In recent campaign remarks, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has linked her opponent, Republican Donald Trump, to the emerging political movement known as the alt-right. Trump doesn't seem to mind the affiliation, despite the movement's extremely controversial profile. The alt-right is unique in its overt embrace of ideas that have been widely characterized as racist, misogynist and xenophobic.
Jules Suzdaltsev sorts through the election-year weirdness in today's Seeker Daily dispatch The basics: The term alt-right, or alternative right, refers to an ultra-conservative populist movement that embraces radical nationalism and opposes seemingly all progressive policies. Unlike previous conservative movements, such as the Tea Party, the alt-right doesn't have an organizational platform or cohesive ideology of its own. In fact, the alt-right is largely defined by what it opposes, namely liberalism and "political correctness."
The movement is also rather unique for existing more-or-less exclusively online, with many of its adherents using outlets like Twitter and 4chan to comment on issues from an anonymous digital remove.
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That said, some alt-right champions are emerging in the public sphere. The movement's most conspicuous spokesperson may be Milo Yiannopoulos, who co-wrote a Breitbart News back in March that's considered by many to be the unofficial alt-right manifesto. Yiannopoulos described a majority of the group's followers as "college educated male intellectuals" who "unapologetically embrace a new identity politics that prioritizes the interests of their own demographic."
Outside observers tend to agree that the movement consists predominantly of white men, although it's thought that most are probably working class and do not have college degrees.
As to why the alt-right has embraced Trump, the candidate's aggressive and unfiltered rhetoric on the campaign trail is surely a factor. It doesn't hurt that Trump also recently appointed the head of Breitbart News as his campaign manager. Alt-right advocates feel disenfranchised by the conservative establishment, and as such consider Trump and Breitbart News to be natural allies.
For more information on right-wing nationalist movements elsewhere in the West, click on over to our earlier report: Why Right-Wing Groups Are On The Rise In Europe.
-- Glenn McDonald
Breitbart News: An Establishment Conservative's Guide To The Alt-Right
The New York Times: Hillary Clinton Denounces the 'Alt-Right,' and the Alt-Right Is Thrilled
NPR: What You Need To Know About The Alt-Right Movement