November 27, 2018


The White-Supremacy Surge (DAVID FRENCH, November 15, 2018, National Review)

[T]here does appear to be a measurable increase in hate crimes in the United States, with African Americans by far the most targeted group. Hate crimes have been on the rise for three consecutive years (with a 17 percent increase in reported hate crimes in 2017), and there has been a four-year increase in America's ten largest cities.

Included in that number are extraordinarily vicious crimes. The nation still remembers the Charleston church massacre and the deadly alt-right terror attack in Charlottesville, but other terrible crimes, dating to just last year, are largely forgotten. In New York a white supremacist wielding a sword killed a black man. In Kansas, a white man allegedly shouted ethnic slurs before shooting two Indian engineers in a bar, killing one. In Maryland, a member of an "alt-Reich" Facebook group stabbed a young black Army officer to death without provocation. And the killings just keep happening. Two days before the Pittsburgh synagogue mass murder, a Kentucky white supremacist tried to force his way into a black church and then traveled to a Kroger grocery store where he murdered two black victims before he was confronted by an armed citizen.

The killings, however, aren't the entire story. Not by a long shot. The online alt-right onslaughts of 2016 are by this point well documented. Jewish journalists who criticized Trump (including our own Jonah Goldberg and Ben Shapiro) were targeted for relentless anti-Semitic attacks. I suffered a wave of racist hate for having adopted my youngest daughter from Ethiopia.

But along with the anonymous trolls came a new generation of very public spokesmen -- unabashed racists and white nationalists such as Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer and Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute. A constellation of (mostly) young Internet personalities delighted not just in skewering the Left but in shocking the conservative establishment, and they attracted a strange degree of respect. In March 2016, more-mainstream publications, including Breitbart and the Federalist, published long pieces that whitewashed, rationalized, and excused even virulent white nationalism and white supremacy.

In their now infamous "An Es­tablishment Conservative's Guide to the Alt-Right," Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos and Allum Bokhari cast the gang of outright racists and vicious trolls as "young, creative and eager to commit secular heresies." Steve Bannon, Breitbart's former executive chairman, proudly stated that Breitbart was "the platform for the alt-right." In the Federalist, Mytheos Holt wrote a piece, "The Intellectual Case for Trump," that featured a long aside about his relationship with a young white-supremacist woman. It included this paragraph:

The other reason I say the pain experienced by Sylvia's community is unfair is because when you strip away the swastikas, imitation Hugo Boss uniforms, and Klan hoods, there are things that even rabid, clannish white nationalist society does better than our own. Ironically, given their loathing of other cultures, the biggest one is bilingual education.

It turns out they learn German and English. How admirable!

Alt-right figures and outright racists keep turning up in Republican politics. For a time, multiple Republican figures, including Bannon and Virginia GOP Senate nominee Corey Stewart, embraced anti-Semite Paul Nehlen. Stewart himself appeared during his primary campaign with Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of the deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville.

Then there's Iowa Republican congressman Steve King. He recently endorsed Canadian alt-right activist Faith Goldy in the Toronto mayor's race, dined in Austria with members of that country's far-right Freedom Party, and has endorsed the "great replacement" conspiracy theory that's popular with white supremacists. The theory rests on the belief that there is an intentional global effort to repopulate the predominantly white nations of the West with masses of immigrants. It's the origin, for example, of the "Jews will not replace us" chant during Charlottesville rally. King just won election to his ninth term in Congress.

What is happening? Some on the left have a straightforward explanation. Under Donald Trump, they say, the subtext is becoming text. In other words, the "dog whistle" racism that's the foundation of GOP appeal to much of white America is now out in the open. And as the appeals to white identity become more acceptable, people will feel more comfortable coming out of their racist closet.

Under this formulation, the alleged "economic anxiety" that drove the Trump voter to the polls was but a pretext. White voters were rallying against the Obama coalition, and white-identity politics gave Trump the White House.

There is no doubt that alt-right figures rallied around Trump, and there's no doubt that some still cling to their MAGA hats. Trump's words have emboldened white supremacists, but he is not making them racist.

Posted by at November 27, 2018 4:03 AM