Election 2016

Hillary Clinton to Give Alt-Right Recruitment Speech

As Clinton condemns a far-right movement, she'll be giving it a signal boost.

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Jesse Walker

Tomorrow in Reno, Hillary Clinton will speak about—as her press office put it—"Donald Trump and his advisors' embrace of the disturbing 'alt-right' political philosophy." Whether or not that speech helps Clinton's presidential bid, it will almost certainly help the alt-right.

I suppose I should pause here to define "alt-right." This is a tricky task, because the meaning has drifted a bit over time. It's short for "alternative right," a phrase that first started percolating in conversations and emails around 2008; I usually see it attributed to the far-right writer Richard Spencer, though I can't say for sure that he coined it. The backdrop was the slow decay of the paleoconservative movement, a wing of the right that had spent the '80s and '90s arguing that the conservative mainstream was too globalist and too egalitarian. In the twilight of the second Bush administration, one of the old paleos, Paul Gottfried, delivered a speech that called on a young "post-paleo" right to battle the conservative establishment without getting mired in the intellectual cul-de-sacs that he felt had ensnared his generation. The speech itself did not include the phrase "alternative right," but when Taki's published the text it used "The Decline and Rise of the Alternative Right" as its headline. (At that point Spencer was managing editor of Taki's.) Early on, some writers used the phrase in that broad sense, roping in everyone from young Buchananites to the Ron Paul movement. But by the time Spencer started a site called Alternative Right, the easiest definition of "alt-right" was "the stuff Richard Spencer believes." And more and more, Spencer's politics were not just post-paleo but explicitly white nationalist.

The meaning mutated again when the phrase caught on in some neighborhoods of 4chan, an online haven for pranksters who enjoy being offensive for its own sake; the connotations of "alt-right" now included a bunch of 4chan memes and inside jokes, and at times a dose of irony. (While most alt-rightists are completely serious about their politics, with the channer component it isn't always clear if someone believes what he's spouting or is trolling you.) Since then the alt-right's boundaries have grown only blurrier. (If you want to spark an esoteric argument, ask a bunch of right-wing-watchers if they think the neoreactionaries are a part of the alternative right or a distinct movement.) In the last year I've seen all sorts of online subcultures described as alt-rightists, whether or not the designation makes sense. Vox's "explainer" on the alt-right devotes a couple thousand words to neoreaction and a couple hundred words to Gamergate; Spencer is mentioned just once.

In any event, the core of the alt-right tends to like Trump, and there are people on Team Trump who like them back. Notably, there is former Breitbart chief Steve Bannon, recently hired as Trump's campaign CEO, who has called Breitbart "the platform for the alt-right." Bannon definition of "alt-right" might not be the same as Spencer's—he says he sees the central idea just as nationalism, not racial nationalism—but like I said, the meaning tends to drift.

After Clinton's speech, it's likely to drift still further. For part of the country, "alt-right" will mean "those creepy Trump fans." For another part, it will mean "someone who's got Hillary really hot and bothered…hmm. Maybe I should look into them." Yesterday the racist site VDare greeted the news of Clinton's speech with the words "It's happening." One of VDare's Twitter followers replied, "shall we tell our grand children one day that Clinton did more to build the alt-right brand than Trump?"

That's what happens when you take an obscure political faction and make them the starring villain in a speech by the presidential frontrunner: You give them a signal boost. You promote them from internet fringe to center of gravity. You build up their myth. As the '60s radical Jerry Rubin, co-founder of the Yippies, put it in another context, "To build their myth they exaggerate our myth—they create a Yippie Menace. The menace helps create the reality." The left's best organizer, Rubin declared, was George Wallace. When he attacked them, he made them seem larger.

Needless to say, the benefits flowed both ways. (Wallace once told some Yippie hecklers, "Some of your actions tonight have helped me get a lot of votes.") It's entirely possible that Clinton's speech will help her politically. Most voters who take a look at the alt-right are going to be repelled by what they see, and if they associate it with Trump they'll be motivated to vote against him. That's the way polarization politics works: Two opposing sides grow at the expense of everyone else.

