What Next? The Alt Right in the Age of Trump

Andrew Joyce, Ph.D.


“We can’t afford to take these statements as the ravings of extremists on the fringes of society. They are now at the gates.”
Richard Cohen, Southern Poverty Law Center

It was the best of times and, for our hostile elites, it was the worst of times. In a movement normally starved of optimism, every ounce of excitement and positivity should be wrung from the victorious march of Trumpism. Whatever may lie ahead, it will remain forever true that Donald Trump’s capture of the White House represented a seismic electoral triumph for our ideas. It is a triumph that has left our shocked adversaries, for the time being, in tactical disarray. Establishment newspapers are replete with the panicked and muffled grieving of irrelevant, discredited journalists. Like the last resort of a teenage attention-seeker, several of the urban centers of American liberal modernity have been reduced to neurotic self-harm. Portland and Indianapolis spasm with tiny tribes of shabby Canutes, who busy themselves nightly in primitive attempts to hold back the cultural tide with tossed bricks and burned trashcans. The authentic and dignified heart of America beats on, hopeful and expectant. The Alt Right, no less surprised than any of the actors in this great drama, stands amidst the wreckage of its opponents. Possessed with unparalleled momentum it is, however, presented with a question of tremendous importance: What next?

Before setting any firm goals or next steps, a useful preliminary measure must be the avoidance of becoming embroiled in an unhealthy focus on whether or not Donald Trump will stick to this or that campaign pledge. Already the comments sections of various Alt Right websites are beginning to fill with the crippling and all-too familiar sights and sounds of scepticism, pessimism, and suspicion. “You’ve been had,” has been the retort of choice for those who see in every Trump staffing choice, or rumored staffing choice, the shadow of Israel and the betrayal of tens of millions of voters. In this vision of things, Donald Trump hijacked our ideas merely to coast to power. Ensconced in the White House, Trump will proceed to use that power for purely selfish reasons, abandoning every pledge to the people in his own vainglorious pursuit of “power for the sake of power,” mammon, and the interests of those in his inner circle. In this bleak, Eeyore vision of our present situation, we are probably even worse off under Trump than we were under Obama. “We’ve been had.”

Such an attitude misunderstands both the nature and motivation of Alt Right support for Donald Trump. It also deprives the movement of agency and responsibility. Against it, I contend that we must avoid becoming overly-invested in the fact of the Trump presidency in either the positive or negative sense. Maintaining such a focus is not only intellectually wrong-footed, but would risk similar myopic miscalculations to those that have hobbled post-Brexit Britain.

Look at Britain today — a nation that has allowed the fact of Brexit to predominate to such an extent that the greater issues of race and immigration have already been lost sight of. The British people voted for Brexit merely as a means to an end; the end being the reclamation of control over the borders and demography of the nation. But the British have been lazy in victory. On a daily basis they allow the “debate” to wallow in the realms of judicial intricacies and trade agreements.

Brexit is thus both a predecessor and an admonition to post-Trump America. America voted for Trump as a means to an end, and it must not be allowed to become overly focussed on the advent of the Trump presidency. Just one week ago, tens of millions of White voters marked their ballots not for a TV billionaire, but for a greater national vision that rejected political correctness and involved redrawing immigration and economic policy in line with their interests. These interests are what we must always return to. Trump is not where we began. He will not be where we end. Our ideas are older than this campaign, and they reach much farther into our national destiny.

Rather than seeing the Trump campaign as a direct political vehicle for our ideas, it may be more helpful for the pessimists, and indeed the optimists, in our ranks to imagine that during the last year the ‘Trump train’ and the Alt Right have been hitched together, travelling on the same track, and in roughly the same direction (though with different final destinations). During that time the Trump carriage has provided us with a powerful engine, greater momentum, and more passengers. I propose that rather than waste energy fretting about the trajectory and final destination of the ‘Trump train,’ which would in any event never fully satisfy our vision of the future, we would do significantly better to focus on the symbiotic benefits of our relationship: that we continue to derive momentum from the Trump engine while gently inviting our increased number of fellow travellers to join us in ‘our carriage.’

Quite apart from policy achievements or how a Trump cabinet looks, ‘Trumpism’ is indisputably a net gain for our movement. The Alt Right and its ideas preceded the Trump campaign. The longevity of the Alt Right will surpass many future presidents. More crucially, we should remember that we have been struggling for cultural change a lot longer than we have been struggling to get one man into the White House. A huge cultural shift has taken place — and that is worth celebrating.

