Understanding the Alt-Right: Where are they now, where are they going?


Back in August, Alt-Right groups arrived in Charlottesville, Virginia for Unite the Right and the appetizer the night before. As you may recall, a group of white nationalists held a tiki torch parade through the University of Virginia campus, shouting “You will not replace us!” They arrived at the Robert E. Lee statue, which the City of Charlottesville wants to remove, and held a protest to bring attention to the statue’s removal. And that was a central element of the whole event — uniting the right wing, all stripes, against the removal of statues, icons, and history. That’s a common complaint among Alt-Right groups, but it’s just one part of a broader trend. The most important plank of the Alt-Right platform is demographic replacement. Unlimited immigration, DACA/DAPA, pathway to citizenship, amnesty — all roads lead to more voters whose self-interests compete with the interests of their base, and comparatively fewer whites.

According to a 2012 University of Maryland study, 62 percent of foreign-born, naturalized immigrants identified as democrat, while just 25 percent as republican. [1]

According to a Pew Research Poll a year later, just 12 percent of native-born and 8 percent of foreign-born Hispanic immigrants identified as republican. [2]

Therefore immigration is a deeply political issue because the party pushing the hardest for unlimited immigration benefits the most. For the Alt-Right, the issue is not as much about democrats and republicans, as it is about the culture and IQ of immigrants coming to America. (The Alt-Right points to science that suggests differences in IQs among races.)

But past the shifting political landscape, there’s a shifting demographic landscape, too. In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that for the first time ever that nonwhite births outpaced white births. It also announced that non-Hispanic whites will be a minority in America by 2044. [3]

In 1965, whites made up 85 percent of America; today just 60 percent and, if the Census Bureau is correct, less than 50 percent in one more generation. America is becoming less white and, undoubtedly, five decades of mass immigration is the primary contributor. While media outlets portray white nationalists as having an obsession with skin color, the intellectuals behind white nationalism say that there’s more to it than that: culture, identity, and heritage goes part and parcel with race. When white nationalists yell, “You will not replace us,” they’re pushing back not just against the replacement of whites, but against the replacement of the culture that makes Western Civilization supreme in America. In this regard, they could be called cultural supremacists. Logic follows that when non-Western immigrants fail to assimilate, they begin to change the culture of a nation. If Mexico becomes predominantly southeast Asian, will it still be Mexico as we know it? If China becomes predominantly Russian, would it still be China as we know it? If Nigeria becomes predominantly Hispanic, would it still be Nigeria as we know it? (Isn’t that the chief complaint against colonialism?)

Furthermore, they ask why Israel, Japan, China, South Korea, and others don’t have unlimited immigration like most of Europe and America? The Alt-Right movement is asking these questions, and the answer is that unlimited immigration absolutely changes the culture of a country. Furthermore, the complaint is not just the numbers arriving in the United States, but follow-on generations who wield voting power. The two groups have competing visions for America, and it’s why the Alt-Right calls American immigration policies “reverse colonialism”. Israel, Japan, China, South Korea, and other nations are interested in the preservation of their nation’s culture, and that’s why they have strict immigration policies. Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer says the movement is about protecting the “heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States”.


Just after the Unite the Right Rally, the effects of which caused a small internecine war among Alt-Right groups and influencers, Vox ran an interview with a philosopher influential in the French anti-replacement movement. Renaud Camus was born in 1946, a pivotal time for France after it lost 600,000 soldiers and civilians during World War II. To solve a shortage of laborers and other workers, French leaders opened up immigration. A large number of immigrants from Africa and the Muslim world settled in the country, and that immigration never stopped.

According to France’s leading liberal news magazine, 25.5 percent of French citizens now call themselves Muslim. [4] Collecting ethnic data in France is against the law [5], so one possible way to analyze nonwhite ethnicity is by looking at the risk of sickle cell anemia in the French population. According to 2015 statistics, 73% of newborns in the Paris region were at risk of the disease. Nationwide, that number is about 38 percent. [6] This is not to draw attention to the disease itself, but to the fact that because sickle cell anemia primarily affects people of Middle Eastern and African descent, one could therefore roughly extrapolate ethnic data. These numbers mean that, if this indeed is an accurate way to calculate it, roughly three out of every four newborns in the Paris region are nonwhite. It means that nearly 40 percent of births across France are nonwhite. And this leads us back to Renaud Camus, the philosopher who campaigns against replacing the French citizenry and culture:

“Yes, it is very negative. I think the very idea of replacing everything by something else is awful. I think it’s disastrous. I think it’s the worst totalitarianism at work in the world today… Like Las Vegas is a replacement for Venice. Or amusement parks are replacements for nature or natural monuments… I think the dignity of man is that he is not replaceable… The will not to be replaced was at the center of resistance to colonialism. The refusal of being a colony in India or in Africa is very much part of anti-replacism. People don’t want other people to come in their territory, in their country, and change their cultures and their religions, their way of living, their way of eating, their way of dressing.”

