During the 2016 election, a new term entered the mainstream American political lexicon: "alt-right," short for "alternative right." Despite the innocuous name, the alt-right is a white-nationalist movement. Yet it differs from earlier racist groups: it is youthful and tech savvy, obsessed with provocation and trolling, amorphous, predominantly online, and mostly anonymous. And it was energized by Donald Trump's presidential campaign. In Making Sense of the Alt-Right, George Hawley provides an accessible introduction and gives vital perspective on the emergence of a group whose overt racism has confounded expectations for a more tolerant America. Hawley explains the movement's origins, evolution, methods, and core belief in white-identity politics. The book explores how the alt-right differs from traditional white nationalism, libertarianism, and other online illiberal ideologies such as neoreaction, as well as from mainstream Republicans and even Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. The alt-right's use of offensive humor and its trolling-driven approach, based in animosity to so-called political correctness, can make it difficult to determine true motivations. Yet through exclusive interviews and a careful study of the alt-right's influential texts, Hawley is able to paint a full picture of a movement that not only disagrees with liberalism but also fundamentally rejects most of the tenets of American conservatism. Hawley points to the alt-right's growing influence and makes a case for coming to a precise understanding of its beliefs without sensationalism or downplaying the movement's radicalism.
About the Author
George Hawley is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama. He is the author of Voting and Migration Patterns in the U.S. (2013), White Voters in Twenty-First Century America (2014), and Right-Wing Critics of American Conservatism (2016).