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The alt-right is a segment of right-wing ideologies[2] presented as an alternative to mainstream conservatism in the politics of the United States.[2] The alt-right has been described as a movement unified by support for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump,[3][4][5] as well as opposition to multiculturalism and immigration.[6]

There is no official ideology associated with the alt-right, but various sources have linked it to white nationalism,[7][8] white supremacism[3][6][9] and antisemitism.[3][6][10] The alt-right has also been associated with policies such as right-wing populism,[7][11] libertarianism,[12][13] nativism[14] and the neoreactionary movement.[9][15]

The alt-right has been said to be a largely online movement and internet memes are widely used to advance or express their beliefs, often on websites such as 4chan; much of the coverage of the alt-right has focused on the memes it has produced.[3][9][10][16][17][18]




In November 2008, Paul Gottfried addressed the H. L. Mencken Club about what he called "the alternative right".[19][20] In 2009, two more posts at Taki's Magazine, by Patrick J. Ford and Jack Hunter, further discussed the alternative right.[21][22] The term's modern usage is most commonly attributed to white nationalist and self-described "identitarian" Richard B. Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute and founder of Alternative Right.[7][23]


The alt-right lacks an official ideology, and has been described as an "amorphous conservative movement"[24] by Mic, and as "loosely assembled"[7] by The New Yorker. Various sources have stated the alt-right as being composed of elements of white nationalism,[6][8] white supremacism[3][6][9] and antisemitism.[3][6][10] The alt-right has also been linked with policies such as right-wing populism,[7][11] libertarianism,[12][13] nativism[14] and the neoreactionary movement.[2][13][15]

Jeet Heer of The New Republic, discussing the origins of support for Donald Trump, identifies the alt-right as having ideological origins among paleoconservatives, particularly when it comes to restricting immigration and supporting a more openly nationalistic foreign policy.[25] Newsday columnist Cathy Young also notes the alt-right's strong opposition to both legal and illegal immigration, and their hard-line stance on the European migrant crisis.[6] Roberto Tracinski of The Federalist states that the alt-right opposes miscegenation and advocates "hard-core" collectivism as well as tribalism.[26]

Commonalities shared across the otherwise loosely defined alt-right include a disdain for mainstream politics and strong support for Donald Trump's presidential campaign.[4][5]

Use of memes

The alt-right's use of internet memes to advance or express their beliefs, often on websites such as 4chan,[18] has been widely reported.[3][9][10][16][17] Adherents of the ideology have, for instance, been credited for originating the term cuckservative, a portmanteau of cuckold and conservative.[2][10][27] Another example is triple parentheses or "echoes," an antisemitic shorthand used to identify and target Jews online, which originated on the blog The Right Stuff.[3][8][10][24] Travis Andrews of the Washington Post also reported that white supremacists from the alt-right had begun calling Taylor Swift an "Aryan goddess".[18] The prevalence of memes in alt-right circles has lead some commentators to doubt whether the alt-right itself is a serious movement rather than just an alternative way to express traditionally conservative beliefs.[7][9][10]


Although some conservatives have welcomed the alt-right, others on the mainstream right and left have criticized movement as racist or hateful,[6] particularly given the alt-right's overt hostility towards mainstream conservatism and the Republican Party in general.[2]

David A. French called alt-right proponents "wanna-be fascists" and bemoaned their entry into the national political conversation.[28]

The alt-right has been praised by Benjamin Welton of The Weekly Standard, who described the group as a "highly heterogeneous force" that refuses to "concede the moral high ground to the left."[2] It has also been praised by James Delingpole of The Spectator, who stated the alt-right as being "the vigilantes of conservatism."[29]

Benjamin Wallace-Wells, writing for The New Yorker, described it as a "loosely assembled far-right movement," but said that its differences from the conventional right-wing in American politics was more a matter of style than substance, saying that "One way to understand the alt-right is not as a movement but as a collective experiment in identity, in the same way that many people use anonymity on the Internet to test more extreme versions of themselves."[7]

Professor George Hawley of the University of Alabama suggested that the alt-right may pose a greater threat to progressivism than the mainstream conservative movement.[30]


Ian Tuttle, writing in National Review, states that "The Alt-Right has evangelized over the last several months primarily via a racist and antisemitic online presence. But for Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos, the Alt-Right consists of fun-loving provocateurs, valiant defenders of Western civilization, daring intellectuals—and a handful of neo-Nazis keen on a Final Solution 2.0, but there are only a few of them, and nobody likes them anyways."[31] Bokhari and Yiannopoulos describe Jared Taylor, founder of American Renaissance, and Richard B. Spencer, founder of Alternative Right, as representative of intellectuals in the alt-right.[31][32] Cathy Young, writing for The Federalist, states that a website named RadixJournal replaced the Alternative Right website, and describes a RadixJournal article on abortion which proclaimed that the pro-life position is "'dysgenic,' since it encourages breeding by 'the least intelligent and responsible' women."[33]

Cathy Young, writing in Newsday, called the alt-right "a nest of anti-Semitism" inhabited by "white supremacists" who regularly use "repulsive bigotry".[6] Likewise, Chris Hayes on All In with Chris Hayes described alt-right as a euphemistic term for "essentially modern day white supremacy."[34] Similarly, BuzzFeed reporter Rosie Gray describes the alt-right as "white supremacy perfectly tailored for our times," saying that it uses "aggressive rhetoric and outright racial and anti-Semitic slurs," and notes that it has "more in common with European far-right movements than American ones."[35] Yishai Schwartz, writing for Haaretz, described the alt-right as "vitriolically anti-Semitic," saying that "The 'alternative' that the alt-right presents is, in large part, an alternative to acceptance of Jews," and warned that it must be taken seriously as a threat.[13]

Some sources have connected the alt-right and Gamergate in multiple ways, such as Milo Yiannopoulos' supportive articles on Breitbart.[33][32][27] According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Breitbart has become the dominant outlet for alt-right views.[36]


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Created: July 29, 2016, 1:55 a.m.
Last Modified: May 22, 2017, 10:32 p.m.