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137 responses to “Hillary Clinton to Give Alt-Right Recruitment Speech

  1. “(If you want to spark an esoteric argument, ask a bunch of right-wing-watchers if they think the neoreactionaries are a part of the alternative right or a distinct movement.)”

    SPLITTERS!

  2. “I usually see it attributed to to the far-right writer Richard Spencer, though I can’t say for sure that he coined it.”

    I thought Paul Gottfried said it first.

    1. I’m pretty sure it was Paul Gottfried who first coined the term alt-right. It is more than a little ironic that a largely anti-Semitic tendency owes their name to a Jewish thinker.

  3. You know who else wanted to take the Right in a bold new direction?

    1. Baudelaire?

    2. Captain Kirk?

  4. A few hundred part-time shitposters who troll Twitter and Disqus with frog memes and call people cuckolds. Truly a pressing issue of these times.

    1. That’s the thing. They wanted more than anything else to be taken seriously.

      Thanks, Hillary.

      1. The alt-right has already effectively taken over the campaign of one of the major parties’ nominees for president. I’m not really sure how much more “seriously” they think they can be taken.

        1. I’m not really sure how much more “seriously” they think they can be taken.

          Winning would probably be a start.

        2. The alt-right has already effectively taken over the campaign of one of the major parties’ nominees for president.

          That’s a tad hyperbolic, no?

          1. there is former Breitbart chief Steve Bannon, recently hired as Trump’s campaign CEO, who has called Breitbart “the platform for the alt-right.”

            If you consider Breitbart to be the platform of the alt right, then it is not hyperbolic.

            1. And what has been the effect on Trump’s platform so far?

              1. I am confused. Bannon was given the job of running Trump’s campaign, therefore he has taken over Trump’s campaign. Is that incorrect? I am sure we will find out the level of influence Bannon has after Hillary’s alt right speech, because I assume Bannon and his website will be mentioned a few times.

                1. You know, I never really took the idea of these white nationalists and/or alt-rightists ever gaining anything other than being the go-to villains of B-Movie plots.

                  Now I am faced with the idea that Trump and his ego-trip non-campaign can light sparks to fires that were dying..

                  =(

                2. Don’t conflate the alt-right with either Bannon or Breitbart. Bannon is not a ‘thought leader’ within the movement, and, from what I gather, is more of an ideological mercenary than anything else.

                  Again, look at the past few weeks. Trump’s “softening” his immigration stance combined with his historic unflinching support of Israel [(((Trump)))?], where is the influence of the soi-disant alt-right?

                  1. I have yet to buy into the “Trump is a racist!!!” theory … but he has perhaps awakened a few folks who would be better off slumbering?

                    1. Nope, the alt-right’s always been around. In fact, I doubt they would have any support for a pro-Israel businessman with a Jewish daughter if the left didn’t constantly associate him with racism.

                      The media screamed ‘racist white xenophobe’ and the alt-right replied ‘finally, someone who represents my interests!’

                  2. HM, policy aside, Trump has a person associated with the alt right movement running his campaign. That act alone has meaning.

                    1. The Libertarian Moment?! Ye gads!

                    2. HM, policy aside, Trump has a person associated with the alt right movement running his campaign. That act alone has meaning.

                      Oh, I don’t deny that at all. I just wonder if Trump will be able to successfully ride the tiger without being bit.

                    3. Ride the Lightening = best Metallica album

                    4. I think Master of Puppets was the best. Ride the Lightening was still very good, though.

                    5. You’re both wrong. ReLoad was the best.

                      I’m kidding! Only kidding!

                    6. I want to troll with “St Anger” but I can’t even write that sentence without pain.

                    7. Apparently none of you have ever heard the greatest Metallica album, Lulu.

      2. They already got that when they drove a few National Review writers and GOP consultants like Rick Wilson to repeated meltdowns in public. Now comes the icing on the cake.

