit into those categories. Debaters are quick to identify individuals as “racists” and “Nazis,” but at times I think that rhetoric, at least when not appropriate, can be damaging and have effects that are not intended.

The purpose of this essay is to help you gain an understanding of these issues, not to drive your decision-making about them.  I do offer some thoughts at the end but I also encourage you to reach your own conclusions.

What is the ALT-Right?

The ALT-Right or the “alternative right” is not something that is simple to define. One of its proponents defended it as an “amorphous movement.”

Generally, I think everyone agrees that they are conservatives who identify with many principles of conservatism but also support a more conservative take on social and cultural issues. Many argue that this “conservative take on social and cultural issues,” particularly it insistence on the need to protect white identity and interests is racist.

This description is from an article co-authored by Milo Yiannopolous, one of the more provocative and offensive members of the ALT-rightmovement (I’ll write more about him later) on Breitbart.com titled, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the ALT RIGHT

The origins of the alternative right can be found in thinkers as diverse as Oswald Spengler, H.L Mencken, Julius Evola, Sam Francis, and the paleoconservative movement that rallied around the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan. The French New Right also serve as a source of inspiration for many leaders of the alt-right.

..

Alongside other nodes like Steve Sailer’s blog, VDARE and American Renaissance, AlternativeRight.com became a gathering point for an eclectic mix of renegades who objected to the established political consensus in some form or another. All of these websites have been accused of racism.

.. The so-called online “manosphere,” the nemeses of left-wing feminism, quickly became one of the alt-right’s most distinctive constituencies. Gay masculinist author Jack Donovan, who edited AlternativeRight’s gender articles, was an early advocate for incorporating masculinist principles in the alt-right. His book, The Way Of Men, contains many a wistful quote about the loss of manliness that accompanies modern, globalized societies.

It’s tragic to think that heroic man’s great destiny is to become economic man, that men will be reduced to craven creatures who crawl across the globe competing for money, who spend their nights dreaming up new ways to swindle each other. That’s the path we’re on now.

Steve Sailer, meanwhile, helped spark the “human biodiversity” movement, a group of bloggers and researchers who strode eagerly into the minefield of scientific race differences — in a much less measured tone than former New York Times science editor Nicholas Wade.

Isolationists, pro-Russians and ex-Ron Paul supporters frustrated with continued neoconservative domination of the Republican party were also drawn to the alt-right, who are almost as likely as the anti-war left to object to overseas entanglements.

#NRx.

Neoreactionaries appeared quite by accident, growing from debates on LessWrong.com, a community blog set up by Silicon Valley machine intelligence researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky. The purpose of the blog was to explore ways to apply the latest research on cognitive science to overcome human bias, including bias in political thought and philosophy.

LessWrong urged its community members to think like machines rather than humans. Contributors were encouraged to strip away self-censorship, concern for one’s social standing, concern for other people’s feelings, and any other inhibitors to rational thought. It’s not hard to see how a group of heretical, piety-destroying thinkers emerged from this environment — nor how their rational approach might clash with the feelings-first mentality of much contemporary journalism and even academic writing.

Led by philosopher Nick Land and computer scientist Curtis Yarvin, this group began a gleeful demolition of the age-old biases of western political discourse. Liberalism, democracy and egalitarianism were all put under the microscope of the neoreactionaries, who found them wanting.

Liberal democracy, they argued, had no better a historical track record than monarchy, while egalitarianism flew in the face of every piece of research on hereditary intelligence. Asking people to see each other as human beings rather than members of a demographic in-group, meanwhile, ignored every piece of research on tribal psychology.

While they can certainly be accused of being overly-eager to bridge the gap between fact and value (the truth of tribal psychology doesn’t necessarily mean we should embrace or encourage it), these were the first shoots of a new conservative ideology — one that many were waiting for.

A similar description is offered by former Breitbart editor and anti-Trumper Ben Shapiro:

For folks who don’t know what the alt-right is, it might be worthwhile to just sort of start at the beginning and talk about what the alt-right is—because there are a lot of these various definitions floating around, nearly all of which are wrong.

Basically, the alt-right is a group of thinkers who believe that Western civilization is inseparable from European ethnicity—which is racist, obviously. It’s people who believe that if Western civilization were to take in too many people of different colors and different ethnicities and different religions, then that would necessarily involve the interior collapse of Western civilization. As you may notice, this has nothing to do with the Constitution. It has nothing to do with the Declaration of Independence. It has nothing to do actually with Western civilization. The whole principle of Western civilization is that anybody can involve himself or herself in civilized values. That’s not what the alt-right believes—at least its leading thinkers, people like Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor and Vox Day. Those kind of folks will openly acknowledge that this is their thought process. [Slate]

Shapiro goes on to say that the ALT-RIGHT is attempt to broaden the definition to include more people:

Yeah, they’re not good people, I think that’s fair to say. Those people have been given this new intellectual veneer by folks like Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo wrote this piece called “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right.” It was given heavy play over Breitbart, and that piece basically made the case that these are just intellectuals who have made common cause of folks like paleo-conservatives—Pat Buchanan and other folks of that ilk…..What the alt-right is trying to do, and what they’ve been trying to do now ever since Donald Trump came to prominence, is a couple of things. One is they’ve been broadening the definition of alt-right; I just wrote this piece for National Review for the print edition this week. They’ve been trying to broaden the definition of alt-right so they can suck people into believing they’re alt-right even though they don’t believe the central tenets of the alt-right. So they’ll say things like, “Well if you just don’t like Paul Ryan, that means you’re alt-right,” or “If you just like memes, that means that you’re alt-right,” or “If you think that the Republicans are too weak-kneed, that means you’re alt-right.” No, that doesn’t mean that you’re alt-right; it means that you’re not an establishment Republican. I’m not a big Paul Ryan fan, per se, but that doesn’t make me alt-right. I’m their No. 1 target, according to the Anti-Defamation League, this year. [Slate]

This is just a taste of the ALT-RIGHT I will walk you through that discussion to guide you to through some more thoughts but also give you the tools to draw your own conclusions.

I strongly encourage you to read more about the ALT-right and its relationship amongst the individuals and entities in this post, as there is way more interesting material written than I have the time to cover here.

I also strongly encourage you to think about the use of the term ALT-RIGHT/ALT-right/ALT-Right (it is spelled different ways but it refers to the same thing).  The Associated Press (AP) has just issued the following recommendations for its users when writing about the “ALT-RIGHT”

The “alt-right” or “alternative right” is a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States in addition to, or over, other traditional conservative positions such as limited government, low taxes and strict law-and-order.

