Age of the Alt-Right: New-Age Media and White Nationalism in Trump's America.

AuthorCagliuso, Dominique

In November 2020, Donald Trump lost his re-election to Joseph Biden. Trump refused to accept his second term loss and instead labeled the election fraudulent. Rhetoric among his supporters spread, stating that a massive amount of Biden votes were unlawfully cast. Trials and investigations were conducted into the validity of the election, which demonstrated Biden's lawful fun. Trump and his supporters continued rejecting the legal election outcome, even as Biden was inaugurated as President in January 2021. (1)

Using the internet to fuel his followers, Trump and many of his supporters instigated an attempted-coup on the Capitol in January 2021, which led to the death of four rioters and one police officer, and the injury of approximately 138 other officers. (2) Their attempt to demand that Congress "stop the steal" of the election was unsuccessful. Since then, more than 500 people have been charged with storming the Capitol. (3) A week after the attack on the Capitol, Trump was impeached for a second time. The trial was held due to his "incitement of insurrection." He was then acquitted by the Senate 57-43, falling ten votes shy of the required two-thirds majority. (4)

Leading up to the Capitol riots, Trump granted executive clemency to 237 individuals including the Alt-Right provocateur, Steve Bannon. (5) In November 2020, Trump's illicit electionfraud rhetoric on social media began to be censored. His favorite platform, Twitter, labeled his posts with the disclaimer, "This claim about election fraud is disputed." After the Capitol attack in January 2021, Trump was suspended from his Twitter account for twelve hours. Two days later, his @realDonaldTrump account was permanently banned and the @POTUS,

TeamTrump, and various other Trump Administrative accounts were suspended (6) Twitter also deleted more than 70,000 accounts affiliated with election-fraud rhetoric following the Capitol riot. Other social media platforms suspending Trump include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit, Twitch, and more. (7)

The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. (8) For the Alt-Right, though, this sentiment is not within their ideals. Rather than all men having the same unalienable rights, the internet-based white nationalist movement believes that the white Christian male is superior. Although the white-superiority mentality is nothing new within the United States, the Alt-Right movement is. Fueled by technological developments within the new-age of media at the turn of the millennium, Donald Trump's campaign and presidency from 2015 to 2021, and the intersection of the two, this new ideology has grown significantly over the last few years. America is now facing a dangerous movement that challenges equality and freedom--no matter the race, sex, gender, ethnicity, religion, or political belief.

Utilizing the anonymity and liberty of the internet, beginning in the 2010s and being fueled by Donald Trump's campaign and presidency in 2015 onward, the Alt-Right has founded an empire through the use of pre-existing websites and social media. These websites include Twitter and Facebook, as well as the creation of their own platforms, such as Breitbart News and InfoWars. The existence of an online haven for supremacists has allowed the movement to grow dramatically. Their ideals can now easily spread across the world with the touch of a finger.

The white supremacist movement has shifted throughout history from Klan meetings to internet forums. Gone are the days when supremacists needed to spend hours networking and vetting to find those with similar beliefs. In the past, if they were to convene en masse, they were often risking their identities and abandoning their anonymity. The previous financial requirements involved with travel, accommodations, and membership fees are also now obliterated. (9) It is now easier than ever to be a white supremacist through the use of the internet.

Under the Trump presidency, the Alt-Right was emboldened and fortified. With the nation's leader consistently and repeatedly proclaiming hateful rhetoric interpreted by the AltRight as within their beliefs, the movement was reinforced. President Trump's bias and discriminatory language both empowered and enabled the new Alt-Right movement to propagate into what it is today. His offensive rhetoric and hateful disposition validated the beliefs of the Alt-Right and their vast intentions to restore America to what it was before: white, Christian, nationalist, and male-dominated.

