Concerns about the Alt-Right (and Alt-Left)

December 04, 2016

I attach four pieces below.

The first, by Christopher Caldwell in today’s New York Times, is well worth reading. It examines the dangers and nastiness of the “alt-right” without being overly sensational or exaggerating their influence on Donald Trump.

After that, I attach a piece by the Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt from last week’s edition of the New York weekly, The Forward, titled “Didn’t Slam Anti-Semitism On the Left? Don’t Expect Credibility When You Slam It On the Right.”

And then, in the interests of balance, I attach a (not particularly well-written) piece titled “Liberals get hysterical over the ‘alt-right’ but we are living in their ‘alt-left’ world”.

The fourth piece is Maureen Dowd’s column from last week’s New York Times, in which she allows her brother Kevin to explain why he voted for Donald Trump.

Finally, I attach the three readers’ letters that the New York Times published in response to Kevin Dowd’s column.

(These pieces are sent to stimulate debate. It doesn’t mean I agree with them.)

-- Tom Gross



What the Alt-Right Really Means
By Christopher Caldwell
New York Times
Dec. 4, 2016

Not even those most depressed about Donald J. Trump’s election and what it might portend could have envisioned the scene that took place just before Thanksgiving in a meeting room a few blocks from the White House. The white nationalist Richard B. Spencer was rallying about 200 kindred spirits.

“We are not meant to live in shame and weakness and disgrace,” he said. “We were not meant to beg for moral validation from some of the most despicable creatures to ever populate the planet.” When Mr. Spencer shouted, “Hail, Trump! Hail, our people! Hail, victory!” a scattered half-dozen men stood and raised their arms in Nazi salutes.

Mr. Spencer, however you describe him, calls himself a part of the “alt-right” – a new term for an informal and ill-defined collection of internet-based radicals. As such, he poses a complication for the incoming president. Stephen K. Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, whom Mr. Trump has picked as his chief White House strategist, told an interviewer in July that he considered Breitbart a “platform for the alt-right.”

Perhaps we should not make too much of this. Mr. Bannon may have meant something quite different by the term. Last summer “alt-right,” though it carried overtones of extremism, was not an outright synonym for ideologies like Mr. Spencer’s. But in late August, Hillary Clinton devoted a speech to the alt-right, calling it simply a new label for an old kind of white supremacy that Mr. Trump was shamelessly exploiting.

Groups such as Mr. Spencer’s, which had indeed rallied behind Mr. Trump, were delighted with the attention. Mr. Spencer called the days after the Clinton speech “maybe the greatest week we ever had.” While he does not consider either Mr. Trump or Mr. Bannon alt-right, Mr. Spencer has expressed hope that the press’s describing them as such will help his own group grow.

The alt-right is not a large movement, but the prominence that it is enjoying in the early days of the Trump era may tell us something about the way the country is changing. At least since the end of the Cold War, and certainly since the election of a black president in 2008, America’s shifting identity – political, cultural and racial – has given rise to many questions about who we are as a nation. But one kind of answer was off the table: the suggestion that America’s multicultural present might, in any way, be a comedown from its past had become a taboo. This year a candidate broke it. He promised to “make America great again.” And he won the presidency.

Mr. Trump’s success is bound to embolden other dissenters. This could mean a political climate in which reservations about such multiculturalist policies as affirmative action are voiced more strenuously. It could mean a rise in racial conflict and a platform for alarming movements like Mr. Spencer’s. More likely, it is going to bring a hard-to-interpret mix of those things.

Mr. Spencer, 38, directs the National Policy Institute, which sponsored the Washington meeting. Despite its name, the institute has little to say about policy, although it has called for a 50-year moratorium on immigration. What it mostly does is seek to unite people around the proposition that, as Mr. Spencer put it, “Race is real, race matters, and race is the foundation of identity.”