The movement has been described as a mix of racism, white nationalism and populism.

Although many adherents backed President-elect Donald Trump in the recent election, Trump last week said he disavows and condemns the “alt-right.”

The movement criticizes “multiculturalism” and more rights for non-whites, women, Jews, Muslims, gays, immigrants and other minorities. Its members reject the American democratic ideal that all should have equality under the law regardless of creed, gender, ethnic origin or race.

Usage

“Alt-right” (quotation marks, hyphen and lower case) may be used in quotes or modified as in the “self-described” or “so-called alt-right” in stories discussing what the movement says about itself.

Avoid using the term generically and without definition, however, because it is not well known and the term may exist primarily as a public-relations device to make its supporters’ actual beliefs less clear and more acceptable to a broader audience. In the past we have called such beliefs racist, neo-Nazi or white supremacist.

Boilerplate

Again, whenever “alt-right” is used in a story, be sure to include a definition: “an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism,” or, more simply, “a white nationalist movement.”

Here is an example from the AP news report:

With an ideology that’s a mix of racism, white nationalism and old-fashioned populism, the “alt-right” has burst into the collective consciousness since members showed up at the Republican National Convention to celebrate Trump’s nomination last summer.

Be specific and call it straight

Finally, when writing on extreme groups, be precise and provide evidence to support the characterization.

We should not limit ourselves to letting such groups define themselves, and instead should report their actions, associations, history and positions to reveal their actual beliefs and philosophy, as well as how others see them.

Who is Richard Spencer?

Richard Spencer is individual who coined the term ALT-Right. In 2010, he founded alternativeright.com.

It is easy to find articles on the web that identify Spencer as a racist and a Neo-Nazi.

This past weekend (when you may have been debating at Westminster, the Glenbrooks, etc), Spencer organized a conference in the Reagan Building in Washington, DC for the National Policy Institute he runs.

“Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”

That’s how Richard B. Spencer saluted more than 200 attendees on Saturday, gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., for the annual conference of the National Policy Institute, which describes itself as “an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.”

“America was until this past generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Spencer said. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”

(The Atlantic, November 21, 2016)

Who is Steve Bannon?

Steve Bannon has been appointed “Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor” by President-elect Donald Trump and he was appointed this the same say that Reince Preibus, former Chair of the Republican National Committee was appointed Chief of Staff. There is some debate as to whether or not they have equal power, as Bannon was mentioned first in the appointment letter. Others argue that each represents the two groups that enabled Trump to win the election – the Right and the Alt Right.

Bannon took over Trump’s campaign in August, and claimed Trump would win Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. To the shock of most people, he won all of these.

Bannon is the former Chairman of Breitbart News, taking over for its founder upon his death. Breitbart News, particularly under Bannon’s leadership, “has been accused by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of antisemitism, and whose stories regularly traffic in racist and sexist stereotypes and conspiracy theories.” (The Guardian).

Many argue that Breitbart is the platform for the ALT-right and I will write more about that below.  Bannon’s connection to Breitbart a chairman is what has alienated so many people from his appointment.

Ben Shapiro, cited above, describes him as an opportunist:

No, I have no evidence that Steve’s an anti-Semite. I think Steve’s a very, very power-hungry dude who’s willing to use anybody and anything in order to get ahead, and that includes making common cause with the racist, anti-Semitic alt-right.

Is that anti-Semitism?

I want to be careful about attributing personal anti-Semitism to him. I will say that it is appeasement of anti-Semitism, which in my book is certainly not a good thing. [Slate]

Is Bannon Connected to Spencer?  

To the best of my knowledge, Bannon has never endorsed Spencer. Spencer, however, has clearly endorsed Bannon.   They day Bannon was appointed as Chief Strategist Spencer tweeted the following:

1/ “Strategist” is the best possible position for Steve Bannon in the Trump White House.

2/ Bannon will answer directly to Trump and focus on the big picture, and not get lost in the weeds.

3/ Bannon is not a “chief of staff,” which requires a “golden retriever” personality. He’ll be freed up to chart Trump’s macro trajectory.

[Note: Spencer’s Twitter account has been suspended but I had copied and pasted that into a Facebook discussion I was having so I still have it].

There is some debate about the relevance of who is endorsing who. Spencer clearly supports Bannon, which doesn’t make Bannon look good, but since Bannon has never clearly endorsed Spencer some say Bannon isn’t a racist like Spencer.

What is racism and are Spencer and Bannon Racists?

There are people in the debate community who know way more about how to define and approach racism than I do, but let me start with a simple, commonly accepted definition.

Definition of racism. 1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. [Webster’s Dictionary]

Of course, this definition hinges on racial “superiority.” At least publicly, neither Spencer nor Bannon have made a claim of superiority (at least that I could find) but they have both made similar claims that white and other races should live separately.
Spencer is more direct:

What I would ultimately want is this ideal of a safe space effectively for Europeans. This is a big empire that would accept all Europeans. It would be a place for Germans. It would be a place for Slavs. It would be a place for Celts. It would be a place for white Americans and so on.

For something like that to happen and really for Europeans to survive and thrive in this very difficult century that we’re going to be experiencing, we have to have a sense of consciousness. We’re going to have to have that sense of identity.

… But European people were the indispensable central people that defined this nation socially and politically and culturally and demographically obviously.

I care about us more. That’s all I’m saying. But I respect identitarians of other races. And I actually can see eye to eye with them in a way that your average conservative can’t.

llegal immigration is not nearly as damaging as legal immigration. Legal immigration – they’re here to stay. Their children are here and so on.

And I think a really reasonable and I think palatable policy proposal would be for Donald Trump to say, look; we’ve had immigration in the past. It’s brought some fragmentation. It’s brought division. But we need to become a people again. And for us to do that, we’re going to need to take a break from mass immigration. And we’re going to need to preference people who are going to fit in, who are more like us. That is European immigration. [NPR Interview]

Reveal News described him this way —

The 38-year-old white nationalist heads a small organization, called the National Policy Institute, and believes people of different skin color are inherently different, hate each other and should live separately… For instance, Spencer tells Al his long-term dream is an “ethnostate” – a territory set aside for people of European descent. “So that we would always have a safe space,” Spencer says. “We would always have a homeland for us. Very similar to … how Jews conceive of Israel.”

