On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s campaign announced Breitbart News chairman Stephen Bannon as its new CEO — shocking no one in the conservative world.
Conservatives joked openly for months about “Trumpbart” and the transformation of Breitbart.com into, essentially, Bannon.com, but it was still something of a surprise that Trump would so publicly embrace Bannon, a man who helped transform a mainstream conservative website into a cesspool of the alt-right. It also comes as a surprise — or at least it should — that the Republican National Committee appears ready to go right along with the Bannon-Breitbart-Trump takeover of the party, even as the Trump campaign’s latest move means RNC Chairman Reince Priebus now sits, effectively, side by side with alt-right Trump fans.
The takeover, now a virtual fait accompli, represents the dangerous seizure of the conservative movement by the alt-right.
Constitutional conservatives can’t stand the alt-right. Conservatives — real conservatives — believe that only a philosophy of limited government, God-given rights and personal responsibility can save the country. And that creed is not bound to race or ethnicity. Broad swaths of the alt-right, by contrast, believe in a creed-free, race-based nationalism, insisting, among other things, that birth on American soil confers superiority. The alt-right sees limited-government constitutionalism as passé; it holds that only nationalist populism on the basis of shared tribal identity can save the country. It’s a movement shot through with racism and anti-Semitism.
Trump himself has flirted with the alt-right for months, fromtaking his sweet time distancing himself from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, to failing to condemn alt-right anti-Semitic attacks on journalists. The alt-right association came into focus after I left the site in early March — I worked there as an editor for four years — with the elevation of alt-right cult hero Milo Yiannopoulos to a position of prominence.
Read the rest at the Washington Post.