Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump

Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump. David Neiwert

“Donald Trump was the gateway drug for the alt-right,” David Neiwert wrote in October 2017 in this prescient book. The far right has always been there, lurking in the sewers. Trump actively courted and encouraged them. This fit Trump’s plans for power. It was not because he cares about them or their causes, because he doesn’t and never has.

Hey, more than a few Proud Boys (Well named, aren’t they? Boys, not men) who got indicted in the January 6 attempted coup have snivelled that Trump deserted them. Why yes, of course he did. He has no loyalty to anyone except himself.

Rabblerousing the nativist, racist trash on the far right was how Trump got into power. He fell from power. However the alt-right threat still remains. Neiwert has been chroniciling and documenting the far right for years. This book is extensively documented and researched. Reading it now, I was truck at how many familiar names go back many years. Stone, Spencer, Three Percenters, etc. They’ve been at this a long time.

We won a major victory when we toppled Trump. Now we need to drive the alt-right back into its sewers again. David Neiwert explains who they are, where they came from, and how to defeat them.

Lunatic fringe goes mainstream

“Right-wing extremism has always been woven into the American political and social landscape: the nativists, the paranoid conspiracists, the white supremacists, white nationalists, xenophobes, and misogynists. Donald Trump had the charisma to become a national-level coalescing figure for these many threads, and for the first time united them under one banner—his banner. He drew all those elements out of the fringe and into the mainstream of American politics.”

Trump is not fascist primarily because he too self-centered

“Trump himself is not a fascist primarily because he lacks any kind of coherent, or even semi-coherent, ideology, nor has he agitated for a totalitarian one-party state. What he represents instead is a sort of gut-level reactionism that lacks the rigor and absolutism, the demand for ideological purity, that are characteristic of full-bore fascism.

But that does not mean th movement The has unleashed is not potentially dangerously proto-fascist, nor that he is not dangerous to American democracy. Indeed, he has now proved to be more dangerous than an outright fascist, because such a figure would be far less appealing and far less likely to succeed in the current milieu. What Trump has succeeded in doing, by exploiting the strands of right-wing populism in the country, has been to make the large and growing number of proto-fascist groups in America larger and more vicious. In other words he is simultaneously responding to and creating the conditions that could easily lead to the genuine growth of fascism.”