Spencer also says he believes that Trump opens the door for white identity politics to become an overt and welcome part of mainstream conversation in America for the first time.

An article discussing Spencer’s upcoming speaking engagement at Texas A&M makes a similar point:

Preston Wiginton, white nationalist, organizer of the event and member of the alt-right, said the movement is not about saying white people are better than other races, but that white people should be able to separate themselves and have pride. Wiginton has brought white nationalist speakers to the university in the past, and attended the Texas A&M University from 2006 to 2007 before withdrawing to go to Russia.

“If we want to have a white state, or a white community or a white homeland we should be able to have that,” Wiginton said. “We respect that for all people. If we look at the NAACP, black people have the right to have that. Why can’t white people have a WAACP?” [The Batt]

Spencer is not necessarily opposed to violence to achieve this end:

How, he was asked, in a nation with more than 100 million blacks, Asians and Latinos, could a whites-only territory be created without overwhelming violence? Over chocolate croissants and an Americano coffee at a Corner Bakery Cafe, he avoided the question, discussing Nietzsche, communism’s origins, history’s unpredictability. Then, at last, he offered an answer. “Look, maybe it will be horribly bloody and terrible,” he said. “That’s a possibility with everything.” [Washington Post]

Bannon is arguably similar (the violence note excluded), voicing his support to potentially exclude other races so we have a more unified culture:

Prior to Bannon’s becoming chief executive officer of Trump’s campaign, the two men spoke for over two hours during nine interviews on Bannon’s radio show “Breitbart News Daily” between November of 2015 and June 2016….In one instance, Trump discussed concerns that Ivy League students would have to leave the United States after graduation due to immigration laws. Bannon used the opportunity to remind Trump that: “You got to remember, we’re Breitbart. We’re the know-nothing vulgarians. So we’ve always got to be to the right of you on this.”

From The Washington Post:

“We have to be careful of that, Steve. You know, we have to keep our talented people in this country,” Trump said. He paused. Bannon said, “Um.”

“I think you agree with that,” Trump said. “Do you agree with that?”

Bannon was hesitant. “When two-thirds or three-quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think . . . ” Bannon said, not finishing the sentence. “A country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society.” [emphasis mine] (Death & Taxes)

So, Spencer doesn’t necessarily [some think he does] believe in the superiority of the white race. He thinks they should live separately, perhaps similar to Bannon (based on the above quote).

Recently in an interview, however, Bannon pushed back, arguing he is just an economic nationalist:

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s selection for White House chief strategist, says he’s an “economic nationalist” but rejects racist and anti-Semitic elements of the nationalist alt-right movement.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Bannon, a former Breitbart News executive, cast himself as a strident opponent of “globalism” — including free trade deals that Trump has bemoaned.

“I’m an economic nationalist. I am an America first guy,” Bannon said in the interview.

“And I have admired nationalist movements throughout the world, have said repeatedly strong nations make great neighbors. I’ve also said repeatedly that the ethno-nationalist movement, prominent in Europe, will change over time. I’ve never been a supporter of ethno-nationalism.”

Bannon said that “the black working and middle class and the Hispanic working and middle class, just like whites, have been severely hurt by the policies of globalism.”

He said he had urged Trump to reach out to minority communities on the campaign trail.

“I was the one who said we are going to Flint, Michigan, we are going to black churches in Cleveland, because the thrust of this movement is that we are going to bring capitalism to the inner cities,” Bannon told the newspaper. [CNN]

Others reach similar conclusions:

Being against globalism or even self-identifying as a nationalist is something most racists might also believe, but belief in either does not also categorize one as an alt-right racist. Leftist Bernie Sanders is anti-globalist. Progressive Ralph Nader could be considered a nationalist. It seems some on the right who have clumsily used the term “alt-right” — including Bannon, apparently — are just as confused about what it actually means as the mainstream media.

Separating these types of anti-establishment views from racism is important.

Ben Shapiro, an ex-Breitbart editor who is no fan of Bannon, said of his former boss last week, “I have no evidence that Bannon’s a racist or that he’s an anti-Semite; the Huffington Post’s blaring headline ‘WHITE NATIONALIST IN THE WHITE HOUSE’ is overstated, at the very least.” More than a few conservatives, even those who were #NeverTrump, who have known Bannon personally or professionally, have said that whatever else he might be, he’s not a white supremacist. Reince Priebus and others who will be working in the new administration say the same.

This has also been my experience. As I recalled our few encounters at London’s The Spectator in August, “I’ve only met Stephen Bannon a few times. […] And based on my limited experience, he has always seemed more transfixed on taking on the political establishment, particularly Republicans, rather than raising a White Power fist.”

Apparently, this is how Bannon sees himself, Breitbart, and even, mistakenly, the alt-right. Bannon has said, “Our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment.”

George Hawley told the Washington Post forthright, “I do not think Steve Bannon qualifies as part of the alt-right.”

Hawley continues, “It’s true that Breitbart has flirted with the alt-right more than any other mainstream conservative publication, but its ultimate editorial line tends to be fairly generically conservative.” “It shares a lot of the alt-right style and tone, but not that much of its substance,” Hawley observes.  [rare.us]

Another recent report of Bannon being heard making derogatory comments against minorities — Bannon said curbing the black vote wouldn’t be such a bad thing

And more recent evidence has emerged of his strong anti-Islamic beliefs:

Jerediah Purdy, November 30, 2016, The Atlantic, http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/11/donald-trump-steve-bannon-peter-thiel-214490

To understand Bannon’s outlook, the best source we have is a remote address he gave in 2014 to a conference of the Human Dignity Institute, a conservative political group with right-wing Catholic ties, which was being held at the Vatican. In the talk, recently published by BuzzFeed, Bannon laid out a strikingly coherent picture of his worldview, which has a few fundamental elements.

First, the United States and Europe are at the beginning of “a very brutal and bloody conflict” against “a new barbarity that’s starting, which will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years,” unless “we” defeat it. This is “jihadist Islamic fascism.” The “river of blood” that the Islamic State promises “is going to come to Western Europe, it’s going to come to the United Kingdom.” (Bannon seems to be just the leading edge of this clash-of-civilizations theme in the Trump administration. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has called radical Islam an “existential threat” and suggested that Islam itself is “a cancer” of an ideology rather than a genuine religion.)