“I would say that this French race, or, if you’d rather, the French people, in all its dimensions — ethnic, cultural, civilizational — is especially under menace: It is fast losing its own territory, where its own culture and civilization is quickly becoming just one among others, and not the most dynamic, and which is rapidly being colonized.”

[Asked whether or not multiculturalism is possible.]

“Everything is always possible. But it is not so desirable that it should be artificially created where it did not exist before. It generates violence, crime, mistrust, misery, ugliness.”

“…I totally sympathize with the slogan: “We will not be replaced.” And I think Americans have every good reason to be worried about their country, one of the two main elements that make up Western civilization, being changed into just another poor, derelict, hyperviolent, and stupefied quarter of the ‘global village.’ [7]

France, and Europe at large, is a place where whites have existed for tens of thousands of years. France — Iron Age tribes, the Gauls and Celts, the Romans, the Franks, Medieval France, the empires and republics, paving the way to 2017 — has been been white and Western for most of its history. Now that legacy is ending. The heritage (and indeed the future) is being adopted by people who have no history there past the middle of the 20th century or later.

The Natives of present-day North America experienced the dispossession of their lands, and it was a period of grave victimization of those tribes. As it is often said, unlimited immigration didn’t work out well for them. Losing your ancestral lands breeds resentment and eventually violence, which is why European settlers were at war with Natives across North America intermittently for roughly three hundred years. This is what the Alt-Right fears for American whites, and it’s part of what they’re referring to when they say “You will not replace us.” Understanding first that this is the central issue for the Alt-Right is key to understanding where they are and where they’re headed.

I was recently asked how many Americans nationwide identify with Antifa. (As an aside, Antifa is not a group or an organization. It can be best described as the Alt-Left version of the Three Percent. It’s more of an identity and culture than a membership. You’re not “in” Antifa, you are an anti-fascist.) I’ll answer the question of Antifa’s numbers next week, but for now I want to address the size and potential of the Alt-Right. The diagram below is for the adoption of innovative or disruptive technology and first described by Geoffrey Moore in his book, Crossing the Chasm. Think about how long it takes for new products to become mainstream, and still how many never gain that success. Think about a car in every driveway and a computer in every home. Or how long the internet had been around until AOL made it available to the mainstream. Or how long it takes until Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are accepted at Walmart and Target.

Before we chart the Alt-Right, let’s first define it. There are many flavors of the Alt-Right: there are white nationalists, which is sort of the umbrella; there are secessionists, imperialists; neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites, and white supremacists; those who don’t believe that any race is generally superior; national socialists, capitalists; most stripes of the political spectrum, so it’s fair to say that there’s a great deal of nuance to the term “Alt-Right”. Being Alt-Right, at a minimum, means that you believe that whites are being dispossessed of the country, and you believe in some sort of ethnic nationalism for whites. The belief in some sort of white nationalism — that whites deserve their own country — is the common denominator.

So we can use that as a general definition when we place the movement on the above chart. There’s no set time frame for each phase of the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, and there isn’t when we discuss a movement, either. The bell curve of the chart expresses new support by volume over time, meaning that in the front half there’s a growing volume of new supporters and, as the dwindling undecided make a decision to support or not, there are less adopters on the back half. This bell curve does not represent the total volume of supporters over time, but the volume of newcomers who decide to use a technology (or become a supporter of a movement) over time.

We also have to consider the appeal of an ideology, which determines its potential. This is best described by the difference between an iPhone and onion-flavored ice cream. An iPhone has immense utility; it’s literally a pocket-sized computer. On the other hand, you’d have to really like onions to want to purchase that ice cream, and it’s just not going to appeal to many people in an already crowded dessert marketplace. When it comes to “crossing the chasm,” the volume of supporters differs greatly for iPhones and tubs of onion ice cream. If an onion ice cream company sells 1,000 units, it’s probably already crossed the chasm. If Apple sells 1,000 iPhones, it has not. Judging the height of that chasm is important for understanding where the Alt-Right is now, regarding its appeal and potential for mainstream adoption.

Proponents of both of the Alt-Right and Alt-Left wanting to cross the chasm into the mainstream must consider the utility of their ideologies. Just like technology, the greater the problem that an ideology attempts to solve — that is to say, the more people who experience who that problem — the more mainstream it can become. The size of the problem is the main factor that limits an ideology’s potential, so the question becomes, How many Americans experience the problems that the Alt-Right movement is trying to solve? So, is the Alt-Right an iPhone or onion ice cream?  (In last week’s Low Intensity Conflict report, I wrote about the widening gap between the Right and Left, how each side has moved further right or further left, and how an increasing number of supporters on each side now views the other negatively. In essence, as the political bases in America move to the extremes, the size of “the problem” is growing, too. That means there’s a greater growth potential for both ideologies as their problems become larger.)

