Richard Spencer, the notorious father of the so-called alt-right, is ruffling feathers again by declaring his support for a candidate for president – and it ain’t Trump this time. “I plan to vote for Biden on a straight democratic ticket,” Spencer tweeted, adding that “the liberals are clearly more competent people.” Biden’s campaign has loudly and forcefully disavowed the endorsement – but the candidate himself has yet to address it. Did Richard Spencer really take a left turn onto “Team Joe,” or is there more to this story?
With Friends Like These …
Spencer followed his initial tweet bomb with a campaign ad for Biden that says, “I’m on Team Joe!”
— Richard Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) August 24, 2020
With his ties to white supremacist movements in the United States, Richard Spencer is understandably not the sort of fellow most people would want vouching for them. After Spencer’s “Team Joe” tweet, the head of the Biden campaign’s rapid response team, Andrew Bates, was quick to reject the support. “When Joe Biden says we are in a battle for the soul of our nation against vile forces of hate who have come crawling out from under rocks, you are the epitome of what he means,” Bates wrote. “What you stand for is absolutely repugnant. Your support is 10,000% percent unwelcome here.”
What’s He Playing at Now?
Spencer was a loud supporter of Donald Trump leading up to and immediately following the 2016 election, only withdrawing his support from the president after Qassem Soleimani’s death. But could it be that that was all just a ruse – that he’s still very much a fanboy of the Donald? Maybe this is, as one Twitter user suggested, “a fascist psyop designed to create infighting among the left.”
“This is either using notoriety to dissuade people from voting for Biden, or it’s an accelerationist move,” declared yet another. But this raises an interesting question: If merely saying that he’s planning to vote for Biden because “the liberals are clearly more competent people” is so obviously a reverse psychology ploy, then what of his support for Trump? Spencer often hyped Trump as the new Hitler – as if that were a good thing. So this man showed his support for the current president by trying to make him look like the single most hated man in modern history, but when he says he’ll vote for the Democrats because they’re competent – that’s sabotage?
Richard Spencer: The Man, the Myth, the Leftist
Let’s face it: clever “alt-right” branding aside, the alternative to the right has always been the left. Richard Spencer claims to be far-right, but what does he truly believe? We’ll set aside the obvious racial issues for a moment. Neither side of the political spectrum holds any monopoly on racism. Let’s look at his other political beliefs.
Like so many progressive Democrats, Spencer often lambasts capitalism. It’s evil, you know, and the big corporations are all out to get the little guy. He’s also a fan of single-payer health care, as he claims it will be good for white people. He’s pro-abortion, as he believes it’ll mean fewer black and Hispanic people in America. And he’s probably not wrong – Planned Parenthood has a well-documented history of targeting minority communities. In fact, Spencer has suggested that the right would do well to adopt most of Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) platform on economic issues.
Spencer also supports big government programs, like those to reinvent public transportation, fix the climate, and forgive student debt. Despite flirting briefly with libertarianism in the late 2000s, Spencer has since called it incompatible with white nationalism. That’s probably because racial exploitation and identity politics in general don’t mesh well with libertarian ideals.
The idea that the individual is free to make his own way in life without government intervention is a core belief of the American right. It’s the left that lacks faith in individuals, believing instead that people need the state to guide them for their own good – even if that means having their freedoms restricted. Like most leftists, Spencer is a statist. At Auburn University, he called individualism and freedom stupid concepts. In an interview with Dinesh D’Souza, Spencer made it clear that only the state can grant rights:
“No individual has a right outside of collective community. You have rights, not eternally or given by God or by nature. You have them because you’re a part of this community. Ultimately, the state gives those rights to you.”
Moments later in the same interview, he said he didn’t think Reagan was a great president and named Andrew Jackson – the founder of the Democratic Party – and James Polk – another Democrat – as his two favorite presidents.
All alleged dreams of a new Reich under Führer Trump aside, the only political belief he seems to have in common with the president is the idea of America First. While Trump’s is all of America should come first, Spencer’s is that white America should come first. And when you throw into the mix his desire to restructure the European Union as a white empire, it’s clear that – like his hero, Adolf Hitler – Spencer’s idea of “nationalism” isn’t much more than just the first step in a truly global scheme. At the end of the day, Richard Spencer isn’t a far-right personality. He may have just officially joined Team Joe – but he’s been a Democrat, ideologically, from day one.
Read more from James Fite.