I’ve heard the term “alt-right” thrown around a lot this election cycle, but never until recently decided to see what this young conservative faction is all about.
Sources credit the internet with the birth of the Alt-Right movement, so I figured: what better place to start?
Simply Googling “Alt-Right” didn’t seem like the right place to begin, however. A simple Google search turns up some mildly written descriptions of the Alt-Right, as well as a handful of liberal news sources discrediting the entire movement. If you heard of the Alt-Right in the same fashion as I did, they would have seemed like a thin margin at the very fringe of conservative politics– namely, racists.
What I didn’t realize is that we weren’t giving them enough credit.
r/AltRight self defines as “racial and sexual realism” translated into a political ideology. Thus, “fringe” they absolutely are. A brief trip through the subreddit is both insightful and terrifying if you’re a rational person, and it makes a few things exceedingly clear:
- The Alt-Right is predominantly young, white men who are legitimately concerned that the entire world is out to get them. There are several striking pieces outlining a baseless fear of their race being eradicated by the likes of feminists, socialists, liberals, and basically every ethnic minority.
- The Alt-Right is remarkably hopeful for a Trump presidency. There are a great number of posts on the subreddit exclaiming “we’ve done it!” and “one step closer!”–attitudes not echoed by basically any mainstream news source. Speaking of mainstream news:
- The Alt-Right hates it. The political movement is rooted in deep anti-establishment affections. They feel that the liberals and mainstream conservatives are silencing the voices of white men, and that the media is sympathetic to these “oppressors.”
So why should we be concerned with the Alt-Right? I have one reason why we should be concerned with the Alt-Right: because they are concerned with us.
Trump ran a hate filled campaign for the very purpose of appealing to these Alt-Right voters. The Alt-Right isn’t just anti-left; they are altogether anti-establishment. They beseeched the GOP to deliver a candidate that put them first, and the GOP begrudgingly delivered.
What this means for the rest of us is that there is a newly emboldened fringe movement feeding off of racism, sexism, and anger.
This means that the next four years could go one of two ways: Donald Trump follows through on his promise to the Alt-Right, or he doesn’t.
The latter is the more likely of the two outcomes, but that will only stoke the fire. If Donald Trump isn’t the anti-establishment middle finger that the Alt-Right had hoped, then their fears are only affirmed. To them, a Trump betrayal is testimony to their fictional plight.
The Alt-Right fringe may be thicker than we thought.
The Alt-Right fringe is absolutely something to worry about.
This election has been unprecedented in terms of divisiveness. Part of that reality is due to the fact that we are not as politically segregated today as we have been for much of American history. No longer are Republicans and Democrats separated by state lines, but rather by six-foot privacy fences. This year, it wasn’t North versus South or city versus country– it was neighbor versus neighbor.
That’s a tough world to live in. On the internet you can create a bubble, and only interact with people who echo your own beliefs, but in the real world it’s not so easy. You cannot avoid interacting with your neighbors, the girl at the gas station, your waiter, or your classmates. Differing opinions surround us, and that’s what makes us stronger together.
Presidential Candidate Donald Trump took these divides and built a wall between them. He took the angriest, nastiest underbellies of American ideology and pitted us against each other.
By alienating the “liberal elite” and distorting a very real and very justified Middle America anger, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump divided a nation.
Two days ago, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump became Presidential Elect Donald Trump.
In two short months, Presidential Elect Donald Trump will graduate to President Donald Trump– and that man will inherit a divided nation of his own making.
Middle America is still angry. The poor, white, struggling class of Americans are still poor and struggling. The difference now is that the other side of the spectrum is angry too.
Racial and religious minorities, women and college students are angry too. The idea that their neighbors–people that they know and love– would vote for antiquated ideals that don’t take their existence into account has fueled the same anger felt by Middle America.
The question now, is how will President Donald Trump handle the mess he created?
The first objective of the Republic is to preserve the Republic– and ideal left far behind when Trump decided to run a campaign based on ignorance and bias.
If President Donald Trump is the same man as Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, is preservation of the Republic on the table at all?
If President Donald Trump is not the same man as Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, where will this existing anger be channeled? Will he follow through on his promises to the Angry Middle?
The best we can do is be tolerant of each other. President Donald Trump, regardless of who he ends up being, can only do so much. We the people cannot be hateful, ignorant, or intolerant of each other. At the end of the day, we are still all neighbors.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to live in fear of my neighbors.