Let’s go back to December 2016, when a Pew Research survey found that half of Americans had never heard of the Alt-Right. [8] I don’t believe that Pew has published more recent numbers, but certainly by now that number is considerably lower. In August 2017, ABC News produced a survey that found 10 percent of Americans supported the Alt-Right movement. About 4 percent strongly supported the Alt-Right and 6 percent “somewhat” supported it. Roughly 40 percent of Americans had no opinion of the Alt-Right, neither supporting nor opposing the movement. [9] Let’s just say that these percentages represent American adults. If this 10 percent number is accurate, then roughly 10 million American adults strongly support the Alt-Right and roughly 14.5 million American adults somewhat support the Alt-Right, for a total of 24.5 million lending their support in one way or another.

These numbers suggest to me that the Alt-Right has crossed the chasm, that they’re in their Early Majority phase, and that there’s still some room for the movement to grow. Groups like Identity Evropa would agree that there’s room to grow, which explains the coordinated efforts to spread awareness about the movement, both online and especially on the sacred liberal territory of the college campus where they post their flyers. As the Left moves farther to the Left, alienating middle class America, the Alt-Right will continue to grow as long as it’s perceived to be a viable solution to the problem.

There are a few scenarios I see for the Alt-Right going forward. In order for the Alt-Right to have staying power, they need legitimacy, which will lead to growth. Therefore I expect their future activities to support either legitimacy or growth.

  • The Alt-Right will continue to hold rallies in public places. Some will be planned in advance for areas where law enforcement is capable and willing to defend free speech, however reluctantly. (This would support their legitimacy.) Other rallies will be the short duration “flash mob demonstrations” with little to no warning, like the last Charlottesville tiki torch rally which consisted of 30-50 members who rallied for about 10 minutes. (Leftist attacks on the Alt-Right will lead to the movement’s growth, as we saw an explosion of Alt-Right growth in response to attacks on Trump supporters.)
  • The Alt-Right (as a party or political ideology) will likely throw their weight behind political candidates who represent anti-establishment values. If they’re not already, Alt-Right organizations are likely to have local political aspirations, similar to how the Libertarian Party tries to get candidates in state and local elections. This strategy is a springboard for higher political positions.
  • The Alt-Right will continue to exploit (by publicizing) anti-white rhetoric/violence because it adds fuel to the movement. The Alt-Right “crossed the chasm” because they convinced a growing number of Americans that an anti-white campaign exists in America. (Tracking America’s coming domestic conflict since the election, the increase in anti-white rhetoric and violence is apparent, if not coordinated. It’s what we like to call “a self-licking ice cream cone”. As the Alt-Right grows, so does anti-white rhetoric, which causes Alt-Right growth, etc.) Much of the Alt-Right’s outreach has existed on the internet, especially on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter; both of which have moved to curb exposure on the platforms. Twitter’s founder recently announced changes to policy, which are likely to limit Alt-Right accounts. (In response to Facebook and Twitter censorship, alternative social media platforms like Gab have become popular.)
  • Lastly, continuing their outreach is obvious, however, I would look for them to promote their message on the national stage (legitimacy). Something along the lines of guerrilla marketing in high profile places to garner a lot of attention. We’ve seen banner drops in places like Atlanta and most recently the American Immigration Lawyers Association office in Washington, D.C. Posting flyers at college campuses has been a mainstay of their outreach efforts, as well as online and social media interaction. Potentially mainstream television appearances, activist disruption at or during public events, and other activities like these would get their message out, likely be covered by the media, and therefore maintain relevancy in political discourse.

Much has been said of the culture war but this is actually a cultural insurgency, including both the Alt-Right and Alt-Left, because both groups are fighting over the soul of the nation. This cultural insurgency has already included violence, and I believe it could worsen.  A future article will address the Alt-Left movement. If you’d like to keep up to date on how the domestic conflict is developing, you can subscribe to our weekly Low Intensity Conflict Report, which is published on Thursdays.


  1. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/study-finds-more-immigrants-equals-more-democrats-and-more-losses-for-gop/article/2547220
  2. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/07/22/are-unauthorized-immigrants-overwhelmingly-democrats/
  3. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-tps16.html
  4. http://www.meforum.org/5909/quarter-of-french-teenagers-are-muslim
  5. http://www.france24.com/en/20170112-france-population-statistics-demography-race-ethnicity-religion-racism-discrimination-data
  6. http://www.fdesouche.com/769997-drepanocytose-la-carte-du-grand-remplacement-mise-jour-2
  7. https://www.vox.com/world/2017/8/15/16141456/renaud-camus-the-great-replacement-you-will-not-replace-us-charlottesville-white
  8. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/12/12/most-americans-havent-heard-of-the-alt-right/
  9. http://www.langerresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/1190a1TrumpandCharlottesville.pdf

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