There are many such groups, varying along a spectrum of couth and intellect. Mr. Spencer, who dropped out of a doctoral program at Duke and worked, briefly, as an editor for The American Conservative, has his own online review, Radix Journal. The eloquent Yale-educated author Jared Taylor, who hosts the American Renaissance website and magazine, was at the conference, too. Kevin MacDonald, a retired psychology professor whose trilogy on Jewish influence is a touchstone for the movement, also came. There were cheers from the crowd at the mention of Andrew Anglin, who runs a neo-Nazi website called The Daily Stormer, but he was not there. Neither was Greg Johnson, whose online review Counter-Currents translates right-wing writings from various European languages. Some of these groups sprouted on the internet. Others have been around since before it existed.

There is no obvious catchall word for them. The word “racist” has been stretched to cover an attitude toward biology, a disposition to hate, and a varying set of policy preferences, from stop-and-frisk policing to repatriating illegal immigrants. While everyone in this set of groups is racist in at least one of these senses, many are not racist in others. Not many of the attendees at the Washington gathering favored the term “white supremacist.” The word implies a claim to superiority – something few insisted on. “White nationalist” is closer to the mark; most people in this part of the alt-right think whites either ought to have a nation or constitute one already. But they feel that almost all words tend to misdescribe or stigmatize them.

Almost all of them are gung-ho for Mr. Trump. That is a surprise. “I’ve been watching these people for 17 years,” said Heidi Beirich, who follows extremist movements for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “It’s the first time I’ve seen them come out for a candidate.”

Mr. Trump disavowed the alt-righters once the excesses of Mr. Spencer’s conference went viral. But as a candidate, Mr. Trump called the government corrupt, assailed the Republican establishment, flouted almost every rule of political etiquette, racial and otherwise, and did so in a way that made the alt-righters trust his instincts. And whether or not he exploited them as shamelessly as Mrs. Clinton alleged, he did little to put the public at ease on the matter – retweeting posts from someone called @WhiteGenocideTM and dawdling before disavowing the endorsement of the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

“I don’t think that Trump is a rabid white nationalist,” the alt-right blogger Millennial Woes said at a speech in Seattle days after the election. “I think that he just wants to restore America to what he knew as a young man, as a child. And I think he probably does know at some level that the way to do it is to get more white people here and fewer brown people.”

Mr. Spencer speaks of Mr. Trump’s campaign as a “body without a head” and considers many of his policies “half-baked.” But for him, that is not the point. “Donald Trump is the first step towards identity politics for European-Americans in the United States,” he said.

There is no good evidence that Mr. Trump or Mr. Bannon think in terms like these. Not even the former Breitbart editor at large Ben Shapiro, who has become an energetic critic of Mr. Bannon and his agenda, says that Mr. Bannon is himself a racist or an anti-Semite. Mr. Shapiro considers fears that Mr. Bannon will bring white nationalism to the White House “overstated, at the very least.”

To be sure, Mr. Bannon holds right-wing views. He believes that a “global Tea Party movement” is underway, one that would fight crony capitalism and defend Western culture against radical Islam. In a 2014 speech he showed an interest in linking up American activists with certain European populist movements, including opponents of both the European Union and same-sex marriage. But while he recognized that some groups, such as France’s National Front, had “baggage, both ethnically and racially,” he expressed confidence that their intolerance “will all be worked through with time.”

Until Hillary Clinton’s speech last summer, a similarly broad idea prevailed of what the alt-right was. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s webpage on the movement traces some of its roots to libertarian followers of Ron Paul and traditionalist Christians. Neither were in evidence at the National Policy Institute conference in Washington. The adjective “alt-right” has been attached in the past to those, like the undercover documentarian James O’Keefe (known for his secret recordings of Planned Parenthood encounters), whose conservatism is mainstream, even if their tactics are not. Understood this way, the alt-right did look as if it might be a pillar of Mr. Bannon’s world Tea Party.

This was especially so if you worked for one of Mr. Bannon’s enterprises. Last March, Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos, a peroxide-blond gay Trump supporter, critic of feminism and internet “troll” of a particularly aggressive kind, helped write “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” which painted the movement as “born out of the youthful, subversive, underground edges of the internet,” treating the neo-Nazis in its ranks as unrepresentative.

