Scott McConnell has written a long article on The Rise of the Alt-Right:
“The surge in curiosity about the alt-right—Clinton claimed in her speech that some alt-right websites had seen their traffic increase a thousand fold—has virtually nothing to do with a rise in hardcore white nationalism. Which raises the question of what does drive the rise, and why is it happening now?”
Not a bad article, but I have a different explanation:
1.) Donald Trump – If it were not for Donald Trump, the Alt-Right surge would not be happening. Ted Cruz would have won the Republican nomination. The Alt-Right would have remained politically apathetic and hostile to the Republican Party.
Trump is the reason why the Alt-Right got involved in the Republican primaries in 2016. None of the other candidates had any real appeal to the Alt-Right. Trump was exciting because he wasn’t a conservative. He ran as a nationalist and populist and slowly but surely he electrified White Nationalists. Most of these people don’t vote and they have never had anything resembling a leader.
Just look at the Republican field: Jim Gilmore, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham. There were 16 conservatives running … and Donald Trump.
With the exception of Ron Paul, who was an outsider we agreed with on foreign policy, there hasn’t been a presidential candidate in a generation who had any appeal to the Alt-Right. Trump pressed many, many more of the right buttons. I think the Alt-Right took an instant like to Trump because of his El Jefe personality. Donald Trump has a sort of Mussolinian zest and daring about him. He is the total opposite of Scott Walker in that respect, and when the TruCons went after him, it was on like Donkey Kong!
2.) Breitbart/Alt-Lite – Trump lured the Alt-Right into the Republican primaries. When the cucks went to war against Trump, the Alt-Right couldn’t resist joining that fight. No one would have cared if it was Ted Cruz hitting Marco Rubio over the head with a chair. The final result wouldn’t have been of any interest to our community.
Breitbart and the Alt-Lite phenomena is the second major cause of the rise of the Alt-Right. This diluted middle ground didn’t exist a few years ago. Now, it is growing and growing and has became the major vector of Alt-Right ideas into the mainstream. The emergence of the Alt-Lite is a symptom of how the border of respectability between the “mainstream” and “extremists” has collapsed in the last five years.
3.) Twitter – 2015 was the year the Alt-Right figured out the potential of Twitter.
For 16 years now, the Alt-Right has had forums, podcasts, blogs, and websites. We’ve had Facebook, but it is heavily censored and it acts like another ghetto. Twitter, however, has unlimited potential for both organizing and the viral spread of Alt-Right ideas. I believe it was the troll armies who first figured out the potential of Twitter, but others quickly learned from their example and began signing up their own accounts.
4.) Internal Weaknesses – Conservatism is weak.
There are so many reasons: there was Iraq/Libya/Syria, which discredited the neocons; there was the Crash of 2008, the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs, the shrinking middle class, and 40 years of wage stagnation, which discredited globalization and the free-traders; there was open borders, which has been a flash point for a decade with populists and which the Republican establishment foolishly ignored.
The list goes on … there was the Supreme Court upholding gay marriage, Obamacare, and ruling against Arizona on immigration. There was the Tea Party which the Republican establishment decided to crush in the 2014 midterms. There was the Republican Congress which became a symbol for the cowardice and fecklessness of elected Republicans which paved the way for Trump to steamroll over them.
Beyond that, there are four underlying structural changes in the composition of the Republican Party which are eroding the appeal of conservatism: the steady rise in White racial consciousness due to changing racial demographics, the influx of millions of White working class Democrats into the Republican Party, the secularization of the White working class, and finally the generational turnover of so many Reaganite conservatives (the average National Review subscriber is 66 years old) going to their graves.
The Republican establishment wants the GOP to be a suburban, country club political party that is ideologically committed to classical liberalism and culturally deferential and thus respectable to the Left. The problem is that its racially, culturally, and economically anxious base wants it to be neither of those things!
Look at it this way: Donald Trump was the tip of the Alt-Right spear, Breitbart/Alt-Lite was the spearhead, and Twitter (which could summon the energies of the entire movement which has been gestating for sixteen years now in comment sections) was the shaft. The spear pierced the Republican Party because it had grown so weak due to its own internal contradictions between its leadership and the interests of its base.
If I am right, then the best case scenario for the TruCons is that Trump is defeated and goes away, but 3 out of 4 of these conditions remain. Then again, Trump might win the election, or he might lose and decide not to go away. Maybe he starts a second party. Maybe he sees himself as Jean-Marie Le Pen and Ivanka or Donald Jr. inherits his movement and runs in 2020. Maybe Breitbart/Alt-Lite finds another candidate.
In the long term, the Reaganites are dying out. There will be fewer of them in 2020. There will be more racial, cultural and economic anxiety. If Trump loses, the Republican base will be even angrier in 2020 after Hillary’s outrages. The Republican base will tilt more White working class. It will grow more secularized, more Alt-Rightish, more deaf to the George Wills, less responsive to Erick Erickson’s sermons. As for the cucks, they are so pathetic that they will increasingly be seen as useless.
You know, maybe that is the Alt-Right’s secret sauce: these cucks are useless, disloyal and antagonistic toward their own voters. Their treachery is now plainly obvious to an audience far larger than the Alt-Right. The #NeverTrump movement is openly conspiring to elect Hillary. The Alt-Right is growing because it is providing the vocabulary, concepts and analysis to disillusioned voters (via Breitbart/Alt-Lite and Twitter) who are trying to make sense of the actions of their hostile leadership.