The power of the alt-right is not to directly influence policy but rather to influence sentiment

There is a belief held by some that the alt-right, in making certain gestures and comments, is losing ‘respectability’ and therefore risks being excluded from having influence on Trump’s policies. This notion that Trump actually cares what the alt-right thinks is of course nonsense and is just more ‘concerning’ by people who don’t understand the alt-right or want the alt-right to become ‘alt-lite’. Trump already chose his cabinet and advisers, and will do his own thing. Even before the NPI Roman salute dust-up, Trump expressed zero interest in deferring to alt-right leaders on anything. Soon after, Trump repudiated the alt-right. The alt-right helped Trump get elected, but Trump is listening to his appointees, not Spencer, Baked Alaska or anyone else involved with the alt-right. Personally, I wish Trump cared more about the alt-right, but that’s wishful thinking. But the alt-right should not dilute its message in the faint hope of opening a dialogue with Trump: not gonna happen. Media respectability is not important: a message that resonates with people is, and by linking or associating Trump with the alt-right (even though Trump himself doesn’t care for the alt-right), helped get Trump elected because voters saw Trump as being a conveyor of alt-right principles. The power of the alt-right is not to directly influence policy but rather to influence sentiment. It’s the choice of policy makers to choose whether to heed the sentiment or not.

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