- Sep 21, 2018
- Joined SLU
- June 2007
- SLU Posts
[Reuters] El Paso massacre upends white nationalists’ normalization strategy
Two years ago, America’s white nationalist movement stunned the country. Neo-Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, had turned deadly when a far-right protester drove a car through a crowd, killing one and injuring dozens. Some movement leaders regrouped. Instead of stoking outrage, they set out to build support with another tack: Looking normal.
The larger goal was what many white nationalists call “Phase 2” — gaining mainstream acceptance for far-right ideas widely rejected as repugnant and getting white nationalists into positions of influence. The normalization effort included softened rhetoric and social gatherings that, for many groups, would increasingly replace confrontational rallies.
“We haven’t seen many rallies since Charlottesville,” she said. The combination of bad press, prosecutions and lost access to social media, has “depressed people in the movement” and created a sense that “maybe the softer approach is the way to go.”
The shootings, and Trump’s repudiation, leave the normalizers in a difficult, perhaps impossible spot. Their gambit was always a stretch.