At first glance, Hillary Clinton’s plan to address the alt-right/Donald Trump nexus in her Thursday speech could’ve appeared ill-advised. The alt-right is a loose collective of anonymous online white nationalists with a handful of identified leaders at the top. If you’re not on Twitter, 4chan or Reddit, it's likely you have only vague idea who they are. Why shine the spotlight on an ostracized bunch of online trolls when it's visibility above all they crave?
Richard Spencer, who coined the term “alt-right” and is considered the founder of the movement, was quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying the recognition meant “you can safely say we’ve made it.” While being called “racist” is something most political groups fear, the alt-right embraces the term.
While Hillary’s public mention of the alt-right, and its Trump connection, may help the white nationalists achieve greater prominence in the long run, her short-term goal is to defeat the GOP candidate. The alt-right probably doesn't count for even five percent of those who’ll vote for Trump in November, so they're no threat to her. In fact, their gains come at the expense of the GOP, which suffers from any link with racism at a time when they want to cultivate new constituencies.
Trump’s practically begged for such a rebuke from his opponent. He called her a “bigot” this week, has referred to Mexicans as “rapists,” and refused to disavow the KKK’s David Duke. Trump’s winked at them ever since, and when he brought Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon on board as campaign CEO he was practically giving them back rubs. Bannon, who’s moved the right-wing website away from founder Andrew Breitbart’s original vision, has stated that the new Breitbart is “the platform of the alt-right.”
The media and public will now explore what the alt-right is all about. Checking the comments section on some of their websites, I noticed several white nationalists calling on their brethren to clean up their act now that scrutiny is on the way, but it's hard to see what short-term tone-policing would accomplish.
And what they are is defined by a vision that’s not informed by the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, because these documents make no mention of race. Part of the alt-right’s affinity for Trump is that they see he’s not bound by core American principles either. Trump’s not really conservative, and neither is the alt-right, who refer to traditional conservatives as “cucks,” a reference to certain men who achieve satisfaction by watching their wives have sex with other men, a point Hillary didn't drill down far enough to get into.
But Hillary didn't have to detail the finer points of Republican cuckoldry from the alt-right point of view, or go into their admiration for Hitler. She opened the door and word will eventually get out, but more importantly she was able to link Trump with the lunatic fringe. Independents and Trump-wary Republicans on the fence are sure to notice. “A fringe element has effectively taken over the Republican Party,” is how she put it.
Trump needs every single white vote he can get to win in November, so he's nodded at the alt-right for over a year now. After Clinton's speech, he said he didn't even know who the alt-right were, but he just hired the head of their main media outlet to oversee his campaign, so he's either clueless or lying.
Chris. The dems have been saying this every election cycle for half a century. Nobody's believed them for decades. But when it's all you've got....
Oh, yeah. How come it's not necessary to "expose" Hillary's close relationship with a Klan biggie? I speak of the conscience of the senate, Robert Byrd. A democrat elected over and over by democrats.
Robert Byrd? Is this 2002 and you're defending Trent Lott? Anyway, Robert Byrd. Here's the NAACP on his passing: "Senator Byrd reflects the transformative power of this nation. Senator Byrd went from being an active member of the KKK to a being a stalwart supporter of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and many other pieces of seminal legislation that advanced the civil rights and liberties of our country."
C.T. I'm beginning to feel ashamed of myself. This is like fishbarrel shooting, if somebody'd put a sedative in the water. Point is, republicans have to abase themselves for anything back to Jamestown--I exaggerate only slightly. Dems get to hang with the Klan and never apologize because the republicians are evil. Time passed doesn't matter for dems. Yesterday is fine. I saw a dem legislator on CNN trying to say George Wallace was a republican. He was corrected by the republican guest, but not by the CNN folks. You are making progress, though. Anyway, the reason I went through this is to remind you that everybody knows better. I do. I know you do. Capische?
WRONG: "what they are is defined by a vision that’s not informed by the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, because these documents make no mention of race." The Constitution does indeed make mention of race in many places. I suggest you read Chief Justice Taney's findings in the Dredd Scott Decision. Amendments 13, 14, and 15—however dubious their ratification process—were passed specifically to override the findings of Taney's decision. Besides which, the Naturalization Act of 1790 specifically limits application for citizenship to 'a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years...' No special Amendment was needed to make this Act effective, as it did not contradict the existing Constitution.
Nowhere in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence are people classified according to race, skin color, ethnicity, gender or religion.