But since then, and certainly since the National Policy Institute event, alt-right has come more and more to mean white nationalist. Mr. Yiannopoulos’s exuberant youths look peripheral to the movement, the extremists central. William Johnson of the American Freedom Party even wrote Mr. Spencer a letter accusing him of squandering what might have been a “start-over moniker” – a gentler term that didn’t invite immediate dismissal – for his fellow white nationalists.

How big is the movement? There is a “hard core” of thousands or tens of thousands who are “taking us seriously on a daily basis,” Mr. Spencer said. But both members and detractors have an incentive to exaggerate the alt-right’s size. The National Policy Institute, at this point, would have trouble holding a serious street rally, let alone turning into a mass political party.

Even so, this more narrowly defined alt-right may be a force. In the internet age, political consciousness can be raised not just through quarterlies, parties and rallies but also through comment boards, console games and music videos. The internet solves the organizing problem of mobs, even as it gives them incentives not to stray from their screens. The adjective “alt-right” does not just denote recycled extremist views – it also reflects the way those views have been pollinated by other internet concerns and updated in the process.

For example, the alt-right has an environmentalist component, centered on a neo-pagan group called the Wolves of Vinland. The Norwegian heavy-metal musician Varg Vikernes, after serving 16 years for murder, has an alt-right blog that contains his musings on everything from Norse mythology to the meaning of the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. There are sci-fi and video-game enthusiasts, too, including many who participated in the “GamerGate” uproar of 2014, which pitted (as the alt-right sees it) feminist game designers trying to emasculate the gaming world against (as the feminists saw it) a bunch of misogynist losers.

But most of all there is sex. The alt-right has a lot of young men in it, young men whose ideology can be assumed to confront them with obstacles to meeting people and dating. Sex-cynicism and race-pessimism, of course, often travel in tandem. At the National Policy Institute conference, the writer F. Roger Devlin gave a talk on why young Norwegian women in Groruddalen, outside Oslo, preferred dating Somali and Pakistani gang members to ethnic Norwegian boys-next-door. “The female instinct is to mate with socially dominant men,” he explained, “and it does not matter how such dominance is achieved.”

Likewise, the common alt-right slur “cuckservative,” a portmanteau combining cuckold and conservative, is not just a colorful way of saying that establishment conservatives have been unmanly. According to Matthew Tait, a young ex-member of the far-right British National Party, the metaphor has a precise ornithological meaning. Like the reed-warbler hatching eggs that a cuckoo (from which the word “cuckold” comes) has dropped into its nest, cuckservatives are raising the offspring of their foes. One can apply the metaphor equally to progressive ideas or to the children of the foreign-born. Type “reed warbler” into YouTube, and you will find a video with more than a million views, along with a considerable thread of alt-right commentary.

The internet liberates us to be our worst selves. Where other movements have orators and activists, the alt-right also has ruthless trolls and “doxers.” The trolls bombard Twitter and email accounts with slur-filled letters and Photoshopped art. Doxing is the releasing of personal information onto the internet. Last month, several alt-right writers, including Mr. Spencer, had their accounts suspended by Twitter. Mr. Spencer says he appreciates the “frenetic energy” of trolling but doesn’t do it himself.

The alt-right did not invent these tactics. But during this election the trolling reached a sadistic pitch. Journalists who opposed Mr. Trump received photos of themselves – and in some cases their children – dead, or in gas chambers. Jewish and Jewish-surnamed journalists were particular targets, especially those seen to be thwarting Mr. Trump’s rise: Jonah Goldberg, Julia Ioffe and Ben Shapiro, among others. The Daily Stormer has been particularly aggressive in deploying its “troll army” against those with whom it disagrees. A signature punctuation of the alt-right is to mark Jewish names with “echoes,” or triple parentheses, like (((this))).

One got a strange sensation at the National Policy Institute gathering that everyone in the room was either over 60 or under 40. There was a lot of tomorrow-belongs-to-me optimism, as if the attendees felt the ideas being aired there were on the verge of going mainstream. Whether this had anything to do with Mr. Trump’s victory or the effect of alt-right rebranding was hard for a newcomer to say. As Mr. Spencer spoke, a dapper guy named Ryan looked on. Ryan was a 27-year-old who sported the common “fashy” haircut – close-cropped (like a skinhead) on the sides, free-flowing (like a mullet) on the top. Mr. Spencer was lecturing journalists about how it took courage to embrace a movement that was “quite frankly, heretical.”

