cross-posted to talk_politics. Left as public because it was posted elsewhere.
The so-called "alt-right" is an American political movement described as containing elements of nativism, white-nationalism (sometimes including separatism or supremacy,) a belief that Christianity is a core and essential element of "Western Civilization," as well as sometimes antisemitism and neo-reactionary opposition to Democratic forms of government. While this kind of movement is certainly not unique to the U.S., its popularity is, and that demands some examination.
As stated above, while the adherents of "alt-right" philosophy would deny that it has any one specific definition, it's become clear that it is, if not fundamentally aligned with, at least friendly with white nationalism and christian dominionism, and is at least somewhat hostile to democracy. This presents a problem: the vast majority of American citizens reject these things (or at least their most overt manifestations.) Most Americans were raised to believe in the ideals of the Enlightenment, the ideals held by the Founding Fathers: ideals of democracy, equality of race and gender, and freedom of religion. Admittedly, the U.S. has not always adhered to these ideals perfectly (sometimes not at all,) but they have always been held up a goal, an ideal to strive towards, and our understanding of them has only broadened over the centuries. In the early twentieth century, it likely would not have been hard to find folks who'd agree, at least in part, with the philosophy espoused later by the Nazis. Today, it would be much harder to find people willing to agree with that.
Enter the alt-right. The alt-right is facing a problem: most folks reject what they are offering, when it's presented openly and honestly. Most Americans do not want nativism, white nationalism (or white separatism,) neoreactionism, or dominionism.
The alt-right has a solution to this problem.( 16 points. )( Cognitive Dissonance )( What does this have to do with the alt-right? )( Sunlight )