Second, what “we” must defend against Islamic fascism is a very specific version of Western civilization. The lesson of World War II and the struggle against totalitarianism, Bannon explains, is that the great and singular achievement of the West is “an enlightened form of capitalism.” It is, he says, a specifically “Christian” or “Judeo-Christian” version of capitalism that produces wealth for the good of the community, in which “divine providence” empowers its favored people “to actually be a creator of jobs and a creator of wealth.” The thing to notice is what is left out. In a description of a coming battle for Western civilization and of the lessons of the 20th-century struggle against totalitarianism, Bannon does not mention democracy. He doesn’t mention constitutionalism. Capitalism is the thing at stake in a global clash of civilizations, the most precious part of a legacy of freedom.

There are some relevant points to make –

  1. It’s hard to directly tie Bannon directly to white separatist rhetoric, or at least white separatist policies. The above quote is the only direct quote I could find form him endorsing this view. Contrast this one quote to how easy it is to find similar statements from Spencer.
  2. Trump is the President. Note in the exchange above that Trump disagrees with Bannon on the question of ethnonationalism.
  3. Is Bannon responsible for what is on his website? I think most people would say that he is and it is the primary driver of the concerns related to his appointment.
  4. Did Bannon facilitate/encourage the production of ALT-RIGHTt hate on his website? If so, why did he do this? At the very least, is this not enabling racism?
  5. There is a reasonable argument to be made that pushing the issue that Bannon is a racist white nationalist simply emboldens the actual racist white nationalists.

Is Bannon Generally a Bad Guy?

While there has been a lot of discussion of whether or not Bannon is a “Nazi” and a racist,” there has not been enough emphasis on some other key elements of this.

Anti-LGBT Agenda. These are some choice Bannon comments regarding female students at the “Seven Sisters” schools.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Stephen Bannon, reportedly referred to students at the Seven Sisters colleges as “dykes” during a 2011 interview.

Bannon, who was brought on to the campaign earlier this month, told Political Vindication Radiothat women like Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and Michele Bachmann “threaten the progressive narrative,” as BuzzFeed reports.

Such female conservatives pose a threat to liberal women, he said, because they are not “a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools.”

“And so these women cut to the heart of the progressive narrative,” Bannon said.

“That’s why there are some unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement,” he continued. “That, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England. That drives the left insane and that’s why they hate these women.”

The colleges that make up the Seven Sisters schools include Smith, Radcliffe, Bryn Mawr, and Wellesley, institutions historically exclusive to women.

Secondhand/hearsay. There is a lot of evidence against Bannon that fits into this category:

Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, has come under fire recently as reports surface about his storied professional and personal history, which include allegations of domestic violence, sexual assault, racism, and anti-LGBT sentiment.

Kurt Bardella is a former spokesman for Breitbart, a conservative website viewed as the mouthpiece of the “alt-right.” He quit the company earlier this year, citing a toxic workplace environment. “[Bannon] made more off-color comments about minorities and homosexuals than I can recount,” Bardella told The Daily Beast of his former boss.

The most damning claims against Bannon, however, were made by his ex-wife, Mary Louise Piccard, who accused him of attacking her during their marriage.

In February 1996, police charged Bannon with “domestic violence, battery and attempting to dissuade a witness,” according to The New York Times. Bannon reportedly threatened Piccard to keep her from appearing in court to testify against him. Bannon allegedly told her that if he were put in prison, she “would have no money and no way to support the children.”

The charges against Bannon would be dropped.

These allegations may be unsurprising to LGBT readers, as Bannon’s former website is knownto use anti-LGBT slurs in its reporting.

In responding to a series of transphobic tweets from former Boston Red Sox player Curt Schilling, Breitbart referred to criticism of his views as the “Big Tranny Hate Machine.” Discussing domestic violence in same-sex relationships, the word “dyke” is used four times. [The Advocate]

Articles published on Breitbart. Here are some articles published at Breitbart.com when Bannon was the Chairman according to CNN:

‘The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: Women should log off’

A article in July argued that women are “screwing up the internet for men by invading every space we have online and ruining it with attention-seeking and a needy, demanding, touchy-feely form of modern feminism.”

‘Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew’

A post in May described a “third party effort to block Trump’s path to the White House” that Breitbart claimed was orchestrated by the prominent conservative and Trump critic Bill Kristol. The headline is one of the site’s most infamous, and was featured this fall in a Democratic political ad.

‘Trannies whine about hilarious Bruce Jenner billboard’

A December 2015 article criticized a campaign to take down a billboard mocking Caitlyn Jenner after she went public with her transition last year. “Transsexuals have forced a company in New Zealand to take down a billboard poking fun at Bruce Jenner and his man-parts,” the article said.

‘Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy’

A December 2015 article made a case against birth control and concluded, “We need the kids if we’re to breed enough to keep the Muslim invaders at bay.” The article was one of many blasted by critics of Breitbart.

These are some Breitbart headlines. Their white nationalist CEO is now Trump’s top White House strategist. Pay attention.

‘Suck it up buttercups: Dangerous Faggot Tour returns to colleges in September’

An article in July touted tour dates for a show headlined by Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, a prolific Breitbart writer who was banned from Twitter this summer for violating rules against abuse.

‘Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage’

An article published in July 2015, weeks after a mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, slammed critics of the Confederate flag, a symbol embraced by the gunman. “Those who initiated identity politics are attempting to obliterate the Southern identity,” the author of the Breitbart piece wrote. “Every tree, every rooftop, every picket fence, every telegraph pole in the South should be festooned with the Confederate battle flag.”

‘ “Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?” ‘

A February post on the website included a video created by the Michigan Review, a University of Michigan publication, to promote a debate on campus featuring Yiannopoulos. The publication asked participants the question.

‘Gay rights have made us dumber, it’s time to get back in the closet’

A June 2015 article by Yiannopoulos, who is openly gay, argued in favor of “forcing gays back into the closet.” “I find it depressing that my fellow fags have stopped breeding,” Yiannopoulos wrote.

‘Science proves it: Fat-shaming works’

A July article argued that overweight people should be shamed into losing weight. “A 20-year-old has their entire life ahead of them, and those are the people we should focus on shaming into shape,” the article said.

“There’s no hiring bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews”

A July article suggested that research revealed “women might just suck at job interviews.”

I’m basically the CEO of this website. What would think of me if I allowed these articles to be published on Millennialsd.com, even if I didn’t write them?