      3. Exactly. Make them more powerful. Great.

        1. I’m trying to parse this in Trump-ese. Make them more powerful Great again?

      4. They sold their soul to the Devil.

      5. The woman can’t seem to do anything right. Except barely stay out of jail, I guess.

        1. She’s only going down when she’s out of favors and influence to peddle, and she’ll probably die before that happens.

          1. She only goes down on Huma

            1. “Would”

  5. If the Clinton campaign can tie the Trump campaign to the alt-right — which Trump has made relatively easy by actually promoting (er… “suggesting”) some of the loonier conspiracy theories that float around the alt-right-o-sphere — then this will likely benefit her. Heck, she can just read verbatim articles from Breitbart over the past year.

    1. That’d most likely bring more people to the Trump camp, than anything else.

  6. I wish I wasn’t repulsed (if somewhat also amused) by these people, because they have the absolute coolest name for their movement…the Dark Enlightenment.

    Seriously, it sounds like what future generations would call the rise of the Sith and the destruction of the old order of peace and prosperity in favor of an oppressive new totalitarian regime that promotes social darwinism and teaches necromancy in high school. It just sounds so badass to me.

    1. Badass until you actually think about living through what they advocate for… then it sounds foreboding.

      1. Try not to imagine Milo Yiannopoulis as Neil Patrick Harris from Starship Troopers.

        1. I just came a little.

        2. Would you like to know more, daddy?

      2. Well we seem to be getting to live through what the other side advocates for… and that ain’t any better.

    2. There is actually some overlap between DE and libertarianism. Both are suspicious of democracy. But the neo-monarchist stuff loses me.

      1. You know who else was suspicious of democracy?

        1. Anakin Skywalker?

      2. In fairness, democracy got us Trump and Hillary… so…

      3. Monarchism creates opportunities for regicide.

        1. To the barricades!

      4. Well, given the current crop of candidates, enlightened despotism may be a little tempting.

    3. Wouldn’t a “Dark Enlightenment” be the “Obscurement”?

  7. …roping in everyone from young Buchananites to the Ron Paul movement.

    News. Letters.

  8. Question for the group: Does Hillary hear her own dogwhistles?

    1. Like when she said “colored people time” at one of her campaign events to a room full of African Americans?

      Nah bruh. She’s just a dumbass with a bootlicking media covering her ass. She has no idea that she is actually a racist.

    1. You mean, “alt right text”!

  9. The progressives practically created the alt-right with their retarded race based grievance mongering, and blame whitey philosophy. They made it legit to judge people by race again, and act surprised when a pro-white movement comes along with the saw basic ideology.

    The alt-right are just another side of the progressive/SJW coin.

    1. Mainstream conservativism helped create them by being spineless and unable to offer any counter beyond appeals to abstract principles that don’t mean crap to “conservatives” anyway.

      Oh, and don’t try to Horseshoe Theory them or they’ll mock you mercilessly.

      1. Until this modern crop of SJW retards came around it was no longer considered legit to judge people by race. The goal was supposed to be a color blind society. Now the SJWs call that racist. Now in mainstream politics it’s now ok to treat people different due to their race.

        They created an opening for the alt-right to enter the mainstream. If it’s ok to be pro-black in politics nowadays then you really don’t have much ground to criticize someone for being pro-white in politics.

        They’re basically pro-white SJWs.

        1. “Until this modern crop of SJW retards came around it was no longer considered legit to judge people by race. The goal was supposed to be a color blind society. Now the SJWs call that racist. Now in mainstream politics it’s now ok to treat people different due to their race.”

          This may be backwards, it was pretty much an open-secret that it was fine for minority groups to have their own organizations. As that charade has faded, SJWs just came out into the open.

          Politicians saying whites need to be a minority has probably accelerated this process too.

        2. Re: pro-white SJWs.

          I disagree. To me, SJW contains within it a kind of mission to shove their opinions down others’ throats and crossing the boundary from defense into offense. Right now, the alt-right is not winning, so they do not have the power to shove opinions down others’ throats. They might, in several years, but right now, they’re too marginal. From what I can tell, they perceive themselves to be playing defense at this time.

