In reviewing the past year, I identified four long term trends which were set in motion by Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election. The first three were social media censorship, leftwing political violence and Trump’s shift toward a conservative agenda. The fourth long term trend is how the Alt-Right has become alienated under the Trump presidency.
In hindsight, Unite the Right in Charlottesville was the culmination of these trends. When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, it triggered a massive backlash on the Left. In my speech at the Arkansas state conference, I predicted that regardless of whether Hillary or Trump won the inevitable result would be intense polarization. This has come to pass and now we are living with the consequences. The Left has radicalized and is fighting back in the streets and online.
From 2015 to 2017, the Alt-Right had a single goal during the campaign. The goal was to defeat the cucks in the Republican primaries, defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump president. There wasn’t any street activism at the time. It was e-activism with spreading memes on social media. It was so successful that Hillary Clinton felt compelled to address the subject and David Brock’s post-op concluded that “generally speaking and simply put, Democrats got clobbered in the digital space.”
The key to understanding what has happened over the last year is that the Alt-Right achieved its goal. It got what it wanted when Donald Trump was elected president. As a result of that, our culture became more polarized, the Left became more violent and the Democrats decided that what happened in 2016 with social media could never be allowed to happen again. Also, Donald Trump ceased to be a candidate, shifted to being a president and we got to see his real priorities.
The road from Hailgate to Charlottesville was paved with disillusionment. Simply put, Charlottesville would have never happened if the Trump administration hadn’t proved to be such a massive disappointment. As Steve Bannon said in his 60 Minutes interview, “In the 48 hours after we won, there’s a fundamental decision that was made. You might call it the original sin of the administration. We embraced the establishment. I mean, we totally embraced the establishment.” Bannon is right because everything that followed over the past year has flowed from that decision.
Donald Trump isn’t an ideologue. He is a marketing genius. There is no ideological core to the man. He wants to be adored. He wants to be important. He wants to win. The Trump administration reflects the personality of the man himself. He surrounded himself with family and people who he perceived to be useful or winners. It just so happens that many of these winners were drawn from the political, corporate and military establishment. As a result, they staffed the government with other people with conventional views about important matters and muscled out everyone else.
At every critical juncture, I can imagine what it must be like behind the scenes when the big decisions were made in the Trump administration: daddy, you got to disavow those white supremacists, we can’t afford to allow the NATO alliance to crumble, we can’t afford to allow Luther Strange to lose his Senate seat, we’re this close to winning in Afghanistan, and so on. President Trump is surrounded by people giving him advice like that and everyone else has been systematically purged from the administration. He also gets all his news from watching FOX News and reading the mainstream newspapers.
As this past year has unfolded, the Alt-Right hasn’t been sure how to respond to this. The door was slammed shut on having influence over mainstream politics within the first few months of the Trump administration. We’re being systematically purged from mainstream social media platforms. We seem to have gravitated toward what MILO was doing with his Dangerous Faggot tour and what the Alt-Lite was doing after Berkeley with street battles. The turning point was the Syria strikes in April which vividly illustrated how little had changed under the Trump presidency.
From Charlottesville I to Unite the Right, the shift toward real world activism was going well. Everyone was feeling great over the summer while healthcare reform was dying in the Senate. Antifa was on the ropes after Berkeley 3 in April. Far from being black-pilled, Unite the Right wouldn’t have generated such a huge turnout unless everyone was feeling extremely positive about the future. We held the biggest political rally in a generation and it shook the establishment to its foundation.
Charlottesville was misinterpreted by the Alt-Right. The Unite the Right rally itself changed very little. It had no effect whatsoever on attitudes toward Confederate monuments. It had no effect whatsoever on the public’s view of the Alt-Right, White Nationalism and Neo-Nazism. It was used as an excuse to accelerate social media censorship, but the ADL was already taking over YouTube and Twitter. We were already being purged from mainstream crowdfunding platforms too. I used Rootbocks to finance my trip to Charlottesville because I had already been banned by PayPal.
The biggest consequence of Unite the Right was the optics debate and the division it caused. While there are three pending lawsuits against Unite the Right organizers and several people are rotting in the Albemarle jail, we’ve been all but exonerated by Tim Heaphy’s independent review. The upcoming state review is also going to exonerate us. As we said all along, it was Charlottesville that failed to uphold free speech and public safety and now that it has been proven that the Charlottesville Police Department stood down on August 12th it has opened the city up to devastating lawsuits. The whole Charlottesville narrative has crumbled under the weight of the truth in the last week.
It gets even better. The FBI is investigating Antifa and a federal grand jury has served Antifa who were at Charlottesville with subpoenas. This seems to be related to a nationwide criminal probe into Antifa violence. Suddenly, the worm has turned on both Charlottesville and Antifa and this could rapidly turnaround when the blame is rightly assigned to where it was always due. The feds probably know by now that it was Antifa and Charlottesville PD that caused the violence on August 12th. The latter stood down and allowed the former to attack to justify declaring a “state of emergency.”
This is the most likely scenario:
1.) The Charlottesville black cloud that has been hanging over us goes away. These lawsuits against us go nowhere. The people who are in jail are released except Fields. We sue Charlottesville and win because our case against them is far stronger than their case against us.
2.) This criminal investigation into Antifa has a chilling effect on their violence.
3.) We get purged from mainstream social media platforms and crowdfunding platforms. We land on Alt-Tech platforms like Gab, Bitchute, Wrongthink, etc. After a rough transition period, we rebuild our platforms, become more self reliant and less subject to arbitrary censorship.
4.) President Trump continues to do boring conservative shit.
There is no consensus on what to do next. The Hard Right wants to soldier on and continue to do activism to build our own movement. The Identitarians want to continue to do activism separately while preserving their own brand. The MAGAists want to stay involved in mainstream politics. The American Nationalists seem focused on producing internet content while doing the occasional American flag rally. The Alt-Right seems to be doing internet content and activism.
This is a fluid situation. Everyone has been reacting and overreacting to Charlottesville. The next thing will come along and there will be a reaction to that which will reshuffle things. The 2018 midterm election cycle is coming up, but I can’t see that becoming a unifying force. It is possible the Trump administration could reverse course and do something dramatic because of flagging enthusiasm. There’s always the possibility that some loner could go full tactical bowl cut.
A million things could happen over the next few years but we aren’t going back to candidate Trump or the days when social media was relatively free of censorship. It seems that ship has sailed.Follow Hunter Wallace on Gab, VK, Facebook and Twitter.