How the far right fell into line behind Donald Trump

World

How the far right fell into line behind Donald Trump

The outgoing president has served as a beacon for a motley crew of extremists, scholars say

Joshua Chaffin

Five years ago, Kathleen Blee, a sociologist at the University of Pittsburgh, was interviewing former white supremacists and discovered something unexpected: unprompted, many of her subjects would bring up Donald Trump, who had just embarked on an outsider campaign for the White House.

“It was just striking to me,” recalled Blee, whose research into racist movements includes interviewing female Ku Klux Klan members from the 1920s for a book on the subject.

Decades of experience taught her that white supremacists tend to abhor electoral politics, which they view as a feature of the corrupt world they wish to overturn. And yet, Blee found, “people were saying sort of cautiously interested things about the Trump campaign”...

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