The alt-right is a segment of right-wing ideologies presented as an alternative to mainstream conservatism in the politics of the United States. The alt-right has been described as a movement unified by support for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, as well as opposition to multiculturalism and immigration.
There is no official ideology associated with the alt-right, but various sources have linked it to white nationalism, white supremacism and antisemitism. The alt-right has also been associated with policies such as right-wing populism, libertarianism, nativism and the neoreactionary movement.
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.
In November 2008, Paul Gottfried addressed the H. L. Mencken Club about what he called "the alternative right". In 2009, two more posts at Taki's Magazine, by Patrick J. Ford and Jack Hunter, further discussed the alternative right. 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.
The alt-right lacks an official ideology, and has been described as an "amorphous conservative movement" by Mic, and as "loosely assembled" by The New Yorker. Various sources have stated the alt-right as being composed of elements of white nationalism, white supremacism and antisemitism. The alt-right has also been linked with policies such as right-wing populism, libertarianism, nativism and the neoreactionary movement.
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. 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. Roberto Tracinski of The Federalist states that the alt-right opposes miscegenation and advocates "hard-core" collectivism as well as tribalism.
Use of memes
The alt-right's use of internet memes to advance or express their beliefs, often on websites such as 4chan, has been widely reported. Adherents of the ideology have, for instance, been credited for originating the term cuckservative, a portmanteau of cuckold and conservative. 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. Travis Andrews of the Washington Post also reported that white supremacists from the alt-right had begun calling Taylor Swift an "Aryan goddess". 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.
Although some conservatives have welcomed the alt-right, others on the mainstream right and left have criticized movement as racist or hateful, particularly given the alt-right's overt hostility towards mainstream conservatism and the Republican Party in general.
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." It has also been praised by James Delingpole of The Spectator, who stated the alt-right as being "the vigilantes of conservatism."
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."
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." 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. 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."
Cathy Young, writing in Newsday, called the alt-right "a nest of anti-Semitism" inhabited by "white supremacists" who regularly use "repulsive bigotry". Likewise, Chris Hayes on All In with Chris Hayes described alt-right as a euphemistic term for "essentially modern day white supremacy." 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." 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.
Some sources have connected the alt-right and Gamergate in multiple ways, such as Milo Yiannopoulos' supportive articles on Breitbart. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Breitbart has become the dominant outlet for alt-right views.