Is There Such A Thing As “Alt-Left?” A Glossary Guide to the Street Wars

Just what does Trump mean when he says “both sides” are to blame?

First on Saturday, then again on Tuesday, Donald Trump insisted that there were two sides to the conflict that took place in Charlottesville. As he sparred with reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon, he insisted there was “blame on both sides” and issued this challenge:

“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’? Do they have any semblance of guilt?”

But is there really such a thing as the “alt left?” And what, for that matter, is the “alt right?”

The New York Times sought to define the terms that have become a part of the Trump lexicon.

Alt Right

The term “Alt Right” is shorthand for the racist anti-semitic white nationalist movement that has risen in prominence in the U.S. over the past few years.

The movement, which opposes the left on all fronts including feminism, gay rights, and immigrant rights, is for the most part decentralized but thrives online “where its ideology is spread via racist or sexist memes with a satirical edge.”

Alt Left

According to experts, the alt left is not a real movement, but rather a term made up by apologists of rightwing extremism to create a false equivalence between the left and right, as Trump did yesterday.

As Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League puts it:

“It’s just a made-up epithet, similar to certain people calling any news they don’t like ‘fake news.’”

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Todd Beeton

Todd Beeton is Senior Content Editor for The Social Edge. Before that, he served as Digital Director... keep reading

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