None of the above is meant to negate the value of the ‘Trump train’ or even to imply that it is something fundamentally different from what we are. Quite the opposite. Greater than any other factor in recent memory, Trumpism has revolutionized the socio-political acceptance and expression of a number of our key ideas, shattered several previously impervious taboos, and brought untold millions confidently into a fold so very close to our own. One of the most promising and significant results of this revolution is that there are now many millions of ‘Trumpist’ White Americans who could be politically considered ‘Alt Right’ but currently have no fully-fledged understanding of what that means, or how some of their basic concerns bleed into more complex ideological perspectives. While these many millions of our people don’t necessarily need to understand the minutiae of Alt Right ideology to be politically effective, their ignorance of some of these important understandings does leave us in a state of incomplete socio-cultural revolution. We know that the most important issue for Trump voters at exit polls was immigration. We don’t know how many have grappled seriously with issues of race, identity, and the influence of alien and hostile elites. One of the tasks of the Alt Right in the wake of the Trump victory will be to achieve the further politicization of ‘Trumpists.’ For the foreseeable future, this will undoubtedly require intensive networking and communication between our ‘carriages.’

In order for ‘Trumpism’ to be further utilized in our favor, it must first continue to exist as a movement in its own right. The potential problem here would be that the ‘Trump train’ has already reached its end destination — Trump’s election victory. With Trump in the White House, the movement that galvanized his path to victory could potentially be disbanded. In this scenario, the rallies give way to empty stadia, the red caps slowly gather dust at the back of stuffed suburban closets, and the stagnancy and apathy of neoliberal orthodoxy begins to creep once more over White America.

Countering such a vision, it is a positive sign that Trump aides say the President-elect has “expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that were a staple of his candidacy.” A straightforward, practical, next step for the Alt Right could therefore lie in something as simple as helping to facilitate Trump rallies, pro-Trump events, and discussion forums. Although these events would not be explicitly Alt Right, they would be venues with large numbers of overwhelmingly White attendees with pre-existing concerns about immigration and national identity. By helping provide ongoing momentum for Trumpism, we ensure the continuation of an invaluable vehicle for the cross-germination of our ideas.

As well as obvious policy issues such as “the wall,” some of these ideas must surely revolve around the continued awakening of White America to the hostile elites resolutely opposed to their interests. In just one perfect illustration of such an opponent, before the election veteran anti-White Paul Krugman was a man possessed, wandering the broadsheets like a Hebrew prophet, preaching mendaciously that a Trump victory would usher in a “permanent worldwide recession.” By the time key results trickled in on election night, Krugman was inconsolable, conceding that he “didn’t understand the country we live in,” and pouring scorn on those who voted on the basis of “blood and soil … traditional patriarchy and racial hierarchy.”

Although one could write an article solely on Krugman’s psycho-spiritual distance from authentic America and his response to the Trump triumph, this was an election in which the entire hostile elite patently over-played its hand. Woefully underestimating the strength of residual and implicit White identity, this exposed elite fell victim to a “basket of deplorables” some 59 million strong. If the election campaign itself didn’t fully reveal the nature and origins of anti-White sentiment in the United States, then the immediate aftermath certainly did. Within minutes of the announcement of Trump’s triumph, red cap voters were slandered wholesale by almost every mainstream media outlet in existence. Never in recent memory have the elite and the White masses been more obviously distant. Many Trump supporters rightly feel alienated from, and deeply distrusting of, their elites. A significant role for the Alt Right presence within Trumpism will be to assist the masses in their understanding that these elites aren’t merely different from them, but despise them. Trumpist meetings should become venues in which such hostility is pinpointed and discussed.

Such discussions may now take place in a freer atmosphere. The election of Donald Trump may well be remembered as the day “racism” died, in the sense that that term and similar politicized pejoratives were deployed to exhaustion, and in vain. By fatefully attaching the ‘racism’ label to Trump, and therefore setting the scene for 59 million people to vote for it, the hostile elite ensured the term’s socio-political expiration. And as ‘racism’ sinks into a semantic grave, it may well take the favored stereotype of smug cosmopolitanism with it — the canard of the ‘backward’ and dangerous country bumpkin. Back in April, Salon’s David Masciotra spoke for the hostile elite when he declared Trumpists to be “ignorant and bigoted,” twisted by “intellectual deformities and disfigurements.” It became the calling card of every hostile journalist to slip into their poisonous screeds some more or less discreet reference to the lower number of college-educated people among Trump voters.

