Dawn M. Turner, Chicago Tribune, August 31, 2015
When I finished speaking with Richard Spencer on Sunday afternoon, I better understood why he vehemently opposes immigration, feels the white race will soon be a “hated minority” in America, and supports Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump even though he never imagined he would.
I talked to the 37-year-old University of Chicago grad, who now lives in Montana, because I know that Trump has tapped into a fear that’s deeply felt by people near and far. It’s just that most folks wouldn’t articulate it in the same way, or as willingly, as Spencer, especially to someone like me.
Spencer is president of the National Policy Institute, a think tank. On its website under the name is the creed, “For our people, our culture, our future.” He doesn’t want to be called a “white supremacist” because although he’s a staunch believer in the separation of the races, he says he doesn’t believe in the superiority of the white race.
Spencer also doesn’t want to be called a “white nationalist,” because “nationalism is about chauvinism.” Instead, he considers himself a European “identitarian,” which he says is based on white people of European descent understanding who they are as a people and uniting along the lines of their shared historical experiences.
“I call myself an identitarian and not an American,” he said. “I think whites will need to be post-American and rediscover our identity as Europeans.”
Spencer rails against consumerism, and wants the country to return to a “spiritual dimension.” He describes an America–or any country–that’s racially and ethnically diverse as one in which people are “all thrown into this flat world where they don’t have a historical or emotional connection to the nation.”
He believes America has been a “failed experiment” and that by 2044, when the U.S. Census Bureau predicts people of color will outnumber whites, they will be “a defeated people.”
“But won’t a lot of white people still be in power?” I asked him.
“I don’t doubt that white people will still hold power,” Spencer said. “But those are the managers of white decline.” He referred to Hillary Clinton, whom he called “pathetic.”
To be clear, not all of Trump’s supporters share Spencer’s extreme views. But there is a disaffected, angry knot of folks who are afraid they will be and have been steamrolled by immigrants and affirmative action. They wholeheartedly believe a particular way of life continues to be under threat.
So in walks a bold and brash presidential candidate who gives voice to their fears while trumpeting the idea of making America great again.
Although Spencer likes Trump, he doesn’t believe America can be great again.
“That’s backward-looking,” he said. “We want to look forward and think about who we’re going to be. People want to know everything is going to be OK, that my grandchildren are going to be OK.
“Donald Trump is not a white nationalist, or an identitarian. But he’s giving people a sense that ‘your fears are real and we can find a way out’ and this contrasts with other Republicans who say, ‘Your fears are not real.’ ”
Spencer–who has no ties to Trump–said he thought the candidate’s statement on America not being a nation unless it has borders was powerful. And, he’s deeply inspired by the way Trump has gained traction without the conservative establishment.
“If identitarians are going to have a future, we have to operate outside those paradigms,” he said. “Trump is demonstrating the bankruptcy of the GOP and Fox News, and showing you don’t need the Bush family.”