Prominent advertisers and advertising networks are withdrawing from Breitbart’s website.

Who is Milo Yiannopolous?

I wrote this last because it’s probably not central to the post, but there is really no way to understand the ALT RIGHT without understanding Milo, the guy who wrote the longer post defining the ALT right that I quote from earlier.

Milo is an openly gay may who thinks gays should be in the closet so that they keep reproducing.

Though he’s also had his Twitter account suspended, he’s a frequent Breitbart columnist. Her’s a note from a recent (October 30th) post of Milo’s on Breitbart.com

If Hillary gets her way, Muslim immigrants will arrive along with their signature delicacies: lamb chops, yoghurt and gang-rape.

Now I must make one controversial statement– women will suffer terrible sexual atrocities at the hands of Muslims, but they will survive these encounters most of the time.

Muslims want to violate women, not kill them.

Unfortunately for gays, Muslims have no compunction about slaughtering us.

Gays will undoubtedly be targeted by Muslims. It is already happening.  The terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub was just the first wave on American shores.

Is Bannon a “Nazi”?

A couple of days ago, Howard Dean, who is in the running to be the new Chair of the of the Democratic party, called Bannon a Nazi

Is Bannon a Nazi?   (Meriam-Webster)

  1. a:  one who espouses the beliefs and policies of the German Nazis :  fascistb :  one who is likened to a German Nazi :  a harshly domineering, dictatorial, or intolerant person

Dictionary.com

a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler and advocated totalitarian government, territorial expansion, anti-Semitism, and Aryan supremacy, all these leading directly to World War II and the Holocaust.

If he’s a white supremacist, probably. If he’s a white separatist, maybe not.

I’m not trying to split hairs here, but these labels have the potential to be unproductive Why? Because it will take a lot of work to establish the connection/to prove he’s a Nazi, way more than most people will think through, and once you fail to convince people he’s a Nazi then people will say, oh, he’s fine then. The real problem is that he seems to be a terrible person, regardless of whether or not he’s a Nazi.

Ben Shapiro makes another point against calling broadly calling Trump supporters racists —

By the same token, I think that the left is making a huge mistake by labeling everybody on the right “alt-right.” Because what they’re doing is they’re pushing people into the arms of the alt-right. You call people racist enough, and they begin to think OK, well, who’s not calling me a racist—I’ll side with that guy. So the worst thing the left can do is continue to suggest that everyone who backed Trump was a racist, sexist, bigot homophobe; everyone’s evil, everyone’s terrible. What they really should be doing is they should be saying, “Look, we understand one of the reasons that we lost is because Hillary Clinton was a uniquely terrible candidate”—she really was—“and because of that, we’re not trying to throw you guys out of the tent. We think it was a bad choice to choose Trump, but we would sort of appeal to the better angels of your nature—that if we think he’s divisive as time goes on, that you recognize that he’s being divisive.” I think it’s a big mistake to have the left pushing the notion that they’re just going to double-down on the Obama coalition and tell everybody else to go screw.

I think that the more the left focuses on the things that are actually serious regardless of your politics—like corruption, like policies that are self-directed, that kind of stuff—that will have more of an impact than just going around shouting, “Racist, racist, racist!” I think one of the big problems here is that if you called Mitt Romney a racist in 2012—as Bill Maher said, if you turned it all the way up to 11 for Mitt Romney—it’s very difficult for people to hear you when you turn it up to 12 for Trump. [Slate]

Is Donald Trump A Racist? 

I’m a bit reluctant to go here because making arguments on either side will alienate many readers and while I don’t care that some people are alienate from my views from time to time, I want them to take good care to consider arguments without knee-jerking. And the reality is that you are going to have to debate this if you read a Trump Good Politics DA.

There are some arguments to support the claim that Trump is a racist.

  • Some activity on Trump’s campaign trail is disturbing – His campaign announcement included a claim that Mexico sends drugs, criminals and rapists to the US. He pretended he didn’t know who David Duke is when Duke endorsed him. He refused to disavow him.
  • Many of his proposed policies – build a wall, deport non-criminal illegal immigrants, Muslim registry, Syrian refugee ban are arguably based on racist assumptions.
  • Appointment of Steve Bannon.   Se above.
  • Endorsements by racists – David Duke, Richard Spencer
  • Increase in hate crimes/failure to challenge racists. The Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked 701 incidents of unlawful hateful harassment since the election.Here is an example of Trump campaign inspired hate —

It’s a phrase that became synonymous with Donald Trump’s high-intensity campaign rallies, an expression that became more rallying cry than policy proposal during his rise to political power.

As Trump’s candidacy gained momentum over the past year, calls for shoring up America’s southern border became something else — a form of teenage bullying.

One of the latest examples came at a high school volleyball tournament in Snyder, Tex., where Archer City High was facing off with Fort Hancock on Friday.

Clumped in the stands, according to the Dallas Morning News, a group of Archer City students holding Trump/Pence signs and wearing wigs, trucker hats and fake mustaches directed a chant toward their opponents on the other side of the gym: “Build that wall.”

Fort Hancock is about an hour south of El Paso, along the Mexican border. The Fort Hancock Independent School District’s student population is 97 percent Hispanic, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Archer City is about two hours northwest of Dallas, near the Oklahoma border. The Star-Telegram, citing the Texas Education Agency, noted that Archer City High had an enrollment of 384 students last year, 83 percent of whom were white. Just 9 percent of the students were Hispanic.

The Archer City students also held a Texas flag and a second one declaring, “Come and Take It.” The latter is an iconic emblem of the Texas revolution that was flown at the Battle of Gonzales, the first military clash between Texans and Mexican forces. Known to anyone who’s taken an eighth-grade history class in the state, it remains a source of antagonistically tinged pride among some Texans who look down upon their southern neighbor. [Washington Post]

During the campaign, Mitt Romney referred to this as “trickle down racism.”

“I don’t want to see a president of the United State saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following,” Romney said. “Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation, and trickle down racism and trickle down bigotry and trickle down misogyny — all of these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America.” When anchor Wolf Blitzer asked Romney directly if he thought Trump was racist, the former Massachusetts governor again focused on the implications of Trump’s rhetoric. “I think his comments time and again appeal to the racist tendency that exists in some people and I think that’s dangerous,” he said. [Politico]

After the election Massachusetts set-up a hotline to field any complaints about hate crimes and hate speech and it received 400 complaints in only one week!