This research will investigate the connections between Donald Trump's political rhetoric and the Alt-Right's ideology, the way in which new-age media has affected the white supremacist movement in more recent years, and how Donald Trump used the internet to spread his rhetoric across the nation. Many factors contributed to the growth of the Alt-Right. However, the catalyst for the movement was Donald Trump's presidency. With deep ties to the far right, President Trump was the perfect opportunity for the emergence of the Alt-Right, thus creating the Alt-America. This research paper seeks to look at President Trump's role in the emergence of the Alt-Right through his similar rhetoric, use of social media, and involvement with Alt-Right leaders such as Steve Bannon. This paper will find the convergence of the Alt-Right and Trump's ideologies and the use of social media to look at how these two notions helped grow the AltRight movement to what it is today. Methodology

This paper follows the correlational data between Trump's rhetoric and the Alt-Right's ideology through the use of new-age media, particularly social media. To fully grasp the range of ideological issues and specifications of beliefs under those issues, the research focuses on what large Alt-Right players in the movement are saying. Seeing as the Alt-Right leaders would represent the voice of the collective, looking at what they are saying on Alt-Right platforms, such as their websites and social media, gives a great insight into the majority's opinion.

As for the ideology of Trump, this research follows his tweets in particular. The President was continuously updating the @realDonaldTrump account with his thoughts. These quick quips of thoughts often fall suit under the ideology of the Alt-Right. Due to the nature of his openness on Twitter, there is the assumption that his tweets are a first-hand look at the President's true beliefs. Once the ideology of both Donald Trump and the Alt-Right has been obtained through social media and website posts, correlational data between the two is collected and reviewed. The topics of ideology looked at within the research include the main concerns of both the President and the Alt-Right. These topics include Immigration, "Fake News," Globalism, and Political Correctness/Liberal America.

In order to obtain data on these topics from the Alt-Right, major Alt-Right players' quotes were looked at through their own websites and/or Twitters, as they are the most commonly frequented sites for the Alt-Right. For example, general rhetoric on the Alt-Right can mostly be obtained through the man who arguably started the movement, Richard Spencer. By collecting his rhetoric through his tweets, interviews, and posts on various Alt-Right websites, it can be deduced that his voice speaks for the majority of the Alt-Right Movement. A few other major Alt-Right players will be looked at, such as Steve Bannon and Andrew Anglin, due to their significance to the Alt-Right movement and connections to Donald Trump. Their rhetoric will be compared to Trump's, and the correlations between the two will be revealed.

In order to collect data on Donald Trump's tweets, the website will be used to gather tweets following Trump's rhetoric. This website holds a mass collection of all of Trump's tweets from the creation of his Twitter up until the current date. There is a search engine that allows the user to type in keywords and access a log of every tweet written or retweeted by the President containing that keyword. (10)

The research for this paper will use keywords related to multiple rhetorical topics to deduce roughly how many times Donald Trump has tweeted about said specific topic. For example, in order to look at the significance of Trump's rhetoric on immigration in the United States, the keywords "immigrants," "immigration," "immigrate," "emigrate," "illegals," "border," "Mexico," and "Mexican" were all processed through the search engine to collect data on how many times the President has tweeted on this topic. In order to deduce that the tweets regarding these keywords still follow suit with the rhetoric of the Alt-Right, each tweet was briefly reviewed by the researcher. With the exception of a few, every single tweet fell into the hateful rhetoric category. The data collected will then be formed into graphs to easily show the significance of just how many times Trump has tweeted in favor of Alt-Right rhetoric and ideology.

This data seeks to reveal the empowerment that Donald Trump provides the Alt-Right through his use of social media. Using deductive and explanatory research following the number of times Trump has tweeted in support of Alt-Right rhetoric and comparing that data to Alt-Right leaders praise of Trump's openly far-right beliefs, it can be showen that Donald Trump's use of new-age media to profess his Alt-Right rhetoric has emboldened the Alt-Right movement. The New-Age of Media

Since the turn of the millennium, both social and technological advancements have allowed the white supremacy movement to...

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