This Atlantic piece by Adam Serwer, “White Nationalists are Winning”, is a torrent of paranoid hyperbole from the bugman’s id, but gets the important part right.
A year after white nationalists in Charlottesville chanted, “You will not replace us!,” their message has been taken up and amplified by Fox News personalities. Tucker Carlson tells his audience that “Latin American countries are changing election outcomes here by forcing demographic change on this country.” Laura Ingraham says that “the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore” because of “massive demographic changes” as a result of “both illegal and sometimes legal immigration that progressives love.” They echo the white-nationalist claim that America is at risk because the nation is growing more diverse, an argument that treats the mere presence of nonwhite people, citizen or noncitizen, as an existential threat to the country. White nationalists like Cantwell are cheered to hear their beliefs championed on Fox. Cantwell wrote last year that Carlson “is basically telling white America to prepare for war as directly as he can get away with while remaining on Fox News.”
This was written before today’s own goal for the anti-American left, turning a failed rally of twenty people into a story of deluded thousands chasing imaginary Nazis. Some of Jason Kessler’s critics on the right predicted a turnout of a few dozen “losers” resulting in humiliation for the right. They got the first part right, at least, but misidentified the losers. It’s as if no one is in charge on the left, ultimately. Whatever constitutes the leadership of the left right now is riding the whirlwind of demagogy it’s conjured. The irony just keeps coming–the alt right was felled in Charlottesville because of a failure of leadership, or so we’re told.
Whatever becomes of the alt right it will have effected a shift in the Overton Window that could make the difference in the end.
But the alt-right and its fellow travelers were never going to be able to assemble a mass movement. Despite the controversy over the rally and its bloody aftermath, the white nationalists’ ideological goals remain a core part of the Trump agenda. As long as that agenda finds a home in one of the two major American political parties, a significant portion of the country will fervently support it. And as an ideological vanguard, the alt-right fulfilled its own purpose in pulling the Republican Party in its direction.
The alt right isn’t dead, it’s metastasizing.
The left took over America by capturing the moral high ground without ever once apologizing for its militants. Radical elements were key to its advance and remain key, as we saw today, to its defense. The right would do well to emulate that. Just as the left holds the Vietnam War and racism make the violence understandable, if not justifiable, likewise the far less violent fringe on the right is a predictable result of the open campaign of displacement against whites.
If the presence of a radical fringe on the right prompts the sort of embarrassing displays the left put on today, policing that fringe is doing for your enemy what they haven’t the self control to do for themselves.
For all its concern over what’s embarrassing the right forgot the left has no shame.