Labels are useful in politics and life. But what label to use as shorthand for Donald J. Trump's constantly mutating political pronouncements? Long ago it was clear that he was neither a conservative nor a Republican.
Last Thursday, 25 August, in Reno Hillary Clinton nailed it when she tied Trump to the Alternative Right, or AltRight ,mindset and its primary proponent, Breitbart News. But what exactly is the AltRight message?
AltRight lives exclusively online on sites like Breitbart News. It is anti-establishment, especially the GOP establishment, and anti-political correctness. But it's core tenet is to eschew equality and embrace hierarchy. In economics, this results in lauding income inequality and opposing increased taxes on upper incomes and the estate tax.
AltRight dogma propounds the view that whites are superior to blacks, Hispanics, Asians or other races. This explains the affront they felt at a black man being elected president and their determination to defame any Obama legacy. Their affinity is for the KKK and other White supremacist organizations . They assert white victimhood. and scorn the "Black Lives Matter" movement. Trump's racism spans from his early real estate dealings to his attacks on a judge due to his Mexican heritage.
The AltRight view of the sexes is likewise hierarchical. Men are to be in control and woman subservient. There is no concern for pay inequality and little for sexual harassment. Hence the AltRight affront that Hillary Clinton could be elected president. Trump's distain for women is well documented
The AltRight hierarchical preference also applies to religion. Christians (maybe or maybe not including Catholics) take preference over Jews and certainly Muslims. They insist that America is a "Christian Nation" despite neither "God" nor Jesus" nor "Christ" appearing in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution or Federalist Papers. Trump's Christian beliefs are indeterminate. His bias against Muslims is clear.
The AltRight view of race fits into their ultra-nationalism and combines their race and religious hierarchical views into strident opposition to multiculturalism in general and immigration in particular, In this they are the heirs to the anti-Catholic anti-immigrant Know Nothings . Trump's distain for allies and his bringing, Nigel Farage,the former leader of the British National Party and architect of the Brexit to a rally in Mississippi shows how close he is to the xenophobia of European neo-fascist parties.
In short, the AltRight perspective, much like Trump's, is racist, misogynist, intolerant and xenophobic.
Integral to this AltRight view is a penchant for postulating wild conspiracy theories from birtherism to the "murder of Vince Foster and other Clinton associates to Hillary's alleged health problems. Despite the lack of facts or credible sources, Breitbart spins new conspiracies at a rate almost too fast to catch up with, which is the point. Now that Steve Bannon has taken leave from Breitbart to become CEO of the Trump campaign, many more unsubstantiated rumors and conjured conspiracies can be expected.
There are legitimate reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton for president, lack of candor and transparency among them. But there are also good reasons to vote for her including temperament and experience.
Given his temperament and his orbit around AltRight views and Breitbart tactics, there is no legitimate reason to vote for Donald Trump.