Hillary Clinton gave her speech yesterday denouncing the alt-right and today the NY Times reports the alt-right is thrilled with the attention:
Mrs. Clinton’s speech was intended to link Mr. Trump to a fringe ideology of conspiracies and hate, but for the leaders of the alt-right, the attention from the Democratic presidential nominee was a moment in the political spotlight that offered a new level of credibility. It also provided a valuable opportunity for fund-raising and recruiting.
Jared Taylor, editor of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, live-tweeted Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, questioning her praise of establishment Republicans and eagerly anticipating her discussion of his community.
“Come on, Hillary,” he wrote. “Talk about Alt Right.”…
Mrs. Clinton’s public criticism of the alt-right could turn out to be a boon for the movement, and its members did their best to capitalize on the moment.
Wow! Who could have predicted that having Hillary Clinton make the alt-right the focus of attention would be seen as a gift by the alt-right. Oh, wait, that’s exactly what I said would happen the day before her speech:
Hillary Clinton is a candidate for president. By attacking the alt-right she’s elevating them in this election. She’s ensuring lots of previously marginal voices will be appearing on cable news to discuss this topic. Hillary openly inviting them to center stage in the national debate…
She can pretend she’s trying to take them down all she wants but in reality she’s giving them a gift. This is the kind of national publicity the alt-right could never buy.
I’m rehashing this not solely to point out that this was obviously the case even before she gave the speech but also to point back to the reasons I think Hillary did this. Her speech elevated the alt-right because doing so is good for her campaign. The goal here is to ensure that Trump’s ham-fisted outreach to the black and Latino community is a failure. Her speech and that video linking Trump to the KKK amount to racial fear-mongering. The video quite literally suggests the KKK could be running the White House if Trump wins the election.
While absolutely hypocritical, Hillary’s racial fear-mongering will probably work for her in the short run. But there’s a real danger to what she’s doing in the longer run. Inviting the alt-right onto the national stage only ensures the national temperature over racial issues will continue to go up. After the shootings in Charleston and Dallas and Baton Rouge by racists both black and white, elevating the temperature is not what is needed right now.
Perhaps if Hillary were truly desperate I could see this move to stoke the tension as understandable (if still not wise). But Hillary has a 10-point lead in several national polls and is leading in most battleground states as well. She didn’t need to kick this hornet’s nest, but she obviously wanted to do it. She may have to live with some ugly consequences from her short-sighted decision.