Say you’re watching a cooking show. If, in step three, the chef pisses in the mixing bowl, do you care what comes in step six or seven? Or even what he’s making at all?
And here we have the problem with the so-called “alt-right.”
“They” say some appealing things, frankly. They tend to be federalists. They support a strong national defense. They tend to favor lower taxes. (These would be analogous to steps one and two of the recipe on the cooking show. It’s easy to nod along with steps one and two.)
But then step three comes—the piss-in-the-bowl step. It’s something about the blacks and the Jews.
And these alt-right people claim considerable common cause with mainstream conservatism. How many “UNITE THE RIGHT” signs were at that foolishness in Charlottesville? (You should translate those signs as “LEGITIMIZE US.”)
In the early days of National Review, William F. Buckley Jr. noted that he had similar “clowns in his house.” He used his nascent (but already influential) magazine to effectively evict them from conservatism.
President Trump faces a similar issue today. He must break conclusively and unambiguously with the alt-right, saying these are not our people. He must stress that alt-right support for him damages his agenda, not helps it. And finally, he must flush his administration of alt-right apologists and/or sympathizers. That means Steve Bannon has to go.
It is a considerable understatement to call Donald Trump an atypical president. And despite my refusal to support him, his brash unorthodoxy is something I have thought might be an effective weapon against the ongoing metastases of political correctness and identity politics. I hope it still can be.
But he must take this trash out first.