  • Sessions nomination. Trump will nominate Jeff Sessions to be the Attorney General. Sessions failed to be confirmed to as a federal judge in the 1980s by a Republican Congress because of his racist statements:

Following an election that at times seemed to be a referendum on race, Sessions’s appointment at the helm of the agency that’s supposed to protect all Americans’ constitutional rights should terrify anyone with any respect for civil liberties and our justice system.

This is not the first time Sessions has earned a presidential nomination as an administrator of justice. In 1986, President Reagan tapped him to serve as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, but at the time the Senate found him too racist for the post, and he became the second nominee in 50 years to be denied an appointment.

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions was pressed on accusations that he had called a black prosecutor “boy” and a white civil rights attorney “a disgrace to his race.” He was called out on his comment that he thought the Ku Klux Klan “was OK until I found out they smoked pot” and that the NAACP and ACLU were “trying to force civil rights down the throats of people.”

(Sessions denied calling the prosecutor “boy” but not the other comments.)

At that time, Sen. Ted Kennedy called Sessions “a throwback to a disgraceful era” and his nomination “a disgrace for the Justice Department.” …

Among other positions, Sessions opposed the Violence Against Women Act, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and the expansion of anti-hate legislation to include sexual orientation.

He fought the removal of the Confederate flag from public buildings, immigration reform, and criminal justice reform.

Sessions’ opposition to voting rights — which as attorney general he would be in charge of protecting — dates back to his days as U.S. attorney in Alabama, when he wrongly prosecuted a group of black activists for voter fraud. Decades later, in 2013, he praised the Supreme Court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act, denying its impact on black voters, even as the immediate impact in his own state was that officials tried to close 31 DMV offices, in majority black counties, just as the state passed more restrictive voter ID requirements.

In February, Sessions was the first sitting senator to endorse Trump. And following Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” remark, the future top prosecutor in the country said, “I don’t characterize that as sexual assault.” [The Intercept]

  • Michael Flynn. Trump has selected Michael Flynn to be his national security advisor.

Donald Trump’s pick to be national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, called Islamism a “vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people” that has to be “excised” Flynn, who has called Islam as a whole a “cancer” in the past, made the comments during a speech to the Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Video of his speech is available on YouTube and was reviewed by CNN’s KFile. [CNN]

Retired General Wesley Clark says Flynn will need to walk back such comments.

From an article on Think Progress:

Even before Sessions was officially named as Attorney General, the Daily Stormer, a white supremacist, neo-Nazi news site, reported happily that he was being promoted to a better role. At the time, they speculated that he might be named Secretary of Defense. “Our second favorite Trump guy (second to Bannon) has been promoted to a more prominent role,” wrote site founder Andrew Anglin, right above a photograph of Sessions. Anglin was even more jubilant following news of Sessions’ selection as Attorney General and retired General Michael Flynn’s appointment as National Security Advisor. In an article titled “It’s like Christmas,” Anglin wrote “honestly, I didn’t even expect this to all come together so beautifully. It’s like we’re going to get absolutely everything we wanted…Basically, we are looking at a Daily Stormer Dream Team in the Trump administration.” [Think Progress]

Ben Shapiro, quote above, sums it up well — Trump is probably not especially racist but he’s willing to wink at anyone, including racists, who will support his power.

So they’ve tried to broaden the definition so they can suck people into believing they’re alt-right, and then make themselves seem indispensable by saying, “Look at all these alt-right people. They’re all out here, and if the Republican Party pushes them to the side, then they’re going to pay an electoral price for that.” And then you have people winking and nodding at them because they think they’re an important constituency. So it’s a couple-step process, and glomming onto Trump has been part of that because Trump, I don’t think, is alt-right. I don’t think that Trump is particularly racist. I think he’s an ignoramus. I think that more than anything, Trump is willing to pay heed to and wink at anybody who provides him even a shred of good coverage. So if the alt-right, which worships at the altar of Trump—if they provide him good coverage, he’s willing to wink and nod at them and not wreck them. [Slate]

Generally, I think these arguments fit into X categories – certain policies that Trump supports are based on racist assumptions, Trump has denied the support of racists, Trump has hired/wants to hire racists, and hate crimes have increased post Trump’s victory.

Arguments that he is not –

Trump is an opportunist. There is a strain of thought that essentially says Trump was “in it to win it” and that even if he stoked racism and took advantage of it that he’s not really a racist and he won’t pursue racist policies. Some even go so far as to argue he played white racist voters like fools:

Imagine you’re one of those folks who went to Trump rallies and thrilled to his promises to take America back from the establishment, who felt your heart stir as he promised to torture prisoners, who got your “Trump That Bitch” T-shirt, who was overjoyed to finally have a candidate who tells it like it is. What are you thinking as you watch this?

If you have any sense, you’re coming to the realization that it was all a scam. You got played. While you were chanting “Lock her up!” he was laughing at you for being so gullible. While you were dreaming about how you’d have an advocate in the Oval Office, he was dreaming about how he could use it to make himself richer. He hasn’t even taken office yet and everything he told you is already being revealed as a lie.

During the campaign, Trump made two kinds of promises to those white working class voters. One was very practical, focused on economics. In coal country, he said he’d bring back all the coal jobs that have been lost to cheap natural gas (even as he promotes more fracking of natural gas; figure that one out). In the industrial Midwest, he said he’d bring back all the labor-intensive factory jobs that were mostly lost to automation, not trade deals. These promises were utterly ludicrous, but most of the target voters seemed not to care.

The second kind of promise was emotional and expressive. It was about turning back the clock to a time when immigrants hadn’t come to your town, when women weren’t so uppity, when you could say whatever you wanted and you didn’t feel like the culture and the economy were leaving you behind. So Trump said he’d toss Hillary Clinton in jail, force everyone to say “Merry Christmas” again, and sue those dastardly liberal news organizations into submission.

And of course, there were promises — like building a wall on the southern border and making Mexico pay for it just so they know who’s boss — that claimed to serve a practical purpose but also had an important expressive purpose. And now one by one Trump is casting them all off.

So what are we left with? What remains is Trump’s erratic whims, his boundless greed, and the core of Republican policies Congress will pursue, which are most definitely not geared toward the interests of working class whites. He can gut environmental regulations, but that doesn’t mean millions of people are going to head back to the coal mines — it was market forces more than anything else that led to coal’s decline. He can renegotiate trade deals, but that doesn’t mean that the labor-intensive factory jobs are coming back. And by the way, the high wages, good benefits, and job security those jobs used to offer? That was thanks to labor unions, which Republicans are now going to try to destroy once and for all.

