Lessons On Our Dark Future From The Rise Of The Religious Right

Katherine Cross
The Establishment
Published in
12 min readNov 23, 2016


Ronald Reagan giving his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in 1980. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Just as Reagan exploited the resentment of white Christians, now the resentments of white men in general have been harnessed.

II t wasn’t over on November 8.

Of course it wasn’t. This race, with its roiling of our electoral landscape, is the kind that leaves legacies — even if Trump had lost, the stain of what Trump has made possible would be with us.

Trump has reinvigorated white nationalism. While many across the political spectrum have reacted with horror at Trump’s bigotry, all too many Republicans and conservatives may instead be taking lessons from him on how to exploit the newly-invigorated “alt-right,” the trendy name given to people who are mostly unreconstructed white nationalists and neo-Nazis. (There’s even been a push to disavow this term altogether, for the way it obscures and normalizes the bigotry and hatred that fuels this “movement,” with media figures taking pledges to never use the term “alt-right” at all.)

For a party that has shown itself to be chronically allergic to expanding its base, finding ways to ratchet up the rage of angry white men may seem to be the only hope. Worse, the self-identified “alt-right’s” internet-savvy gloss provides Republicans with…