The Atlantic

The Alt-Right’s Rebranding Effort Has Failed

Some members attempted to pivot away from overt racism. Charlottesville shows that they were always white nationalists.
Source: Joshua Roberts / Reuters

The alt-right movement has sought over the past two years to rebrand white nationalism, lifting it out of the obscure corners of the website Stormfront and elevating it into the mainstream political discussion.

In some ways the effort succeeded. President Trump’s campaign offered white nationalists a political home in the mainstream. They heard Trump’s hardline anti-immigration stances and repeated refusals to disavow racists as a dog whistle. The alt-right itself was media- and internet-savvy and appealed to a younger demographic. Its leaders became household names. Hillary Clinton even gave a speech about the movement.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readSociety
Why So Many Women Choose Abortion Over Adoption
Some American women see giving up their babies as more emotionally painful than terminating their pregnancies.
The Atlantic4 min readPsychology
Bonobo Mothers Are Very Concerned About Their Sons’ Sex Lives
Martin Surbeck remembers the episode vividly. He was in the Congo’s LuiKotale rain forest, watching a group of bonobos, African apes that are closely related to chimpanzees. Two of them—Uma, a female, and Apollo, a young, low-ranking male—were trying
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
The Trade War Is Just the Beginning
“I have been talking about China for many years. And you know what? Nobody listened,” Donald Trump told a crowd outside Pittsburgh in 2016. “But they are listening now.” If China’s leaders didn’t notice a campaign speech then, the president has their