Donald Trump’s Alt-Right Brain

Editorial Board, New York Times, September 5, 2016

Donald Trump has devoted most of the past two weeks to discussing immigration, even though only 8 percent of Americans rank it as “the most important problem facing this country today,” according to a recent Gallup poll.

But within that thin slice of the electorate reside Mr. Trump’s staunchest supporters, the “alternative right,” or alt-right. {snip}

The term was coined in 2008 by Richard Spencer, a white supremacist whose National Policy Institute says it is “dedicated to the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world.” Through his online writings and YouTube channel, Mr. Spencer is a key player in the social-media universe where this core group of Trump supporters get their “news,” from sources with which most people aren’t familiar. A quick scan shows that immigration is not only their most important issue, it’s pretty much their only issue.

“Immigration is a kind of proxy war–and maybe a last stand–for White Americans, who are undergoing a painful recognition that, unless dramatic action is taken, their grandchildren will live in a country that is alien and hostile,” Mr. Spencer wrote in a National Policy Institute column.

{snip}

There aren’t enough of these people to put Mr. Trump in the White House. But his candidacy has granted them the legitimacy they have craved for years. For the first time, a candidate is using a major-party megaphone to shout the ideas they once could only mutter among themselves in the shadowy fringes of national debate.

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