Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trump and White Supremacists

“Trump, on a gut level, kind of senses that this is about demographics, ultimately. We’re moving into a new America.” He said, “I don’t think Trump is a white nationalist,” but he did believe that Trump reflected “an unconscious vision that white people have—that their grandchildren might be a hated minority in their own country. I think that scares us. They probably aren’t able to articulate it. I think it’s there. I think that, to a great degree, explains the Trump phenomenon."
That comes from a fascinating article by Evan Osnos titled: The Fearful and the Frustrated. The particular quote is from someone named Richard Spencer. Here's how Osnos introduces him:
Richard Spencer is a self-described “identitarian” who lives in Whitefish, Montana, and promotes “white racial consciousness.” At thirty-six, Spencer is trim and preppy, with degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago. He is the president and director of the National Policy Institute, a think tank, co-founded by William Regnery, a member of the conservative publishing family, that is “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of European people in the United States and around the world.” The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Spencer “a suit-and-tie version of the white supremacists of old.
While it is a bit disturbing to find myself agreeing with a white supremacist, Spencer's quote pretty much echoes what I've been saying about Trump's appeal.

Apparently Osnos was doing some reporting on extremist white-rights groups when the whole Trump phenomenon hit. As such, he had a front-row seat to how this dark corner in our country reacted. The upshot of it all is...they love it.
Ever since the Tea Party’s peak, in 2010, and its fade, citizens on the American far right—Patriot militias, border vigilantes, white supremacists—have searched for a standard-bearer, and now they’d found him.
Spencer has gotten a higher profile lately due to the fact that he seems to be the go-to guy on understanding the recent popularity of the hashtag #cuckservative. Here's Dave Weigel explaining:
Late last week, a neologism was born. Twitter was the incubator. "Cuckservative," a portmanteau of "conservative" and "cuckold" (i.e. a man whose wife has cheated on him) burned up Twitter as fans of Donald Trump's politicking warred with the movement conservatives who opposed it...

What is "cuckservatism?"

I'll defer to Richard Spencer, president of the white nationalist National Policy Institute.

"#Cuckservative” is a full-scale revolt, by Identitarians and what I’ve called the 'alt Right,' against the Republican Party and conservative movement," Spencer explained in an e-mail. "The 'cuck' slur is vulgar, yes, but then piercingly accurate. It is the cuckold who, whether knowingly or unknowingly, loses control of his future. This is an apt psychological portrait of white 'conservatives,' whose only identity is comprised of vague, abstract 'values,' and who are participating in the displacement of European Americans — their own children...

According to Spencer, "Trump is a major part of the 'cuckservative' phenomenon — but not because he himself is an Identitarian or traditionalist. His campaign is, in many ways, a backward-looking movement: 'Let’s make America great again!' Why Trump is attractive to Identitarians and the alt Right is: a) he is a tougher, superior man than 'conservatives' (which isn’t saying much), and b) he seems to grasp the demographic displacement of European-Americans on a visceral level. We see some hope there."
Consider yourself on notice. People like Richard Spencer "see some hope" in the likes of Donald Trump. These guys can come up with new names for themselves (i.e., "Identitarians" or "alt Right") and perhaps they don't don sheets and pointy hoods or burn crosses at their gatherings. But make no mistake, it's the same crowd.


  1. I live in Kalispell, Montana, 15 miles from Whitfish. In recent years, this area of Montana has become the home of several white supremacist/separatist/Christian Identity groups. The good news is that Spencer and his ilk have not had much luck impressing the local population. When Spencer and his National Policy Institute garnered national attention in 2014, Love Lives Here in the Flathead, a local affiliate of the Montana Human Rights Network, mobilized the citizens of Whitefish and succeeded in getting the City Council to pass a resolution supporting diversity and tolerance in the community. Granted, Whitefish is possibly one of the least diverse communities in one of the least diverse states in the nation, but it meant something.

  2. The strain of targeted hostility to Latinos and Mexico that runs through Trump's campaign is increasingly disturbing. I don't know if he has real white-supremacist views or not, but he seems to know what he's pandering to, if nothing more. I see Trump as a somewhat Mussolini-like figure, not so much in his ideology as in the nature of his appeal. Fascist/populist movements often rally support by whipping up hatred for a particular minority (in Europe and the Middle East, it's traditionally the Jews). To appeal to Spencer's ilk and the greater number who harbor less explicit forms of the same concerns, targeting the fastest-growing minority in the country is a natural move.