Why Is the Alt-Right Falling Apart?

A year after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the alt-right seems to be floundering, and many of its leaders did not see this coming.
White nationalist Richard Spencer, center, and his supporters clash with Virginia State Police in Emancipation Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering on August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
PER_AltRight_01_830755846 Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Updated | “Hail Trump!” Richard Spencer bellowed. “Hail our people! Hail victory!”

It was November 2016, not long after Donald Trump’s surprising presidential victory, and Spencer, perhaps America’s most well-known figure in the so-called alt-right, was speaking to a packed room of white nationalists in Washington, D.C. A clip of the speech, first published by The Atlantic, went viral and seemed to confirm the worst fears of many Trump critics: that the president-elect had empowered a fringe movement of racist, right-wing radicals and launched it into the mainstream.

But less than 18 months later, on March 5, 2018, Spencer spoke in front of another room of like-minded supporters, this time at Michigan State University. Only now, the audience was smaller than the one in D.C., and Spencer seemed far less triumphant. “We are going to have to suffer through these birth pangs of becoming a real movement,” Spencer said, referring to the scattered crowd. Outside, a smattering of self-identified neo-Nazis

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Newsweek

Newsweek13 min readPolitics
Will Donald Trump’s Booming Economy Go Bust?
The stock market is booming, unemployment is at its lowest since 1969, and consumer confidence is high. “The economy is soooo good,” President Trump claimed. So why are his approval ratings in the toilet? Here’s what lies beneath the numbers.
Newsweek12 min read
Sebastian Kurz Remaking Europe's Future From Dark Past
Young Austrians see themselves in their 32-year-old chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, a conservative populist with big ambitions. In championing him, they also flirt with the country’s dangerous past.
Newsweek2 min read
Photographer Eva Sereny Captured Sets Of Iconic Films
Sereny was one of the only female set photographers in the ’70s, and worked with every major director, from Bernardo Bertolucci to Steven Spielberg.