Alt-right and white nationalist sympathizers seem to have found a home under Donald Trump.
Video provided by Newsy
The “alt-right” movement has been around for years but has never been more noticed — or criticized — than it is now.
Particularly after last weekend, when Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist within the movement, addressed a conference in Washington, D.C., and video showed some in the crowd raising their hands in Nazi salute after he hailed President-elect Donald Trump.
So what exactly is the alt-right, and what’s it’s relationship to Trump? Here we breakdown all the questions you’ve been dying to ask:
What is the alt-right?
The alt-right — short for “alternative right” — is a movement that bucks mainstream conservatism.
It is a loose movement, mostly online, that includes people who are dedicated to “white identity,” but because there is no formal structure, there are a lot of different types of people and ideas within the group.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-hate organization, says the group’s main focus is “white identity” and to preserve “western civilization,” but how they go about calling for that is broad.
Who is it made up of?
The alt-right has only a few publicly named and identifiable leaders — Spencer being one of them — but the majority of supporters are people who act online via social media.
George Hawley, a University of Alabama professor who has studied the movement, told the Washington Post that typical followers are white millennial men, either in college or with a college degree who are secular, perhaps atheist, and are “not interested in the conservative movement at all.”
Is the alt-right different from white-nationalist movements?
The two groups have similar focuses and goals and white-nationalists can be part of the alt-right movement. But Hawley said the difference is the alt-right movement has no real formal organization and mostly exists online.
“I think part of it is more a difference of style and marketing than a difference in substance, though I would note that it seems like most of the leading figures of the alt-right do disavow things like genocide, which some of the more outrageous earlier white nationalists didn’t necessarily do,” Hawley told the Post.
When did it start?
Spencer came up with the term in 2008, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. A few years later, he co-founded the Alternative Right blog, which bills itself as the founding site of the alt right.
Per the SPLC:
Spencer describes Alt-Right adherents as younger people, often recent college graduates, who recognize the “uselessness of mainstream conservatism” in what he describes as a “hyper-racialized” world. So it’s no surprise that the movement in 2015 and 2016 concentrated on opposing immigration and the resettlement of Syrian refugees in America. Although such stances align with older forms of white racism, Spencer insists that the Alt-Right is “a liberation from a left-right dialectic.”
Is the alt-right represented in the White House?
Last week, Trump announced that Stephen Bannon would be his chief strategist in the White House. Bannon was previously the head of Breitbart News, which he had dubbed “the platform for the alt-right.”
Critics immediately railed on Trump’ s choice, accusing Bannon of being complicit in the spread of sexist and racist views on the site.
Members of Trump’s team said the criticism of Bannon was misguided. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who is Trump’s new chief of staff, said, “That’s not the Steve Bannon that I know and I’ve spent a lot of time with him.”