Last week a friend asked me what the “alt right” was, and I realized I couldn’t come up with a definition. It’s one of those stretch-and-shrink terms with no fixed meaning. Sometimes it means neo-Nazis like Richard B. Spencer. Sometimes it means websites like Breitbart News that give a platform to nativists. Sometimes it means people on the Internet who say offensive things but don’t have any clear set of ideas.
The net effect is to give the Nazis a lot more prominence than they deserve. It inflates their apparent numbers. I could even say it “normalizes” them, but I wouldn’t mean the same thing a lot of people are saying with that term. What I’m saying is that progressive smear tactics play into the hands of the worst people by making them appear more numerous and influential than they are.
Let’s identify people for what they actually are. Call Nazis Nazis, nativists nativists, and trolls trolls.