Mike Adams, a conservative Texas blogger, greeted President-elect Donald Trump’s victory with this post: “The evil, demonic, mass murdering Hillary Clinton has been defeated. This is VICTORY for all Americans, even the uninformed, ignorant morons who voted for Hillary.”
But a few hours later, as the news sank in, Adams posted again with a more hopeful tone: “Today I declare ‘LOVE WINS’ because it is love for America that inspired us to collectively achieve this great victory.” He said he was going to send Trump a video with his suggestions about how to reform health care.
Adams and thousands of others on the furious far-right of American political discourse, who have railed for years against the “criminal” and “treasonous” excesses of the federal government under President Obama, woke up Wednesday to find themselves in the odd position of being, essentially, insiders.
Members of the so-called “alt-right,” who reject establishment conservatism and spread their far-right ideology online, were eagerly courted by candidate Trump. Now this vocal constituency feels emboldened by its new ally in the White House, presenting Trump with a major challenge to satisfy its pent-up demands while trying to unite a deeply divided nation.
Adams, who blogs about health, wellness and politics on a Facebook page that has 2 million “likes,” said he sees the Trump election as a long-awaited chance to be heard by the White House. In addition to sending Trump his health-care ideas, he is urging him to fight abortion and nominate Supreme Court justices who will protect his right to own a gun.
“My message is going to be: Let’s move forward, let’s contribute,” Adams said in an interview. “It’s like JFK: Ask what you can do for your country. We’re at that kind of moment. Myself, and I hope many others, are going to do our best to try to contribute to solutions.”
Trump’s election has sent hopes flying among a broad array of Americans angry at the federal government for what they see as unconstitutional overreach into their lives. They often describe themselves as part of the patriot or liberty movements, and many belong to well-armed militia groups such as the Oath Keepers or the 3 Percenters, whose membership has soared into the hundreds of thousands since Obama took office in 2008.
Many people in those movements backed Trump’s candidacy with full-throated gusto on the Internet and social media. However, others have been skeptical of his conservative credentials, and some are now vowing to pressure him to make good on his campaign rhetoric on issues such as abortion, immigration and putting “America first.”
“It is now up to us to keep the heat on Congress and Trump, to fulfill the promises that were made by Mr. Trump,” said Shorty Dawkins, writing on the Oath Keepers website. “We have won a battle, but not the war against globalism. We cannot rest.”
KrisAnne Hall, a radio host who tours the nation preaching against federal overreach of the Constitution, said she wanted voters to “make a list of things they wanted changed that motivated them to vote and hang that list on their refrigerator.”
“Then I want them to review that list in two years and again in four years and see if those things actually changed for the better,” she said. “Perhaps then we can see where the changes need to be made and who has or doesn’t have the power to make those changes.”
Trump’s victory has also energized white supremacists, who believe that Trump, with his calls to deport immigrants and ban Muslims, could bring their racist and anti-Semitic views into the mainstream in a way no politician has for decades.
“The people in our movement are really excited with the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency, what it can do for us,” said William Daniel Johnson of the American Freedom Party, a prominent white nationalist in Los Angeles who has called for a whites-only United States and the deportation of other races and ethnicities.
“In the past, presidents have reached out to all peoples, except those whites who are proud of their heritage and want to preserve Western civilization,” Johnson said. “Our hope is that his large tent will include us who have really been despised for generations.”
During the campaign, Trump retweeted messages from white nationalist groups and often seemed reluctant to distance himself from those groups. He was endorsed by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
After the election, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in North Carolina, posted a large photo of Trump on its website with the message “TRUMP=TRUMP’S RACE UNITED MY PEOPLE.” The group says it has scheduled a “victory parade” on Dec. 3 in North Carolina. The group did not return a telephone message seeking comment and more details.
Two months after Trump announced his candidacy last year, a South Florida tattoo artist named Lonny Morgan latched on to Trump’s crusade against “political correctness” and started a website called “Outlaw Morgan,” devoted to promoting Trump and trashing Clinton and Obama. The Democrat-turned-Republican, who now earns his living selling T-shirts and other merchandise on his Facebook site, has more than 260,000 “likes.”
“I couldn’t take it anymore; I got to a point where I was tired of oversensitive people claiming that everything is bigotry and everything is racist,” said Morgan, 41, who doesn’t count himself among the white supremacists.
Morgan said many Trump supporters were “pretty much talking 1776-style revolution” if Clinton had won. But with Trump in the White House, they now see a chance for their beliefs and ideas to be taken seriously at the highest levels of government.
For example, Morgan said he hoped Trump would select Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who led a congressional inquiry into Clinton’s role in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, to replace Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.
He said he and others who felt completely alienated by the government view Trump’s victory as a “torch of hope for people to carry.”
“You can feel the hope in your chest. You wake up this morning and you’re like, ‘Hell yeah,’” he said. “I woke up today and the tension in my shoulders was lifted. I feel calm. I have a Harley-Davidson that I love to ride. I bought a ’91 Jeep Cherokee that I’m going to put a lift kit on and take out in the woods. I feel like I can finally get back to my life.”
Morgan said he planned to keep his website going to support Trump and to make sure that he keeps his campaign promises.
“It’s up to us to monitor everything and make sure he stays true to his word,” Morgan said. “The American people are going to hold him accountable.”
Since the election, Johnson, the white supremacist, who has said U.S. citizenship should be limited to white people with “no ascertainable trace of Negro blood,” has been emailing and calling Trump campaign officials, and people at the conservative Heritage Foundation, to promote himself and allies for positions in the Trump administration. He said they could be a “conscience” pressuring Trump “to live up to some of his pro-white, pro-nationalist, pro-populist political campaign promises.”
Johnson said he has promoted himself for undersecretary of agriculture for food, nutrition and consumer services, the position that oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — the federal food stamp program. He said he wants to “get rid of this entitlement mentality that we have in this country. It needs to be adjusted and reduced.”
He said he has asked his British friend Nigel Farage, of the far-right, anti-immigrant United Kingdom Independence Party, which was a key driver of this year’s Brexit vote for Britain to leave the European Union, to recommend him to Trump officials. Farage appeared with Trump at a few rallies over the summer.
Johnson was briefly included on the Trump campaign’s list of delegates to the Republican National Convention in July. But after media reports, campaign officials removed him, saying he had been inadvertently included through a “database error.”
He’s had no better luck this time. Despite his hopeful pleadings to be part of the Trump administration, he said so far he’s had no response from anyone in the Trump camp.
Jared Taylor, a prominent white nationalist known for his opposition to multiculturalism, said he does not believe Trump is a white supremacist.
“Donald Trump has stumbled onto certain policies that are congruent with a racialist view of the world, but he’s got completely different motives,” Taylor said.
But he said there is hope that Trump’s thinking may evolve, opening the door to contact with Taylor. If so, he said, he will certainly take advantage of the opportunity to influence the new administration.
“The possibility of that happening is greater than ever before,” he said. “Here is a guy who has broken the mold for how we talk about race. The fact that he was nominated at all was a huge step forward.
Taylor said that if he is contacted by members of the Trump administration, he’s unlikely to publicize it any time soon.
“As an earthly assistant of the devil, boldly writing about my plans to meet the Trump entourage — how could that possibly do to the president-elect any good?” he said.