“For the moment,” Ryan muttered.

Mr. Tait, who hopes to start an alt-right movement in England, said: “What you’re seeing now is young people who have never been affiliated to any kind of politics, ever. They don’t remember what it was like before the war or in the 1960s or even in the 1980s. Their motivation isn’t a sense of loss.” That is what is “alt” about the alt-right. These people are not nostalgic. They may not even be conservatives. For them, multiculturalism is not an affront to traditional notions of society, as it would have been in the Reagan era. It is society.

The Vanderbilt University political scientist Carol Swain was among the first to describe the contours of this worldview. In her 2002 book, “The New White Nationalism in America,” she noted that young people were quick to identify double standards, and that they sometimes did so in the name of legitimate policy concerns. “I knew that identity would come next,” she recalled. “It had to come. All they had to do was copy what they were hearing. The multiculturalist arguments you hear on every campus – those work for whites, too.” Mr. Spencer, asked in an interview how he would respond to the accusation that his group was practicing identity politics in the manner of blacks and Hispanics, replied: “I’d say: ‘Yuh. You’re right.’ “

Professor Swain’s analysis does not just pertain to radicals. It is a plausible account of what is happening in the American electoral mainstream. The alt-right is small. It may remain so. And yet, while small, it is part of something this election showed to be much bigger: the emergence of white people, who evidently feel their identity is under attack, as a “minority”-style political bloc.



Didn’t Slam Anti-Semitism On the Left? Don’t Expect Credibility When You Slam It On the Right.
By Deborah E. Lipstadt
The Forward
November 27, 2016

For the past few decades, we have witnessed the rise of anti-Semitism from the left. From Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the United Kingdom to college campuses across America, the phenomenon is real, and it is dangerous. Yet, all too often, some Jews – both individuals and organizations – who inhabit the liberal or left end of the spectrum have tried to explain it away with the classic “yes/but” rationalization: “Yes, it’s wrong, but if only Israel would… then the anti-Semitism would disappear.” Maybe their fear of losing their left-wing bona fides blinded them to the fact that the only proper response to prejudice of any kind – anti-Semitism included – is unambiguous condemnation.

Now, some of these same Jews are excoriating establishment Jewish leaders who have failed to condemn anti-Semitism from the right. They lambast these leaders for cozying up to Donald Trump and his newly appointed White House chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, who has proudly supported the rise of the so-called “alt-right,” the self-serving marketing term for a group rife with anti-Semites and white supremacists.

These left-wing Jews, who are currently exhibiting so much indignation, should examine their own record. When they do, maybe they’ll understand why they don’t exactly have a ton of credibility right now.

This is not to say that I think the establishment Jewish leaders have been wise in their approach to Trump and Bannon. Not at all. In recent months and days, much of the organized American Jewish community has indeed failed the test of recognizing and condemning the very real anti-Semitism streaming from the right. The left is absolutely correct about that.

During the presidential campaign, Jewish reporters and pundits who were critical of Trump were widely subjected to virulent anti-Semitic attacks from people who openly identified as his supporters. With the exception of the Anti-Defamation League, most leading Jewish organizations said nothing. More recently, when Trump named Bannon as his chief strategist, most Jewish organizations chose to remain mute or adopt a “wait and see” position. They argued that the president-elect and those around him should be given a chance to establish their own record. Groups willing to fight for pro-Israel presidential appointees suddenly discovered a new agnosticism when faced with an anti-Jewish presidential appointee. One suspects that, in light of Trump’s record of nursing grievances, they feared being denied a future place at the table, failing to see that such a place is worthless if it telegraphs weakness and lack of principle.

Some did more than sit on the sidelines; they gave Bannon precious political cover. The head of the once venerable Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, lauded both Bannon and Breitbart News, which Bannon used to lead, for their “friendship and fair-mindedness towards Israel and the Jewish people,” and insisted that “Breitbart bravely fights against anti-Semitism.” Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to America, expressed satisfaction about working with Bannon.

