The term “Alt-Right” has been getting a lot of attention in the media recently. Hillary Clinton blasted Donald Trump and his association with the darkest fringes of the far-right, a charge well-placed considering Trump now has Steve Bannon of Breitbart running his campaign.
The alt-right and the Republican Party are not the same, even though some liberal bloggers like to lump them together for maximum shock value and easy web traffic. The alt-right and traditional conservatives are not the same beast either. The alt-right is a radical splinter of conservative politics that most members of the GOP establishment likely find abhorrent, and are held captive by.
For a lack of better words, the alt-right is a collection of white nationalists and other fringe political elements that want greater power in the Republican Party. Not all of them consider themselves to be loyal members of the GOP, and Steve Bannon himself has tried to destroy Speaker Paul Ryan and his predecessor, John Boehner.
These people are little more than the hateful message of white supremacy and racist ideology with leaders in suits, and with a media voice via Breitbart. The KKK, The John Birch Society and Neo-Nazis are all represented by Steve Bannon and his cronies like blogger Milo Yiannopoulos or pastor Texe Marrs.
The alt-right has existed for years in the dark wings of the Republican Party, ever since racist Democrats abandoned ship after the Civil Rights Act. Many of those voters who burned crosses and terrorized African-Americans across the South are dead now, but their children and grandchildren who inherited their hatred are now Republicans supporting Donald Trump and his ultra-nationalist bromance with Vladimir Putin.
Donald Trump has courted this collection of hate groups and radicalized individuals successfully since he first announced his presidential campaign. On Reddit and elsewhere, members of the alt-right have infiltrated social media groups and terrorized people, including establishment conservatives.
Just a few elections ago, the alt-right was mostly shut out of the GOP. Now that Donald Trump has seized upon the discontent in the Republican base with the status quo and energized the fringe, they now feel comfortable with bringing their hatred into the national spotlight.
The alt-right was not the Republican Party of Bush or Reagan, but it is now the Republican Party of Donald Trump. The GOP always courted them at an arm’s length, and now the alt-right has decided to make themselves at home, much to the chagrin of the conservative establishment.