The alt right, once operating solely in obscure corners of the Internet, has been energized by Donald Trump’s election victory, garnering mainstream attention in their celebration of the man they consider their führer. But with its name, which is short for the alternative right, so vague and videos of what looks like college bros saluting “Heil Victory,” most folks, even those who supported Trump, are confused about who and what the alt right is.
If you’re wondering what the fuss is about, here’s the basics on the Nazi-sympathizing, white, male group rejoicing for Trump.
The Alt Right is a Racist, White Nationalist Group. Despite its hazy name, the movement's mission is clear: the creation of an all-white country. "We need an ethno-state," leader Richard Spencer said in a 2013 speech, "so that our people can 'come home again,' can live amongst family and feel safe and secure." Just like the robed members of the KKK and white power skinheads before them, the alt right deems the white race superior, loathes multiculturalism and wants a white-only U.S. The difference: this group is headed and followed by professionals and college-educated individuals, giving their movement a sort of credibility other white supremacist crusades of recent years lacked. But don’t be mistaken, it is the same old racism packaged in three-piece suits.
The Alt Right is Anti-Woman & Anti-LGBTQ. While there are women in the alt right movement, the group is overall male-run and driven on patriarchal ideas and masculinity. Members are anti-feminist and believe that the political gains of women, who tend to be more progressive, have shifted the country forward in a way they don't like. They believe that traditional masculinity has been undervalued and, to fix this, women should return to times where their primary role was being a child bearer and let men run government and businesses. The group is also largely homophobic and transphobic, supporting proposals that aim to remove rights and protections for LGBTQ people.
The Alt Right is Anti-Semitic. According to the Anti Defamation League, “a number of Alt Righters are also blatantly anti-Semitic and blame Jews for allegedly promoting anti-white policies such as immigration and diversity.” In fact, during a recent celebration for Trump, movement leader Spencer declared, "Let’s party like it's 1933," the year Adolf Hitler was appointed Germany’s chancellor and the Nazis began the creation of their own ethno-state. The alt right is a Neo-Nazi group, with many of its members denying the Holocaust and commemorating the president-elect's win by cheering, "Hail Trump."
President-Elect Trump Has Ties to the Alt Right. Last week, Trump named Steve Bannon, a former executive at Breitbart, as his chief strategist, a selection that has members of the alt right and KKK ecstatic. "I think that's excellent," former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke told CNN. Why so happy? Just months ago, in July 2016, Bannon boasted that he transformed Breitbart into "the platform of the alt-right movement." Members of the neo-Nazi, white supremacist movement see Bannon as their ticket from racist Internet memes to the White House. On Tuesday, Trump disavowed the group. "I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn," he told the New York Times about the alt right. But actions speak much louder than words, and Trump's decision to add Bannon to his administration sounds a much more blaring message.