Did they not see how Bannon, in his capacity as Trump’s campaign manager, deployed anti-Semitic rhetoric for political purposes in Trump’s speeches, particularly in the campaign’s carefully produced “closing argument” advertisement? That ad featured four supposed enemies of the American public – Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and three Jews: financier George Soros, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Over images of them, Trump thundered: “The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election for those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests. They partner with these people who don’t have your good in mind.” These insinuations of greedy global Jewish conspiracies are worthy of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

This is not playing with fire. It is lighting one.

We cannot know whether, on a personal level, Bannon is an anti-Semite. He and his defenders always cite an Orthodox Jewish aide to whom Bannon wishes a “Shabbat Shalom” each week. We cannot know what is in his heart, but we know plenty about what is in his publications and speeches. At the very best, he is an enabler, peddling racist and anti-Semitic views because he thinks it politically advantageous to do so. I might prefer dealing with a “genuinely” prejudiced person. At least I would know that he has the courage of his ugly convictions.

For American Jews, particularly those aligned with the new administration, to remain silent is to send a signal that anti-Semitism and racism can be tolerated – and injected into the heart of American politics. Expediency, or tactical thinking, can have its place. But in this case, it is completely trumped by the need for honesty – and a bit of backbone.

The established leadership (with the exception of ADL) failed this first test regarding the Trump administration. Only after an outcry from many quarters – including from the editor of this publication – did they begin to issue somewhat lukewarm condemnations.

Yet it’s not only anti-Semitism from the right, but also anti-Semitism from the left, that should have been met with steel, not mush. The protesters from the left end of the political spectrum have also failed a test. Let’s hope they’ll do some soul-searching, too. Sadly, given the tenor of recent events, Jewish organizations from all ends of the political spectrum will probably have other opportunities to stand up. Let’s hope they do. Far more than just their already wounded credibility is at stake.



Liberals get hysterical over the ‘alt-right’ but we are living in their ‘alt-left’ world
By Dan Gainor
December 2, 2016

(If you want to read the many hyperlinks in this piece, you can do so through this link: )

The traditional media are obsessed with tying conservatives to the “alt-right.” There have been more than 50 major news network mentions this year alone as journalists try to do what they always do -- paint conservatives as racist, sexist, and a few other words that end in ist. All in the name of “tolerance.”

But when it comes to the left, then they abandon that strategy. There is no alt-left. They are not alternative. Their mainstream is radical and out of the American mainstream on almost everything.

This was quite obvious as liberals bemoaned the death of Fidel Castro, a man his own daughter called “a tyrant.” The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. summed up years of devotion, recalling how, “the oppressed the world over joined Castro’s cause of fighting for freedom & liberation.”

Some liberals distanced themselves from that love affair, though many have embraced left-wing dictators from Stalin to Chavez. But, the left is even worse when it comes to policy, where it shows its true colors (red).

On every major issue of the day, the left is unified. Taxes. Climate. So-called “free” college. Citizens United. Transgender bathroom/locker rooms/showers. ObamaCare. In each case and thousands more, the left wants more, bigger, better-funded government.

Liberals want higher taxes because they know how to spend your money better than you do -- on what they want. They have turned climate science into a religion where disbelief is to be persecuted or even prosecuted.

Look at The New York Times’ obsession with the topic and the bogus Paris “treaty” when staff interviewed Trump. And rather than examine the causes for spiking college costs, the left wants taxpayers to spend another $50 billion a year as the national debt nears $20 trillion.

They also don’t care that the Citizens United ruling let political opponents make a film about Hillary Clinton, that young girls might be forced to disrobe or shower next to men or that ObamaCare rates have skyrocketed.

This is the essence of the liberal world view. The solution to every problem is bigger government.

If there are no regulations, then they are needed. If they exist, then there needs to be more and a better-funded enforcement agency.

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

This is what we must start thinking of as the “alt-left.” “Alt,” not because they are out of the liberal mainstream. They aren’t. Alternative because they are out of the mainstream of an America where 37 percent are conservative and 35 percent are moderate. Just 24 percent are liberal.

