Mother Jones reports: Jeff Blehar had no idea he was about to become a conduit for a virulent political awakening. It was July 2015, and the conservative writer and outspoken critic of freshly minted presidential candidate Donald Trump was being pummeled on Twitter with a profane-sounding political dis: “cuckservative.” The term, which had recently begun appearing on fringe internet forums, was meant to denigrate mainstream Republicans as impotent traitors, in part by evoking a genre of porn that features white men watching their wives have sex with black men.
“I want to congratulate [the] guy who keeps calling me a ‘cuckservative’—you win, dude,” Blehar tweeted sarcastically. “You’re right, and I’m deleting my account out of shame.”
Conservative pundit and Trump critic Erick Erickson soon weighed in, tweeting that he had read about cuckservatism in the white nationalist Radix Journal. Now it was game on for the trolls. A user named “dindu refugee” called Erickson “a cuckservative if I’ve ever seen one.” Paul Kersey, creator of the racist blog Stuff That Black People Don’t Like, taunted Erickson about previously living in Macon, Georgia: “Now it’s a black hellhole which you won’t dare mention. #Cuckservative.”
Explainers soon appeared in The New Republic, BuzzFeed, and the Washington Post, ushering the insult into the broader political lexicon. National Review’s David French complained of being brutally trolled with “cuckservative” taunts for having adopted a child from Ethiopia. Glenn Beck lamented, “It is everywhere now.”
The attacks may have seemed like just a fleeting, perverse twist on RINO (“Republican in name only”), but in fact they were something far more ominous — the stirrings of a loosely knit extremist movement soon more widely known as the “alt-right.” Thanks to Trump’s demagogic campaign—throughout which he would circulate bigoted memes to his millions of Twitter followers — the alt-right now had an opportunity to inject racism, misogyny, and xenophobia into mainstream American politics. Provocative but obscure online rhetoric was quickly morphing into something more serious and powerful: the normalization of the politics of hate.
It never would have happened without Trump acting as troll in chief. Already admired by extremists for his ongoing birther crusade against President Barack Obama, Trump riveted their attention when he announced his White House run and vowed to build a border wall to keep out Mexican criminals and “rapists.” That soon earned him praise from a who’s who of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and militia supporters. [Continue reading…]