OAKTON, Va. — Jared Taylor hits play, and the first Donald Trump ad of the general election unfolds across his breakfast table. Syrian refugees streaming across a border. Hordes of immigrants, crowded onto trains.
From his Fairfax County home, Taylor has edited the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance and organized racialist conferences under the “AmRen” banner. He said that Trump should “concentrate on his natural constituency, which is white people,” suggesting that winning 65 percent of the white vote would overwhelm any Democratic gains with minorities.
When Trump made Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon his campaign’s chief executive last week, Taylor found reasons to celebrate. It was the latest sign for white nationalists, once dismissed as fringe, that their worldview was gaining popularity and that the old Republican Party was coming to an end.
The rise of the alt-right — named for the Alternative Right website that the “identitarian” nationalist Richard Spencer set up in 2010 and adopted by those opposed to multiculturalism and mass immigration — has come to define how many of its adherents see Trump. There’s less talk now about a “pivot,” or a moment when Trump will adopt the ideas of people that he conquered. His strategy now resembles the alt-right dream of maximizing the white vote — even as polling shows his standing with white voters falls short of Mitt Romney’s in 2012.
Trump’s newest speeches, read from a teleprompter, hit all of their favorite notes. “I don’t think Trump had mentioned ‘sanctuary cities’ previously,” Spencer said in an interview. “There’s reason to believe that Bannon is returning him to his powerful, populist message — indeed, honing it. [Former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort was turning Trump into a standard Republican, with the [Mike] Pence [vice-presidential] choice, the economic policy, talk of how ‘Hillary is the real racist,’ if not quite in those words. Bannon is making me hope again, making Trump Trump again.”