          Of course, white supremacists are playing offense–but they too do not have enough social power to really lord their beliefs over everyone like the transgender movement does (a tiny fraction of a percent of the population is getting laws passed that control the vastly larger majority–that’s SJW power).

      2. I had come to believe that the alt-right were the uppity ones who didn’t show proper respect to their Progressive masters

        1. Stop fantasizing. Most of them were either apolitical or recruited from disappointed libertarians and conservatives.

          Want to prevent them from becoming more and more relevant in politics? Figure out effective ways to fight identity politics and leftoid domination of media and education.

          1. Milo is called alt-right by some, and he is fighting the things you mention. Is he not effective, too lonely, or not what you call alt-right?

            1. Many on the alt-right have no use for a flamboyant homosexual with Jewish lineage, who boasts of his attraction to Black men. Milo would be as out of place at an alt-right gathering, as Bill Clinton would be at a conference on monogamy.

              1. You know who else had no use for flamboyant Jewish homosexuals?

              2. but Milo identifies as Catholic! He even wears a cross.

          2. Most progressices think libertarians are alt right. Just not being a feminist and opposing affirmative action or disagreeing with the notion of white privilege makes you alt right in the minds of many of them. If you’re not progressive and you’re not John Kasich, you’re probably considered alt right.

            1. Libertarians aren’t alt-right, but many alt-rightists have libertarian backgrounds. A number of folks who identify with the alt-right have a fondness for Hoppe and ,despite his Jewish ethnicity, the late Murray Rothbard.

        2. Well they can learn about the proper respect when Hillary sends them to the camps….

    2. “The alt-right are just another side of the progressive/SJW coin.”

      ^SO MUCH THIS!!!!!

  10. Well ok. I had an ad banner to the right describing this product thusly (emphasis mine):

    MealSquares is a “nutritionally complete” food that contains a balanced diet worth of nutrients in a few tasty easily measurable units. Think Soylent, except zero preparation, made with natural ingredients, and looks/tastes a lot like an ordinary scone.

    WHAT?!?!

    Now I have to buy some.

    1. That stuff as been around for a while, bro.

        1. It’s new to me. I’m more interested in the marketing strategy.

          “Think processed dead people, only presumably not.”

          1. It tastes like a cake batter ice cream smoothie, in case you’re curious.

            1. I’ll admit that I haven’t tried MS in a few years, but when i did, it was a brick of awful. The taste was okay, but the density, consistency, and dryness was awful. I heard that they did something to improve it so it had a fluffier texture, but I never tried.

              But, Soylent (particuarly 2.0) is pretty good. And the new Soylent bar is good too; decent consistency and a tasty caramel flavor.

              1. The mealsquares on the webpage look light and fluffy like a scone. The ones i got were dense enough that you could’ve used one to pound a nail into a 2×4.

    2. you know there’s a food product called Soylent for real, right? https://www.soylent.com/

    3. For when mixing shit with water is too onerous?

  11. Don’t get too smug folks. I’d be willing to bet she’ll lump libertarians in with alt-righters.

    You know, gun lovers, people who don’t love the govt, people who don’t want to hand out automatic convictions for rape, etc. To the left we all spring from the same well of filth.

    1. The thing is because the left calls everyone who disagrees with them racists, then for all I know the alt-right are a bunch nice guys.

      One day we’re going to have one those “boy cried wolf” moments with the left calling everyone racist.

      1. It’s currently going on with them having called Romney, Bush II, McCain extremist nutball fascist etc and then Trump shows up

        1. And honestly how bad is Trump really? At worst he’s just a inconsistent opportunist that is willing to say whatever he can to get elected. Maybe he’s being honest and is just an American nationalist, is that so bad?

          Whats going to happen when an actual hardcore racist runs for president? Whats going to happen when the Alt-Right becomes a major force in American politics?

          1. Whats going to happen when an actual hardcore racist runs for president? Whats going to happen when the Alt-Right becomes a major force in American politics?

