Among his many other faults, Donald Trump without a doubt has emboldened and energized some really nasty hatemongers in this country. For instance, check out the newly released report, From Alt Right to Alt Lite: Naming the Hate, by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which lists some of the nation’s most virulent purveyors of “overt racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, misogyny, and anti-Muslim bigotry.” Sad to say, it looks like several Virginians made the ADL list. That includes Corey Stewart, the current front-runner for the 2018 Virginia Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against Tim Kaine, and two others (Richard Spencer of Alexandria and Jason Kessler of Charlottesville). Before we get to their ADL profiles, here’s a brief review of what the ADL means by “alt right” and “alt lite” (note: personally, I prefer to just call these people what they really are — white supremacists, racists, misogynists, Islamophobes, conspiracy theorists — rather than the more anodyne “alt” whatever).
“Alt Right”: “…a segment of the white supremacist movement consisting of a loose network of racists and anti-Semites who reject mainstream conservatism in favor of politics that embrace implicit or explicit racist, anti-Semitic and white supremacist ideology. Many seek to re-inject such bigoted ideas into the conservative movement in the United States. The alt right skews younger than other far right groups, and is very active online, using racist memes and message forums on 4chan, 8chan and certain corners of Reddit.”
“Alt Lite”: “…the alt lite, sometimes referred to as the New Right, is loosely-connected movement whose adherents generally shun white supremacist thinking, but who are in step with the alt right in their hatred of feminists and immigrants, among others. Many within the alt lite sphere are virulently anti-Muslim; the group abhors everyone on “the left” and traffics in conspiracy theories, including #Pizzagate, which claimed there was evidence of a child slavery ring operating inside a DC pizzeria. The series of increasingly outrageous lies led to death threats against the pizzeria’s owner and employees, and ultimately resulted in a gunman opening fire inside the restaurant in an attempt to “save” the imaginary children.”
It’s also important to note, as the ADL writes, that there is “crossover” between these two categories, with some “alt lite” adherents “support[ing] alt right figures and events, while others have made a point of steering clear of anything associated with white supremacist beliefs.” With that, here are the Virginians identified by the ADL as either “Alt Right” or “Alt Lite.”
Jason Kessler, of Charlottesville, Virginia, is an alt right activist and white supremacist who claims that a “white genocide” is underway in the United States. Kessler is the president of Unity and Security for America and is a contributor to the racist website VDare.com. He also wrote for The Daily Caller until he was revealed to be a white nationalist. At a May 2017 pro-Confederate rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Kessler reportedly praised racist groups and a Holocaust denier, and was eventually arrested for disorderly conduct. At June’s Free Speech Rally in D.C., he told the crowd that America would be better off if the South had won the Civil War, and advanced conspiracy theories about Jews controlling Hollywood and the media and promoting “filthy propaganda.” Kessler is one of the organizers of the August 12 Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
Richard Spencer, of Alexandria, Virginia, is a leader of the alt right movement and a symbol for a new generation of “intellectual” white supremacists. Spencer, who wants to see a “new” right that openly embraces “white racial consciousness,” coined the term “alternative right” in an article he wrote for Taki’s Magazine in 2008. He uses the term to refer to people on the right of the political spectrum who distinguish themselves from traditional conservatives by opposing, among other things, egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and open immigration. In 2010, Spencer created an online publication called Alternative Right, where he explicitly promoted white supremacist philosophies. In recent years, Spencer has become more openly anti-Semitic, and now says he wants to establish a white ethno-state in the U.S., where whites can live separately from non-whites and Jews. Since 2011, Spencer has been the President of the National Policy Institute (NPI); he also runs Altright.com, a more provocative iteration of his previous online effort, Alternative Right. The new website is aimed at a younger demographic.
Corey Stewart, a failed 2017 Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate, was the state’s Trump campaign co-chair until he was fired for attending an anti-RNC rally in October 2016. Stewart champions the preservation of Confederate monuments in the South, and has defended the “heritage” of the Confederate flag. He referred to his Republican primary opponent a “cuckservative.” Stewart was a featured speaker at the alt lite Rally Against Political Violence on June 25 in Washington, D.C.