Alt-Right Transgressions in the Age of Trump

In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
Tom Pollard National University

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The alt-right movement dates from 2008 when white supremacist Richard Spencer invented the term to identify contemporary right-wing and far-right socio/political movements. The movement relies on mass media, communicating graphically and symbolically through “trolls,” “tropes,” and “memes.” The “Sadomasochist trope” valorizes aggressive actors like Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, while demonizing “passive” individuals like Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. Trolls communicate through memes, single-frame or short video phrases matched with photos and cartoons, to attract online audiences. When not attacking liberals and progressives, alt-right memes turn on traditional conservatives. The alt-right community maintains it is “under assault” in today’s politically correct, overly secularized, culturally diverse society. However, Donald Trump elevated alt-right icon and former Breitbart ceo Stephen Bannon to chief advisor, providing the alt-right movement access to the highest government levels. Will alt-right organizations continue their recent expansion, or will the public lose interest in the movement?

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