Yet the most extreme of that 24 percent dominate our culture. Our TV, movies, music, plays and, yes, our news are controlled by those who three-fourths of America consider wildly out of step. The progressive, far-left agenda has conquered the traditional left’s agenda.

The alt-left is everything bad the left claims about the right. It is extreme and doesn’t want compromise. It wants to demonize or destroy opponents and intrude into every aspect of our lives.

Media outlets that bemoan Trump turning America to the right forget the alt-left support a Socialist had running in the Democrat primary. Good, old-fashioned liberalism has been replaced by a far-more radical brand.

It’s not just the policy positions. It’s how the left enforces them. Opposing views are suppressed in any space liberals control -- academia, Hollywood and media.

Colleges and universities have become safe spaces for liberal thought while conservative speakers are regularly chased off campuses or harassed by rabid alt-left protesters.

Hollywood spent a quarter century promoting Hillary Clinton for president and has already used nearly 30 TV shows to target the man who eventually defeated her.

Traditional media outlets accuse conservative websites of offering “fake” news but skip the rampant lunacy in places like The Huffington Post, Slate and, God help us, Salon.

None of this is new. Liberals saw the Obama presidency as a chance to kill off conservativism and they used the tactics honed by brown shirts of the 1930s -- including violence, vandalism and intimidation. They and their media allies then treat every such incident as the reincarnation of Gandhi.

The alt-left has been growing more publicly extreme since the arrival of Occupy Wall Street in 2011. Then, protesters vandalized, blocked traffic, intimidated and threatened police and set fires -- all under the banner of “revolution.” Even the protest-friendly New York Times admitted Occupy Oakland had been a “riot.” “Packs of protesters charged into businesses, overturning tables, shattering windows and smashing A.T.M.’s.”

When the Occupy protests were over, 7,700 Occupiers had been arrested. Three were convicted “in a failed plot to bomb an Ohio bridge,” according to The Los Angeles Times. The rallying cry for Occupy, “We are the 99 percent,” can be traced directly back to alt-left stalwarts like Vanity Fair, PBS and others.

Liberals don’t recall Occupy as criminal or dangerous. HuffPo’s “Occupy Wall Street” page shows no evidence of any controversy, any violence. In fact, the site’s page celebrates Occupiers with “10 Iconic Photos Of Occupy Wall Street, 3 Years Later” and a call to “Occupy Congress.” Rich celebrities also supported the Occupiers -- Yoko Ono, Russell Simmons and Alec Baldwin, to name just a few. Michael Moore wanted police to leave their posts and join the unrest like Egypt (which led to revolution). And the major media celebrated them almost as much.

The alt-left didn’t end with the Occupy movement. It got worse. New groups appeared, embracing the aggressive tactics and a similar radical agenda, ranting “against the ravages of global capitalism.”

They rioted in Ferguson, based in part on false news reports about what Michael Brown allegedly said. “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” was born and we got more riots, more protests and more disruption. The actual phrase was never uttered, even The Washington Post and the Obama administration admit that.

It doesn’t matter. The expression continues to be used throughout the left, as well as in major media from ABC to ESPN. In 2014, five St. Louis Rams players even held their hands up in a protest at a game. Their protest was based on a lie. The alt-left didn’t care.

That protest has evolved and included the Black Friday, Ferguson, and ShutItDown protests, the Freddie Gray riot, Black Lives Matter and now the #NotMyPresident protests and riot. In the Freddie Gray riot alone, 130 police officers were injured, more than at any incident since 9/11.

There was lots of ink in the alt-left media to support the rioters, very little that even mentioned the injured police. The same thing happened when Black Lives Matter protesters injured 21 police in Minneapolis in July.

Those weren’t the only alt-left unrest. Trump supporters were victims of similar assaults during the campaign. They were punched, attacked, egged and threatened. Major media blamed Trump by a factor of 15-1. Alt-left media were worse. Liberal Prof. David Coates wrote in HuffPo to blame the right, saying the violence was all on angry Republicans, “an anger that has no parallel in and around the base of the Democratic Party.” Classic misdirection.

