Donald Trump’s Extremist Supporters Feel Like Winners Either Way

Jonathan Mahler and Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, November 6, 2016

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While Mr. Trump seems likely to lose the election, many of his most extreme supporters say they believe that they have already won. Whether the subject is immigration, military intervention, the news media or federal government corruption–and even the entire democratic process–their views, long thought to be well outside the political mainstream, have been given a voice inside it. And that voice belongs to the presidential nominee of a major political party.

Of course, Mr. Trump’s populist candidacy has energized ordinary Americans across the country who previously felt alienated from the political system, but it has also emboldened extremist groups that say he has validated their agendas.

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The biggest beneficiary may well be the so-called alt-right, the once obscure and now ascendant white nationalist movement with close ties to Breitbart News, the website operated by Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Stephen K. Bannon.

“If Trump loses, I am going to be a little bit sad, but I’m certainly not going to feel like all is lost, because he sling-shotted us a long way,” said Richard Spencer, who is credited with coining the term alt-right in 2008. “We can just look at 2015 and 2016 as the beginning of a new stage.”

Some on the far right say they believe the election of Hillary Clinton could prove to be its own sort of boon, further embittering and maybe even radicalizing some disappointed Trump supporters.

“There will be people who will say, ‘There’s nothing we can do to change this system from within,’ and they are going to look to perhaps alternative options,” said Nathan Damigo, the founder of Identity Europa, a California group dedicated to fighting what it calls the “dispossession” of white Americans.

Mr. Damigo envisions building a protest movement along the lines of Black Lives Matter–only to promote the interests of whites. {snip}

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To members of the alt-right, Mr. Trump is a transformative figure. It has been a long time since a mainstream politician, let alone a presidential nominee, talked about the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants and warned about “international banks” plotting “the destruction of U.S. sovereignty.” Mr. Trump has given them the legitimacy they long craved.

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Many of these groups say they have seen a significant surge in interest in the last year. Jared Taylor, a prominent white nationalist, said traffic to his website, American Renaissance, was up 30 percent since the beginning of the Trump campaign.

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