And his nominee for Secretary of Education seems focused on diverting money from public schools to private schools.

Trump has “disavowed” the ALT-Right. Since Trump’s election there were many calls for Trump to disavow the racists and other members of the ALT-right who supported him. For a long time, Trump did nothing. Trump spent the weekend that Spencer held his conference in Washington, DC criticizing Saturday Night Live for their treatment of him and statements the Hamilton cast made about incoming Vice President Pence.

Then he “disavowed” the ALT right.

He has also faced criticism over the political support he has received from so-called alt-right groups, including white supremacists who gave “Hail victory” salutes at a Washington convention last weekend. “I disavow and condemn them,” Mr. Trump told The New York Times on Tuesday. [New York Times]

Trump said “stop it.” In response to the increase in hate crimes that some say have been enabled/fanned by the campaign:

In an interview with CBS News’s “60 Minutes” that aired days after the election, Mr. Trump was asked about reports that some of his supporters had harassed or attacked minorities after his victory. “I am so saddened to hear that,” he said. “And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’” [New York Times]

Trump’s inner circle is becoming more diverse. Trump wants Nikke Haley (the daughter of Indian immigrants) for UN Ambassador.  By this I don’t mean the standard, “Trump one supports two women, including one who is the daughter of immigrants.” I mean that even if Bannon is a white nationalist that others are not and it takes more than one white nationalist to implement white nationalist policies.

Trump is not an ethnonationalist. The above quote that suggests that Bannon is an ethnonationalist is from a discussion with Trump where Trump is arguing against ethnonationalism and for economic nationalism – an economic nationalism Bannon is saying he now supports.

Trump’s policies are not racist. Here are some arguments – We have immigration control and nearly everyone supports efforts to limit illegal immigration; the wall is just another way to do it. 2. There are some criminals among immigrants. We can only accept ZERO risk of terrorism and there could be terrorists among refugees. 3. Aggressive policing reduces crime that undermines black communities. 

I recognizes that supporters of Trump will be upset that I identified reasons why Trump may be considered a racist. Those who oppose him will be upset that I identified reasons he may not be one. I get it. People need to think.

Research and Arguments

What does this mean for your arguments? I think there are a lot of implications for research and arguments.

Research. If you cut cards from Breitbart.com you are going to have to defend your decision to do so, at least from the authors you cut them from. Similarly, if you cut evidence from the National Policy Institute, you are going to have to defend that. I simply you don’t cut evidence from NPI and others will the say the same about Breitbart.com, but I know some people who I do not think are racist that read it, so I’ll leave that decision to you. Even reading Breitbart increases its economic value.

Trump Good Politics. If you read the Trump Good DA you are going to have to account for an argument that has some flavoring of the following – Trump is a racist, Trump fans the flames of racism, boosting Trump’s political capital makes it more likely that he carry out a racist agenda, makes it more likely that he’ll fan the flames of racism, makes it more likely that he can provide political cover for a racist agenda. In a traditional sense there will be strong “Trump Good” Politics Das – tax cuts, infrastructure spending, vouchers/educational privatization, probably more.

Framework and alternatives. Immediately after the election some debaters and coaches were posting comments along these lines – Trump winning the presidency means we are falling backwards as a society, making engagement with the government a useless enterprise. This basic strain of thought supports the idea that we should engage in non-state based advocacy and approaches. On the other side, proponents of more traditional plan-based debate argue now is a critical time to engage institutions to protect the advance of minority rights against what appears to be Republican efforts to reverse said rights.

Racism in America. Debaters have used different advocacies and policy proposals to try to address racism in America. Regardless of what you think of the role of the Trump campaign in fanning it, the racism of Trump’s policy makers, or the whether or not we should engage in policy-making to reduce it, one thing is clear: Racism is alive and well in America.

With all the swastikas magically appearing all over the country, and the rise of the “alt-right” political movement, it may be to time to put this group under the microscope. There is an age-old tradition of white-denialism when it comes to the suffering of black people. From the days of the cotton field, where whites convinced themselves that slaves sang because they were happy, the dominant culture has sought ways to dodge criticism of the human cost of their behavior. White people once believed that slaves who wanted to escape slavery were afflicted by a mental disorder called “Drapetomania.” I mean, who would actually want to live in freedom, right?

Charges of ‘whining,’ ‘reverse-racism,’ and ‘race-baiting’ often come when real racism is called to the carpet. These same people who call blacks thinned-skinned complainers also want to boycott Hamilton after the cast confronted Mike Pence on his right-wing policies. They claim that #AllLivesMatter only after blacks justifiably cry out against extra-judiciary police murder. The backlash against political correctness proves how fragile the white ego is. Have they forgotten that this is the first time in 500 years that white people have even had to watch their mouths? If they say the wrong thing, they could get sued these days.

When blacks said the wrong thing back in the day, they would get lynched. Eye contact, loitering, and whistling at women held steep physical consequences, up to and including murder.

The numbers speak for themselves. White victimizer culture has been let out of the bag. Black self-reliance should be taught, and must be done in context of the obstacles it overcame.

That obstacle is white supremacy, and we have come a long way in the face of it. Denying its existence spits in the face of the ancestors who knocked it back onto its heels, and our contemporaries, who, thanks to Trump and his supporters, must face this monster again. [Theo Wilson]

Normalizing racism. Shortly after the election and Bannon’s appointment I watched an hour of CNN coverage in the airport and they never once mentioned Bannon’s problematic connection to Breitbart. In his Sixty Minutes interview, this never came up. He was never pressed on why he never knew about hundreds of incidents of racial harassment that have been attributed to his campaign.

That’s one way racism is normalized.

Another way it is normalized is that ideas that were once unacceptable suddenly become acceptable because they are not far from other ideas. Economic nationalism à enthonationalism à expelling legal immigrants à racism à Nazism. These changes don’t happen overnight, but if history is any guide, we need to be cautious.

Two years ago (maybe even a year ago), views such as Spencer’s would be found on radical white websites such as Storm Front. That has changed:

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-11-03-27-am

Washington Post: Richard Bertrand Spencer had just told his guests how inspired he was by their presence when the rising sound of fury outside the dining room’s double doors reached his ears. He knew what it meant.