By bleating in this manner about “ignorance” the elite did more to reveal their own intellectual shortcomings. One errs in conflating the completion of some obscure course on Feminist Theory with intelligence. One errs even greater by insisting that four years at a modern college consists of “education” more than indoctrination. To the extent that Trump attracted a greater proportion of those without a college education, the truism holds that he attracted a greater proportion of those minds shaped by instinct rather than curricula, by family rather than faculty, and by life rather than theory. In the context of a conquered education system, the ‘lesser educated’ workers and the White dispossessed become our natural constituency. A key task of the Alt Right in the years to come will be to better cultivate its own connections with this constituency.

It is hoped that, in the context of these important facets of our evolving political landscape, it will already be apparent that perhaps too much emphasis has already been laid in some quarters on the question of Donald Trump’s fulfilment of individual policy pledges. Rather than one billionaire wanting to build a wall along the Mexican border, I see it as infinitely more desirable that there be tens of millions of Americans willing to march on Washington to demand that such a wall be built. We know that 59 million Americans voted for a man who claimed, in more or less explicit terms, that he would reshape the American immigration system in favor of Whites. Pathological altruism, although powerful, is not yet overwhelming. This revelation is both a boon to our cause and a direction for action. Although the achievement of tangible political goals is a crucial general strategic objective, the movement of the last year has been, on our part at least, an effort to place our ideas in the cultural ascendency. Having achieved that goal, we must not lose sight of it. It is reassuring that recent reports suggest that Trump voters are insistent that he follow through on his vows to take action to reduce immigration, deport illegals, and put U.S. trade interests first. In terms of policy, the Alt Right’s present task is therefore not the impossible challenge of micro-managing the Trump presidency, but rather to steer the nature of Trumpism and its supporters for both short-term and long-term policy objectives.

In light of these objectives, and the fact that social and political contexts have never been better, the time is ripe for the greater representation of our ideas in Washington. In keeping with the arguments presented above, this does not mean that we place all of our eggs in the Trump basket. Rather, we should look at our existing structures and seek to bring them to their fullest potential. The National Policy Institute is an excellent example of an organization whose moment has arrived. An important think tank, and an exceptional representative of our ideas in the public eye, NPI could, with the talent of its leaders and the generosity of its supporters, evolve into a more coherent political lobby with a permanent base in D.C.

And make no mistake, lobbying will be needed. If four years from now no tangible policy changes have been made in favor of White America, the fault will not lie exclusively with the ‘betrayal’ of our people by Donald Trump and the Republican Congress, but also, if not more so, with the failure of the Alt Right to seize its golden opportunities. As outlined above, NPI should exploit a symbiotic relationship with Trumpism and Trumpists — both promoting itself among the “MAGA caps” and, in turn, promoting their interests in the nation’s capital.

While maintaining our own momentum, we should seek at every turn to dampen the momentum of our opponents. One of the more enjoyable and insightful features of the Trump campaign was the demoralizing and often crippling impact of concerted social media challenges against anti-White activists, particularly those in media and politics. Simply dismissing this activity as “trolling” underestimates the often sophisticated thought behind it, and neglects to appreciate its impact. Alt Right social media activity during the Trump campaign not only notched up several high profile anti-White ‘casualties,’ it also put the Alt Right on the media map. It infuriated, unsettled and, in some cases, gagged journalists and intellectuals who would otherwise have been extremely active in pushing anti-Trump and anti-White propaganda.

Even if one continues to perceive it as a merely trivial activity, it is a ‘trivial’ activity that consumed disproportionate energy, time and resources in organizations like the ADL and the SPLC — organizations that may otherwise have been using that time to teach your children that ‘Whiteness’ should be eradicated. All things considered, organized social media action has earned its place in the Alt Right tactical arsenal, and one of the challenges we face will be how to maintain the scale and effectiveness of such action post-election.

The thoughts presented here are not prescriptions for action, but a plea for the maintenance of focus on the broader picture, and the longer haul. Above all, it is argued that a tunnel vision of the fact of the Trump victory, either positive or negative, would be harmful to our cause. Many benefits have already been derived from the Trump campaign and triumph, and many more can be derived from it. But this continued success can only be ensured via a healthy detachment from what remains an unpredictable political class, and an insistence on our own agency and our own responsibilities. Richard Cohen at the Southern Poverty Law Center has argued that Trump has brought the Alt Right to “the gates.” In many respects he did. But it will fall to us to tear them down.

And we will

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