From TPM: In a cramped, carpeted ballroom at the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington, the rebranded “alt right” movement took a victory lap Friday and looked optimistically toward their future as a growing movement in the United States.
The press conference included all the same alt right notes that have become the centerpiece of the movement. There were discussions about an “ethnostate” and how to build one and debates about whether Jewish people could rightly identify themselves as European. One participant waxed poetic on why he is tired of being called a white supremacist in the media, and another predicted that the United States “will break up” over its divisions.
After years in relative obscurity in chatrooms and anonymous forums online, the disjointed alt right movement, closely aligned with the white nationalist movement, is experiencing a bit of a renaissance at the moment. In Europe, a backlash against a refugee crisis has resulted in Brexit. And in the United States, at the top of a major party ticket, the alt right finally has a Republican candidate in Donald Trump it can rally around.
“It is in a way projecting on to him our hopes and dreams,” said prominent movement leader Richard Spencer, a man who has said before he dreams of a white ethnostate. “We have not been made by Trump, but we want to make Trump and we want to imagine him in our image.”
The alt right claims to have no leader, no spokesman, no formal organization. But in front of dozens of sympathizers and reporters, leading figures Spencer, Peter Brimelow and Jared Taylor outlined their own vision for the future of their movement and their most high-profile political spokesman yet, Trump…
Trump, Spencer argued, “seems to be willing to go there. He seems to be willing to confront people” even if the alt right readily admits Trump is far from the optimal candidate.
“Donald Trump is not alt right in the sense of his ideas. He is not really alt right in terms of his policies,” Spencer said, nothing that his movement grew increasingly worried earlier this summer that Trump was backing way from his hard-right policies toward immigrants.
“We cannot be a Trump cheerleading squad,” Spencer said about the movement’s future, ruminating on the possibilities that the movement may even have to serve as a chief critic of Trump if he is elected and proves to be disappointing.