The alt-left doesn’t just use violence to enforce its will. It smears its opponents as racists and Nazis while journalists help them do it. Together they dredge up 30-year-old comments from Sen. Jeff Sessions to say he’s racist. Yet they ignore how liberals have helped kill 60 million mostly minority babies and never once accuse them of trying to genocide African-American and Hispanic communities. Only liberals are allowed to use ist words.

When that doesn’t work, the alt-left turns to its deep bench of celebrities. We are flooded with climate change stories, many featuring Hollywood stars. Actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Woody Harrelson and director James Cameron are go-to, alt-left climate scolds.

Liberal outlets never tell us about the carbon footprint of the 400-foot royal yacht DiCaprio rented. Or maybe how Harrelson had his vegan belt and shoes flown to France special.

Cameron, for his part, owns a collection of motorcycles, cars, dirt bikes, a yacht, a helicopter -- even a fleet of submarines. Yet he’s a climate hero.

None of that matters to either the alt-left or the major media. But it matters to the rest of us.

The alt-left is more than just a web of sometimes-demented liberal websites and pundits. It is the major media outlets and journalists who credential those sites and ideas. Some of Huffington Post’s most-devoted readers are the very journalists who then claim neutrality on national issues.

If this election didn’t prove the traditional news media are devoted left-wingers, nothing will.

Is there any doubt that The Times is just as alt-left as Huffington Post? They share a common world view. They promote the same agendas. They mirror each other’s disgust for things not liberal. So when Trump skewers Times liberals, he is taking on the massive creature that is the alt-left.

It’s the 800-ton Godzilla in the room. It’s about time we called it a monster.



Election Therapy From My Basket of Deplorables
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times
November 27, 2016

WASHINGTON – First I had to deal with the president-elect scolding.

During his interview with The New York Times on Tuesday, Donald Trump chided me twice for being too tough on him.

Sitting next to our publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Trump invited everyone around the table to call him if they saw anything “where you feel that I’m wrong.”

“You can call me, Arthur can call me, I would love to hear,” he said. “The only one who can’t call me is Maureen. She treats me too rough.”

Then I had to go home for Thanksgiving and deal with my family scolding me about the media misreading the country. I went cold turkey to eat hot turkey: no therapy dog, no weaving therapy, no yoga, no acupuncture, no meditation, no cry-in.

The minute I saw my sister’s Trump champagne and a Cersei figurine as the centerpiece – my brother, Kevin, nicknamed Hillary “Cersei” during this year’s brutal game of thrones – I knew I wasn’t in a safe space.

My little basket of deplorables, as I call my conservative family, gloated with Trump toasts galore, and Kevin presented me with his annual holiday column with an extra flourish.

My colleague Paul Krugman tweeted Friday that “affluent, educated suburbanites” who voted for Trump are “fools.” What else is there to say, he asked.

Well, here is what Kevin, an affluent, educated suburbanite, has to say in his column, titled an “Election Therapy Guide for Liberals”:

[Kevin Dowd writes]

Donald Trump pulled off one of the greatest political feats in modern history by defeating Hillary Clinton and the vaunted Clinton machine.

The election was a complete repudiation of Barack Obama: his fantasy world of political correctness, the politicization of the Justice Department and the I.R.S., an out-of-control E.P.A., his neutering of the military, his nonsupport of the police and his fixation on things like transgender bathrooms. Since he became president, his party has lost 63 House seats, 10 Senate seats and 14 governorships.

The country had signaled strongly in the last two midterms that they were not happy. The Dems’ answer was to give them more of the same from a person they did not like or trust.

Preaching – and pandering – with a message of inclusion, the Democrats have instead become a party where incivility and bad manners are taken for granted, rudeness is routine, religion is mocked and there is absolutely no respect for a differing opinion. This did not go down well in the Midwest, where Trump flipped three blue states and 44 electoral votes.

The rudeness reached its peak when Vice President-elect Mike Pence was booed by attendees of “Hamilton” and then pompously lectured by the cast. This may play well with the New York theater crowd but is considered boorish and unacceptable by those of us taught to respect the office of the president and vice president, if not the occupants.