            “Well,” the pundit class will say, “forget what we said about George HW Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, Mike Rowe, Tim Tebow, Scotty McCreary, and Tim Tebow Jr. This new guy REALLY IS racist-sexist-homophobic this time.”

            With our collective luck, that’ll be the first time voters don’t believe the media on that subject.

          2. Whats going to happen when an actual hardcore racist runs for president?

            Germany offers an alliance to Mexico and then we enter the European theater of the Great War?

              1. I was going to go with “We get a New Deal and throw a bunch of minority citizens in concentration camps” or “We significantly escalate our kinetic military action in Vietnam”. Damn your fast fingers.

          3. You mean Barack Obama?

      2. We need some sort of counter-derogatory term to throw at the race-baiters who purposefully demonize their opponents as racists. “Race-baiter” is not offensive enough–it doesn’t carry enough weight or as much weight as “racist” does.

        1. How about “Master Race-baiter”

        2. Racialists? Metaracists? Racists?

      3. It isn’t just that they falsely accuse people of being racist to humiliate them and shut them up (“racist” basically occupies the same place in political discourse that “fag” did in middle school discourse when I was that age), it’s that they act as though racism is the only evil in the world and the one that Ttrumps all others. If one candidate uses the n-word and one candidate sadistically murders a hundred people for fun, they’ll back the psychopath, because Tolerance (appropriately qualified so they can justify their own hate) is a god, not a virtue.

    2. This morning I heard about the Anne Arundel Co, Maryland school who approved letting girls with dicks rooming with girls without dicks on school sponsored overnight trips, and that parents aren’t allowed to know which girls have dicks.

      At the same time, they tell us about the crisis that 5 out of every 4 girls without dicks will be sexually assaulted by guys with dicks, and that those perpetrators should be punished even without evidence.

      The only sense I can make of this is that when a guy with a dick calls himself a girl, xe is transformed into a morally pure person who would never even offend, let alone assault, another person. Unless you tell them ‘no.’

    3. To the camps for all of you.

      I’m guessing that deep down progressives hate libertarians MORE than they do conservatives…

      1. They definitely hate us more but we are not easy targets. Making them look stupid time and again tends to make them not pick fights with you.

  12. As if Hillary is some sort of “centrist.” Not too long ago, “free college” and “subsidized health care for illegal aliens” and opening the borders to millions of Third Worlders would have been considered “extreme,” and a huge chunk of alt-right ideas would have been considered common sense. There’s plenty of science indicating that on average people of different races differ in ways beyond skin color, etc. Evolution does not stop before it gets to brains.

    I find it hilarious that people are called “racists” and even “white supremacists” or “Nazis” for pointing out that Ashkenazic Jews and East Asians tend to score higher on intelligence tests (on average) on intelligence tests than “whites.” It’s pretty poor racial supremacy that says your race is #3 in the IQ sweepstakes.

    1. I was pretty young at the time, but I don’t think “The Bell Curve” was greeted as common sense.

      1. I don’t think 98% of the people talking about it knew what it was actually about, so whether or not they agreed with it, they wouldn’t greet it as common sense

        1. I haven’t met any leftists who know what Citizens United or Glass-Steagall is actually about, but they sure are programmed to mindlessly hate the former and love the latter.

  13. I blame GamerGate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for this.

    1. Vox already did.

      Of course GamerGate did help break the stranglehold leftist troll mobs like Weird Twitter had on that place for years, which indirectly helped the rise of alt right shitposting.

  14. Hillary giving a speech on the alt-right feels like a football team up ten points in the fourth quarter throwing the football on every down.

    1. “You guys look like a couple of retards trying to hump a doorknob!”

      Dodgeball was a film for the ages. The ages, I tell you!

  15. “I suppose I should pause here to define “alt-right.””

    Three paragraphs later… all I know is that some of them like Trump.

    Blah, blah, blah, paleo, blah, 4chan, blah post-paleo, blah, Buchananites, blah, neo-reactionaries.

