WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President-elect Donald Trump rose from a crowded field of Republican candidates by rejecting traditional conservatism and the establishment – a tactic that helped one movement gain momentum during the campaign.
The group that calls itself the “alt-right” fiercely supported Mr. Trump, and now hopes its policies will gain strength.
But critics call members white supremacists armed with dangerous ideas.
Richard Spencer, the founder of the “alt-right,” is in the process of moving into a loft in Alexandria, Virginia in what he calls the new hub for his movement.
“We want to be mainstream. Radically mainstream,” he said.
The group has operated quietly since 2008, mostly online.
But Trump’s campaign ignited its cause.
Spencer believes immigration has destroyed America’s white-European identity.
“Outside of spicy ethnic food or burritos, most of the fruits of multi-culturalism are really negative,” he said.
Civil rights groups like the Anti-Defamation League say the name “alt-right,” short for alternative right, is just a re-branding of white supremacy.
They point to scenes like one from a conference in Washington in November.
“Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory,” Spencer said to a cheering conference crowd.
“This is something that concerns us, because white supremacists really promote a lot of ideas that are hateful, that talk about creating a white ethno-state,” said Marilyn Mayo, a research fellow and the ADL Center on Extremism.
Similar ideas have been published by the right wing Breitbart News Network.
It’s former chairman – Steve Bannon – is now Trump’s chief White House strategist.
Spencer said he has no relationship with Bannon, but he senses an openness to alternative ideas.
One of Spencer’s ideas is to have the government pay for non-white citizens to leave.
“Why do you think people would accept money to leave the country?” asked CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang.
“Because I don’t think immigrants are truly rooted here,” he responded.
Trump has denounced the alt-right and the Anti-Defamation League does not believe the group will actually impact policy.
“I think what is important for the administration to realize about the alt-right is that they’re racist and anti-Semitic and not to downplay that,” Mayo said.
Spencer’s movement may stay on the fringe, but civil rights groups say his message of hate alone could become dangerous.