What IS the “alt right,” apart from aggrieved progressive smear jobs?

From Denyse O’Leary at MercatorNet:

The term “alt right” is thrown around a lot these days to account for Donald Trump’s winning the U.S. presidency. Mainstream media, blindsided by results they should have been able to predict, are deflecting blame. Many conjure a vast, shadowy, menacing group that propelled Trump to power in hidden ways. A more accurate story is more complex—and far more of a problem for the generic worldview of current mainstream media.

So what actually is the alt right?

First, there really is such a movement. Recently, I discussed efforts by alt right groups to use the recent election to promote Christian racism, aiming at white working class voters who feel disenfranchised.  Just after the election, Twitter purged a number of alt right accounts, including that of Richard Spencer, head of a think tank focused on white identity and related policy issues.

“An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right” by Allum Bokhari & Milo Yiannopoulos offers some background to the movement at Breitbart: The most influential thinkers they follow are Oswald Spengler (1880–1936), H.L Mencken (1880–1956), Julius Evola (1898–1974), and Sam Francis (1947–2005). None of these iconoclastic figures seems likely to become a cultural icon of typical Americans who voted for Trump.

It gets even more ridiculous whe one considers the specifics. Veep Mike Pence is a creationist. And, put simply, one can’t be alt right if one is a creationist.

So the core alt right constituency is disaffected, underemployed millennial video gamers. Darwinism undergirds their belief in a superior “white” identity, despite their lack of notable achievements, in an age of rampant identity politics.

Clearly, few American Christians—or middle Americans generally—identify with the alt right. But mainstream media suspect so. Coming to terms with defeat, they will continue to react by lumping creationist Christians who oppose mandatory unisex washrooms with Darwinian racists as an “alt right” menace. The media’s targets would be wise to seek alternative sources of news and information. Indeed, we are doing that now. That is a key reason they are losing viewers and revenue.More.

Reality check: As I wrote to a friend recently, the smear depends on the accusers never spelling out who the alt right actually are. Because then their assertions would collapse of their own implausibility.

I think Trump’s timing was reasonably good here. Had he disavowed the alt right earlier, they would have stuck to him like a tar baby, courtesy his opponents. They would have become an issue at a point when there was even less likelihood that most people would understand what the alt right is.

It’s not relevant whether David Duke supports Trump; only whether Trump supports David Duke. Expect more attempts to confuse the issues, of course.

See also: Christian racism? Election years bring dangerous creatures from the shadows

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