Here is a short primer for the young protesters. If your preferred candidate loses, there is no need for mass hysteria, canceled midterms, safe spaces, crying rooms or group primal screams. You might understand this better if you had not received participation trophies, undeserved grades to protect your feelings or even if you had a proper understanding of civics. The Democrats are now crying that Hillary had more popular votes. That can be her participation trophy.

If any of my sons had told me they were too distraught over a national election to take an exam, I would have brought them home the next day, fearful of the instruction they were receiving. Not one of the top 50 colleges mandate one semester of Western Civilization. Maybe they should rethink that.

Mr. Trump received over 62 million votes, not all of them cast by homophobes, Islamaphobes, racists, sexists, misogynists or any other “ists.” I would caution Trump deniers that all of the crying and whining is not good preparation for the coming storm. The liberal media, both print and electronic, has lost all credibility. I am reasonably sure that none of the mainstream print media had stories prepared for a Trump victory. I watched the networks and cable stations in their midnight meltdown – embodied by Rachel Maddow explaining to viewers that they were not having a “terrible, terrible dream” and that they had not died and “gone to hell.”

The media’s criticism of Trump’s high-level picks as “not diverse enough” or “too white and male” – a day before he named two women and offered a cabinet position to an African-American – magnified this fact.

Here is a final word to my Democratic friends. The election is over. There will not be a do-over. So let me bid farewell to Al Sharpton, Ben Rhodes and the Clintons. Note to Cher, Barbra, Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham: Your plane is waiting. And to Jon Stewart, who talked about moving to another planet: Your spaceship is waiting. To Bruce Springsteen, Jay Z, Beyoncé and Katy Perry, thanks for the free concerts. And finally, to all the foreign countries that contributed to the Clinton Foundation, there will not be a payoff or a rebate.

As Eddie Murphy so eloquently stated in the movie “48 Hrs.”: “There’s a new sheriff in town.” And he is going to be here for 1,461 days. Merry Christmas.



Answering a Trump Supporter’s Message to Liberals
The New York Times
December 1, 2016

To the Editor:
Re “No Blubbering, Just Trump Bubbly” (column, Nov. 27):

I take issue with Kevin Dowd, Maureen Dowd’s brother, who excoriates liberals for believing that all Donald Trump voters are “homophobes, Islamophobes, racists, sexists, misogynists.”

I don’t think for a second that most liberals believe that; however, I do believe that many Hillary Clinton supporters are alarmed by the complacency and lack of outrage by Trump supporters over the jubilation expressed by the burgeoning white supremacy movement and the appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist.

We are not “whining” in “preparation for the coming storm.” Rather, we are speaking out against bigotry and hate and coming together to ensure that all Americans feel safe in our own country. I wish most of the 62 million who voted for Mr. Trump would do the same.

Eugene, Ore.

To the Editor:

Even though I am an unapologetic Democrat, I have often been grateful for the annual column in which Maureen Dowd gives her conservative brother, Kevin, a voice. Frequently, he has inspired me to think through the issues from a different point of view. Not so this time, I’m afraid.

This time, Kevin marched gleefully in lock step with many other Donald Trump supporters who, having tasted victory, would rather continue their campaign against the “liberal establishment” than face the challenge of governing this complex, diverse and difficult country.

Really, why bother to continue to castigate Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama? You won! You’re in charge! Good luck!

Journalism that matters.

More essential than ever.

Silver Spring, Md.

(The writer was deputy assistant secretary of state for environment and development from 1998 to 2000.)

To the Editor:

Kevin Dowd’s sentiments echo what many Donald Trump supporters say and illustrate how differently liberals and conservatives see the world. We have to make the country functional again, and though we may not succeed, we must make a genuine effort to listen.

Setting aside who’s right or wrong for now, it’s clear that too many on both sides mock the other’s assumptions, vilify their opinions and believe that their opponents are idiots. Liberals mischaracterize conservatives by calling them all bigots and misogynists, and conservatives mischaracterize liberals by claiming we’re all obsessed with political correctness and hate American values.

It will take radical faith on both sides to trust that most of their opponents actually love America and aren’t evil, even if their words infuriate us.

New Haven


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