Dave Weigel, Washington Post, August 28, 2016
Hillary Clinton’s highly touted address on the “alternative right” sparked debates in every corner of American politics. For some commentators on the left, such as the historian Rick Perlstein, Clinton’s decision to cleave “mainstream” conservatism from the alts was an unforced blunder.
For the alt-right and its allies–a group that temporarily included Republicans who accused Clinton of a strange diversion–the speech helped elevate a fringe. Jared Taylor, the editor of American Renaissance, told The Washington Post before the speech that his colleagues were taking bets on whether they’d be name-checked. After the speech, he was simply bemused.
“She seems to be running against Nigel Farage and Alex Jones for president,” Taylor said. “And maybe Steve Bannon.”
VDare, which had asked readers to donate to the site in advance of the speech, found another reason to declare it a failure.
“What Clinton single-handedly did is give the movement the greatest publicity and legitimacy it’s had in years,” wrote VDare’s James Kirkpatrick. “She also specifically designated George W. Bush and John McCain as the kind of good loser conservatives she wants Republicans to act like. In other words, she praised them for being the collaborators they are.”
Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, had the same take.
“The Alt Right as a moniker of resistance is here to stay,” Spencer said. “Hillary just ensured that; there will be more and more people, with various perspectives, adopting it. At this point in history, the ‘Alt’ is just as important as the ‘Right.’ Hillary aligned herself with George W. Bush and John McCain. The Alt Right is the real opposition. We’ve made it, I never thought this would happen so quickly.”