Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were the best marketing tool of the “alt-right” this election as they attempted to pin the racist “white nationalists” to President-elect Donald Trump by highlighting his campaign’s connection to the fringe group. But as much as the alt-right praised Trump, even marking his victory with cheers and a Nazi salute, they’re beginning to turn on him and predict he’ll betray their cause.
The Guardian has a run-down of the “intellectual” leaders of the alt-right:
Jared Taylor, a white supremacist who runs the self-termed “race-realist” magazine American Renaissance, said the president-elect had already backpedalled on several pledges that had fired up the far-right. “At first he promised to send back every illegal immigrant. Now he is waffling on that.”
David Cole, a self-proclaimed Holocaust revisionist and Taki magazine columnist, envisaged the movement sliding into bickering and in-fighting, stuck in “rabbit warrens” of online trolling rather than policy shaping.
“In January Trump will start governing and will have to make compromises. Even small ones will trigger squabbles between the ‘alt-right’. ‘Trump betrayed us.’ ‘No, you’re betraying us for saying Trump betrayed us.’ And so on. The alt-right’s appearance of influence will diminish more and more as they start to fight amongst themselves.”
In an email interview Peter Brimelow, founder of the webzine Vdare.com, which alleges Mexican plots to remake the US, said Trump’s failure to deliver “important bones” could trigger a backlash. “I think the right of the right is absolutely prepared to revolt. It’s what they do.”
Many from the fringe movement saw Richard Spencer’s “Nazi salute” speech in November as particularly self-defeating because it allowed critics to characterize the group more effectively as fascists and Nazis. Critics also emphasized the appointment of Breitbart News publisher Steve Bannon to Trump’s campaign and a quote he had made about the right-wing news outlet being the “platform” of the alt-right.
Eventually, under pressure from the media, Trump denounced the movement and their support:
Asked about that weekend and his impact on the white supremacist movement, Trump told the New York Times: “I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group … But it’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why.”
Spencer himself says that many of the alt-right were self-deluded and misled by the media to believe that Trump was really on their side: “Donald Trump was never a racial dissident of the sort that I am. He was never one of us. He’s an American nationalist. The left was wrong to think that he was dancing to the tune of people like myself.”
But he finds hope for his movement in Trump as a stepping stone for their aims and ideology: “Racial nationalism has not triumphed in America. It will some day. But to think it has done so (already) is delusive.”