Editor’s note: This article contains social media posts that some may find offensive.
It all started with a column in the Washington Post.
On Feb. 21, Harvard professor Danielle Allen penned a piece entitled “The Moment of Truth: We Must Stop Trump.” It was a “prompt for the trolls,” she said, speaking to The Root, and Allen was quickly inundated with racist, anti-Semitic and sexist tweets from Donald Trump supporters. But rather than let the tweets languish in her Twitter mentions, Allen compiled them into a Storify piece that she linked to in a second Washington Post column about an email exchange she had with a pro-Trump reader.
“I thought people should see the kind of things people were doing,” Allen said. “I’ve been arguing since September that Trump represented an ethno-nationalist splinter group. I wanted to show people the views being expressed by Trump supporters.”
By letting Trump supporters “speak for themselves,” Allen wanted to reveal some truths regarding where Trump’s most virulent support is coming from.
“This goes back to the same movement that did the big push that Obama was a Muslim. These are the same folks who swift-boated [John] Kerry. The same folks who tanked [John] McCain in South Carolina,” Allen said, adding that these Twitter users reflect the “growing organization of ethno-nationalist, white supremacist organizers.”
Allen said that the Internet savvy of the far right goes as far back as the 1990s and the stories of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” working against then-President Bill Clinton, but the advent of Trump seems to point to something even bigger, she says.
“This moment is the first time that they’re positively getting a candidate into the mainstream,” Allen said. “It’s a huge moment for the political work this set of organizers have been doing.”
Check out Allen’s email exchange and what these “organizers” have been tweeting in the Storify post below.