    Didn’t consider just defining them?

    1. People who are right wing but dislike Republicans. So racists and libertarians.

      1. So racists and libertarians.

        No need to be redundant.

  16. Say what you will about the tenets of the alt-right, at least it’s an ethos.

    And their propaganda is so dumb it’s awesome.

    1. “Shit the fuck up, Donny: you’re out of your element!”

  17. Whatchoo talkin” bout Willis?

  18. The phrase “alt-right” will be come the new “racist” or “neo-con”. Regardless of the original meaning, it will mean “someone I don’t agree with”.

    1. Well since HRC out neo-cons the actual neocons, they do need a new moniker.

    2. Just tweeted something similar to fruit sushi earlier. Alt-right, like “neocon” and its grandpa “fascism”, is essentially meaningless but we all know it’s bad. Real bad.

    3. Don’t forget “neoliberal”.

  19. What does Andrea Castillo think?

  20. Weigal also has an alt-right article. I like it. It makes the alt-right sound like a fun new board game.

    1. Since, judging by the handle, you are an authority: is cuck an immigration-specific term as Weigel is alleging? I thought it was more generally about “conservative” politicians who like to let the opposition have its way with their constituents even when they have the power to stop it. John Roberts, for instance.

      1. My impression is that you have it right. I suppose it could depend on the context.

        Whatever it means, the important part is that it leaves National Review types howling with rage. Which probably accounts for it’s persistence.

      2. I’ve also seen NRxers define cuckservatives as: “Non-Racist Conservatives” they use more words to get to that point (if you’ve ever read Yarvin you know he says nothing briefly) but it seems to be the gist of it. I think at this point it’s just entering “general insult” territory.

  21. According to my web browser’s interface, Alt-Right is the way forward.

  22. My mothers neighbour is working part time and averaging $9000 a month. I’m a single mum and just got my first paycheck for $6546! I still can’t believe it. I tried it out cause I got really desperate and now I couldn’t be happier. Heres what I do,

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  23. The meaning mutated again when the phrase caught on in some neighborhoods of 4chan, an online haven for pranksters who enjoy being offensive for its own sake

    Oh, we should invite them over.

  24. Just what did Robert Spencer do to deserve the loaded label of “far right”?

  25. Most progressives think libertarians are alt right. Just not being a feminist and opposing affirmative action or disagreeing with the notion of white privilege makes you alt right in the minds of many of them. If you’re not progressive and you’re not John Kasich, you’re probably considered alt right.

    This. In spades.

    Everyone here is ‘alt right’ to the left. Every single one of you.

    The ‘good’ people on the right are, quite literally, right-in-name-only. ‘Sleeper’ agents for leftism. Every person who is not one of them is the vilest villain to ever be vilifiable.

    And that includes the entire reason commentariat except the lefties scattered throughout like Tony and Nick.

    There’s no halfway with them–either you love Big Brother, or you don’t.

    And they think the right is the same, so that’s the way they report on it and act on it.

    The actual, core ‘alt-right’ is tiny, and it’s comprised of the usual suspects–but it’s reported on as if it’s a huge groundswell of racism and ignorance–because the left automatically lumps groups together–they’re collectivists, they see collectives.

    The people Hillary is going to speak against are just standard republicans or right leaning people. THAT’S why it’ll be a good thing for the right.

    1. If you think of the alt-right as “vaguely conservative edgelord half-brights” you’ll be pretty on target. They’re getting attention because they’re incredibly loud and a very valuable enemy to some people.

  26. We are the alt-right. Come with us if you want to live.

    https://youtu.be/wOmSxGoYGeY

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  28. Legal experts have suggested that if Congress has the power to require individuals to buy health care insurance, it may also mandate that Americans buy broccoli. Legal experts have suggested that if Congress has the power to require individuals to buy health care insurance, it may also mandate that Americans buy broccoli. Legal experts have suggested that if Congress has the power to require individuals to buy health care insurance, it may also mandate that Americans buy broccoli. – – – – ????? 2017????? 2017

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