In a cramped, carpeted ballroom at the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington, the rebranded "alt right" movement took a victory lap Friday and looked optimistically toward their future as a growing movement in the United States.
The press conference included all the same alt right notes that have become the centerpiece of the movement. There were discussions about an "ethnostate" and how to build one and debates about whether Jewish people could rightly identify themselves as European. One participant waxed poetic on why he is tired of being called a white supremacist in the media, and another predicted that the United States "will break up" over its divisions. Russia was applauded for being the "sole white power in the world." If the alt-right was in control, one of the presenters imagined there would be more images of beautiful "blonde women" running their hands through wheat fields.
"Race is real. Race matters and race is the foundation of identity," said Richard Spencer, one of the group's leaders and activists.
After years in relative obscurity in chatrooms and anonymous forums online, the disjointed alt right movement, closely aligned with the white nationalist movement, is experiencing a bit of a renaissance at the moment. In Europe, a backlash against a refugee crisis has resulted in Brexit. And in the United States, at the top of a major party ticket, the alt right finally has a Republican candidate in Donald Trump it can rally around.
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