Some might say that the Alt Right was bad for Trump . . . that we made his brand toxic . . . that we would have helped him more by just shutting up or even endorsing Hillary . . . that our first rule should have been, “Do no harm” . . . etc.
But to think in this way is to misunderstand everything.
Sam Francis noted that with both the Democratic and Republican Parties, the elites are to the left of the voters. Left-wing intellectuals, activists, and operatives are to the left (often far to the left) of the majority of Democrats (your average labor-union worker, soccer mom, or Black American). On the other hand, the Republican elite (the bowtie brigade, religious leaders, and “conservative intellectuals”) are also to the left of Republicans. Indeed, the Republican elite functions to dampen or deflect populist energies—to make sure things don’t “get out of hand” and that American nationalism is always about tax cuts.
In turn, the Alt Right (long before we had the name) was totally alienated from Republican politics. Postmodern deconstructionists and former left-wing terrorists with academic sinecures have a place in the official Left. People like Sam Francis were personae non gratae in the Right.
2016 changed all this.
The Alt Right is deeply connected to Trumpian populism in intellectual, spiritual, and visceral ways—for, as everyone agrees, Trump’s victory was, at its root, a victory of identity politics. And it was a campaign that ultimately dispensed with “conservatism” as we knew it. Because of this fact, Trump was opposed by most all components of the mainstream Right—from the neocons to establishment operatives to goofballs like Glenn Beck. And these forces opposed him with such vehemence that they simply cannot share in his victory.
In this way, the Alt Right, far more plausibly than the “conservative movement,” can lay claim to being the new Trumpian vanguard.
Before Trump, the Alt Right could be criticized for being a “head without a body”; it was engaged in meta-political and scientific discussion, but lacked a real connection with practical politics and the hopes and dreams of average Americans. In turn, Trump’s populism—with its half-baked policy ideas and sketchy vision of the future—could be criticized as a “body without a head.”
Now we are the whole man. The Alt Right and Trumpian populism are now aligned much in the way the Left is aligned with Democratic politicians like Obama and Hillary. The American Right always lacked a true vanguard. In the form of “conservatives,” it had only a “rearguard” or "muffle” or “hall monitor.” We—and only we—can say the things Trump can’t say . . . can criticize him in the right way . . . and can envision a new world that he can’t quite grasp.
2016 wasn’t just a “weird election,” with a seemingly unelectable candidate who didn’t play by the rules. 2016 represents a paradigm shift of enormous proportions. We have been transfigured by it—and so has the world.