Top 5 Facts About the Alt-Right

VOICE OVER: Chris Masson
Written by Brent Chadwick

The Alt-Right is an informal movement that has broadly been described as a conservative group brought together by their rejection of mainstream American conservative beliefs. They've got their own prominent figures, like Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannopoulos. The media has called them everything from “white supremacists” to "the new power behind the GOP." However you choose to define them, they certainly have captured the attention of the nation.

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Written by Brent Chadwick

Top 5 Facts About the Alt-Right

What should the future hold for America? There a lot of differing opinions, and some are downright terrifying to a lot of people. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the Top 5 Facts About The Alt-Right.
This informal movement has broadly been described as a conservative group brought together by their rejection of mainstream American conservative beliefs. The media has called them everything from “white supremacists” to the new power behind the GOP. However you choose to define them, they certainly have captured the attention of the nation.

#5: Trump Was Accused Of Dog-Whistling To The Alt-Right

There’s no denying it… Donald Trump’s relationship with the alt-right is a complicated one. And whether or not you believe he actually went out of his way to appeal to members of this controversial movement, there are a number of questionable moments from his presidential campaign that certainly warrant scrutiny. Upon entering politics, this world-renowned businessman sold himself as the candidate of the common man, going out of his way to avoid alienating potential voters - be they visible minorities, or, you know... ex-KKK leaders. Trump quickly inspired the alt-right with his anti-establishment messaging, and with his rise to power, so too did this fringe internet movement step into the mainstream. They embraced him, and with his appointment of Stephen Bannon as campaign strategist – more about him shortly– it appeared as if Donald was returning the love. Despite publicly denouncing them following the “Heil Trump” debacle, Trump has been accused of covertly campaigning to the alt-right. “Dog whistle politics” refers to the use of coded wording that sounds normal to the general public, but conveys an entirely different meaning to special groups or demographics. Looking at Trump’s campaign, alleged examples include his promise to focus on “Americanism, not Globalism” at the RNC, or his encouragement for people to watch out for voter fraud while singling out primarily minority neighborhoods. According to Rolling Stone, Trump’s comment on the second amendment was a blatant and terrifying dog-whistle encouraging gun enthusiasts to assassinate Hillary Clinton. Trump was seen by many as a voice for the disenfranchised, but upon closer examination, his choice of campaign words seemingly carried more meaning than the average listener was likely to catch.

#4: They Reject America’s Founding Principles

Trump’s campaign promised to “Make America Great Again”. But the ideological leaders of the alt-right don’t think the country should be glorifying the past. They believe in America... but in their humble opinion, it has yet to live up to its potential. So what exactly do members of the alt-right believe has been stunting America’s growth? Honestly... a bunch of things. But, at least according to Richard Spencer, alt-right leader and founder of conservative think-tank “The National Policy Institute”, the fundamental issue is an unreasonable commitment to the ideals of the founding fathers. In fact, Spencer has said “ When I look at Thomas Jefferson’s writings, the Declaration of Independence, it makes me want to vomit. The idea that a ‘creator’ made all human beings equal? That’s ridiculous… The idea that we would dedicate ourselves to something as stupid as ‘equality’ or ‘democracy’ is morally insulting to me.” To be clear, he’s a major thought-leader for the movement, and has even been credited with coining the term “alt-right”. Mirroring Spencer’s sentiments, members of the alt-right generally resent traditional conservatives (who they call “cuckservatives”), seeing them as weak and overly committed to the constitution. According to Ben Shapiro, an ex-editor for Breitbart News, the leading alt-right website, this movement simply shares nothing in common with western right-wing politics. As he explained in an interview with Slate, for the leaders at least, it all comes down to identity politics. They believe that a strong nation has no use for the constitution - it just needs an ethnically European population.

#3: Trump’s Chief Strategist Has Been Called A Major Voice of The Alt-Right

Sure, Trump has publicly denounced the alt-right. But in that very same interview, he rose to the defense of his chief strategist-turned-senior advisor, Steve Bannon, and the right wing news outlet Breitbart, where Bannon is an executive chair. Of Breitbart, Trump told The New York Times, it’s “just a publication” that “covers subjects on the right”. Well, that’s partially true... Breitbart News was founded in 2007 by Jewish conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart, but since his passing in 2012, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Stephen Bannon has been the “main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill”. And regardless of what Trump may say, Bannon himself has described Breitbart as “the platform for the alt-right” in the past. While some purists, like Richard Spencer, might not consider Bannon to be a real alt-right member, there’s no denying the colossal contribution he has made to the alt-right movement by giving it a major voice.

#2: They Have Intelligent, Educated Leadership (And Are Very Media Savvy)

One of the biggest mistakes one can make when dealing with the alt-right is to underestimate the men leading the movement. We say “men” because, while there are some women involved, it’s estimated that they only account for 1/5th of the members, and according to Spencer, the role of women in any given organization should be limited, as he believes that “their vindictiveness knows no bounds”. For decades racists in America have been dismissed as unintelligent hicks, but this stereotype could not be further from the truth as far as the alt-right is concerned. Granted, the faithful members waging war online in the name of such notable causes as gamergate and keeping Ghostbusters an all-male cast might not be the most cerebral of men out there. But... the leading figures of the alt-right movement, such as Richard Spencer, Stephen Bannon, Jared Taylor and Vox Day are all highly educated individuals who know how to present an argument and win debates. The movement was born on the internet, on sites like 4chan. Those involved in the alt-right have embraced meme culture and social media as a means of communicating and spreading their influence. In 2016, Twitter actually banned a number of major figures, including Spencer, as part of an effort to curb hate speech and combat abusive users, but many feel that these leaders have only gained greater notoriety and influence as a result of this censorship.

#1: The Alt-Right is Unabashedly About White Nationalism

Various progressive news outlets such as Bustle, Jezebel KUOW-FM Seattle Public Radio, as well as Civil Rights Organizations, have called for major news networks to STOP using the term “alt-right” because it obscures and normalises something that America has long deemed unacceptable - “White Nationalism”... which is itself a euphemism for an inherently racist concept. The Washington Post has defined the “alt-right” as “a small, far-right movement that seeks a whites-only state”. But this identity is not one that has been projected onto them by critical media. Serious alt-right members willingly employ the term “ white nationalism” - often when seeking to distinguish themselves from “White Supremacists”. According to The Guardian, some extreme alt-righters believe they are currently experiencing a White Genocide as a result of immigration, equal opportunity employment, multiculturalism and black on white crime. They claim that such factors are eroding the very foundation of a strong America - “The White Culture of Exclusively European Descendants”. As such, the alt-right’s ultimate goal is the establishment of a Whites-only nation. Spencer has made his position quite clear on this. He dreams of a White America achieved through what he calls “peaceful ethnic cleansing”, stating that it would consist of having “Blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Jews removed from the U.S.”. According to Rolling Stone, Spencer has summed up the movement as follows - “Race matters, and race is the foundation of identity… That is fundamentally what the Alt-Right is about."

Just how familiar were you with the alt-right? Had you ever heard of them before the 2016 presidential race when the movement began to support Trump? For more political top 10s and unnerving Top 5s, be sure to subscribe to