“Now, we are facing so much pushback that people are not in the mood to celebrate,” said Richard B. Spencer, the white nationalist and prominent alt-right figure, who declined to attend Sunday’s event. “And I’m not going to do something demoralizing.”
The coalition of old-school racist groups, neo-Confederates and Internet-savvy white identitarians that brought about last year’s rally has proved, in the months since, to be a disparate herd that cannot agree on a leader or a particular brand of intolerance. Mobilizing large numbers of white supremacists in public appears to be a challenge, even though nobody would ever say they have gone away. In fact, their discriminatory messages are now echoed by some politicians and commentators…
But in a sign of the fracturing of the alt-right, before, during and after the Sunday rally, hard-core racists and neo-Nazis, whom Mr. Kessler has publicly disavowed, took to social media to attack him and this weekend’s protest, which was billed as a second Unite the Right event. Many of those attacks took place on Gab, an online forum to which many on the alt-right migrated after they were kicked off Twitter.
The attacks came from both well-known members of the alt-right and from anonymous followers. Their argument, in essence, was that Mr. Kessler was not extreme enough.
One Gab poster, who identified himself as Sterben, said that Mr. Kessler should have been more welcoming to Nazis and other such groups “because there’s more of us and history is never on the side of the cowards.”
A week before the event in Washington, Andrew Anglin, who runs the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, published an article titled, “Don’t Go to Unite the Right 2 — We Disavow.”
“We cannot win a battle on the streets,” Mr. Anglin wrote.
Instead, he counseled taking part in events like “Stormer Book Clubs,” where followers “can get together with other people who think like we do in real life.”
“We need to remain in the realm of the hip, cool, sexy, fun,” Mr. Anglin wrote. “We need to speak to the culture. We do not want the image of being a bunch of weird losers who march around” while “completely outnumbered and get mocked by the entire planet.”
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