Spencer stepped into the open hallway and, there, beneath the wooden second-floor railing at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Northwest Washington, more than 30 protesters were marching up the stairway toward him. Several held posters — “No to Racism and Fascism” — and blew whistles. “No Nazis! No KKK! No fascist USA!” they shouted, their voices intensifying as he came into view.

Ten feet from the top of the stairs, a Maggiano’s employee — a black man in a light-blue button-down and red tie — spread his arms wide, blocking the mob from reaching the 100 or so white nationalists who had gathered at the restaurant Friday for a private dinner. Spencer walked behind him and looked down at the activists. Then the man who had coined the term “alt-right” grinned and waved.

For years, Spencer and his followers worked in obscure corners of the Internet to promote pride in white identity and the creation of an “ethno-state” that would banish minorities. Then came the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, whose attacks on undocumented immigrants, Muslims and political correctness deeply resonated with them.

Though Trump denounced the alt-right Tuesday, its adherents had crusaded for him on Twitter before the election and celebrated his victory as a seminal moment for their cause.

They exulted again when Trump announced that his chief White House strategist would be former Breitbart chairman Stephen K. Bannon, who once called his website “the platform for the alt-right.”

Spencer, who splits his time between Arlington, Va., and Whitefish, Mont., has reveled in the coverage from traditional news outlets with huge audiences: NBC, NPR, CNN, The Washington Post, the New York Times. He would draw their attention again this week when a video of him at the conference shouting “Hail Trump!” — and the Nazi salutes it elicited — went viral….

Spencer heads a pair of organizations with unremarkable names: the National Policy Institute and Radix Journal. He dresses in three-piece Brooks Brothers suits, gold-coin cuff links and $5,000 Swiss watches, and he sports a swept-over hipster haircut known as a “fashy” (as in fascist)…..

[S]pencer talked of the movement’s next target: colleges. He plans to speak at Texas A&M and the University of Michigan in the coming weeks and is convinced that the alt-right will appeal to students weary of politically correct campus cultures…

Spencer, of course, would expel Muslims from his ethno-state. And most women, he said as he was being driven from the hotel to his next appointment, would return to their traditional role of bearing children.  [Washington Post]

This normalization is dangerous:

“The Holocaust did not begin with killings: it began with words,” the Holocaust Memorial Museum said in a statement. “The museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech.” [Huffington Post]

Anti-Islamism. There are different ways racism can manifest itself, particularly towards certain groups.

I have done a lot of reading in the last few days and I think it is fair to say that one emerging trend in the administration is that it is anti-Islamic.

  • Note the Flynn quote above
  • Note concerns about Bannon’s ethnonationalism and the quote above from the Atlantic about his Anti-Islamic stance.
  • Note Milo’s statement on Islam and gays as part of the ALT-RIGHT’s Breitbart platform that Bannon was the Chairman of.
  • Note Trump’s original campaign pledge to ban Muslims from the US
  • Note discussions of a “Muslim registry,” though the existing proposal isn’t quite how it has been described in many media sources.
  • Note proposal to ban all refugees from Syria
  • Note this comment praising Nikki Haley as UN ambassador

    She is considered a novice in international affairs, but her home state senator, Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), appeared to be trying to buck up her foreign policy bona fides in a statement praising Haley on Wednesday. “As Governor of South Carolina she has recruited and dealt with some of the largest international business firms in the world. Her husband was a member of the South Carolina National Guard who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan,” Graham said. “Governor Haley and her family fully understand what is at stake in the war against radical Islam. I know she will be a valuable ally to President-elect Trump.” [Washington Post]

Wow, this is 2016

I can’t believe I just wrote a long post about whether or not the President-elect of the US and his administration represent a return to overt, virulent racism.

What do I think?

I don’t think Trump espouses Spencer’s views.   I’m not sure if Bannon espouses all of them, but by his own words he’s potentially an ethnonationalist and he’s anti-GLBT.

Trump may nor not be a racist in at least the traditional sense (espousing the idea that one’s own race is superior), but I think he exploited and inflamed racism in the US in order to win the election. He may have normalized some racists. This will have impacts in the US for years.

Even if Trump is not a racist, he is comfortable with people like Bannon, Sessions, and Flynn having power. Did he choose Sessions because he’s a racist? Probably not. He probably chose sessions because Sessions never waivered in his support of Trump. Flynn is similar – he never stopped going after Clinton on Benghazi and led “lock her up” chants at rallies. This support was critical to Trump’s victory and he’s paying them back.

The administration appears quite anti-Islamic. Will there be any radical anti-Islamic policies in the short-term? Probably not. But what if there is another terror attack? What if an Islamic terror group attacks Trump tower or any of the high value Trump properties that are all around the world? How will he react? Will he limit himself to 3am tweets?

Will Trump go after undocumented immigrants? He will probably push up the number of deported undocumented immigrants who have committed a crime. That number was higher under Obama and it may go up under Trump, especially if he expands it to anyone arrested (rather than convicted) of a crime or who may have membership in a gang (without even being arrested for a crime).   Expanding deportation to undocumented workers who have not committed a crime will be more difficult because it requires the voluntary cooperation of local law enforcement which, will be difficult to achieve. And, well, our economy is near full employment, making it difficult to deport so many working people.

In collaboration with the Republican Congress, Trump will pursue an agenda of public sector privatization (education, health care, Social Security, Medicare). Taxes on the wealthy will decline significantly. Taxes on the middle class will decline a little. The poor don’t pay taxes, at least any significant amount, so they will not benefit from this. Will that be for the good of the working class individuals who voted for him to make a change? We are about to find out. We do know that Trump’s business empire will grow substantially.  The brand is up and the President is arguably not bound by conflict of interest laws. Did the poor whites get played? Did Spencer get played? Can an anti-Islamic agenda coupled with some hostility toward undocumented workers and a pro-life stance sustain a right-alt right coalition?

What do you think?

Discuss

Related

What the ALT-Right really means

News organizations tell writers to be clear that the ALT-right is a racist movement

How the ALT-Right uses Internet trolling to confuse you into dismissing its ideology

The History of the ALT-Right

There is no better term for the ALT-right than the ALT-right 

Trump autocracy and the rules for survival. This article argues for resistance against the Trump administration and against any attempts to normalize his presidency.

Fascism at the door.  The article takes a strong anti-Trump stance, concluding that there is a good chance that Trump supports the most problematic aspects of the ALT-right agenda discussed above.

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