Skip to main content

Mother Jones - April 2019

"White nationalist and adjacent communities’ support of Yang is also partly driven by a decline in their support of Trump as they’ve grown disappointed with his presidency and, in their words, want a better deal".

... While Yang and his campaign have disavowed racist backing, unsavory elements of his online support have seized on tweets he’s sent that raise questions about white demography, and have reframed his central campaign plank as a tool to punish undocumented immigrants living in the United States and deter others from coming. Yang’s campaign has argued that the eruption of support on 4chan took place without their prodding, but it came in the days and weeks after he appeared on actor Joe Rogan’s widely heard podcast, which has hosted multiple guests associated with the alt-right, and Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. Both are popular on the message board and in other right-leaning online spaces.

While 4chan boosted Yang’s climb on the Democrats’ 2020 ladder by helping generate enthusiasm and exposure to net enough small donations to meet the party’s threshold for the first official debate, it has also become a theater for sloppy infighting over the dark-horse candidate. Threads started by Yang supporters are full of others going at it over his candidacy and policies. The board’s anti-Yang holdouts have started calling the site’s pro-Yang emissaries “shills,” and pointed out the coordinated efforts from Yang Gang members to flood 4chan with pro-Yang posts and memes:

“Do ctrl-f and search for ‘/pol/’, they advertise the threads they make to each other so they can comment and make it look like Yang has a lot of supporters,” one poster wrote, explaining to others how to see evidence of the coordination themselves by searching archives of pro-Yang Discord group chats.

... The communities of 4chan and 8chan, especially after the 2016 elections, have earned a reputation as virulently racist and sexist hubs for the alt-right. Alongside hateful memes and posts, you’ll find a range of firmly right political opinions, including white nationalists, white supremacists, fascists, libertarians, or users identifying with or expressing some mashup of ideologies.

Yang has also attracted a diverse and sometimes chaotic group of adherents. Beyond the centrist Democrats and Silicon Valley liberals Yang has wooed through traditional campaigning, he’s garnered support among white nationalists, self-described white identitarians, and white supremacists. The groups either mildly disagree with the others or outright hate them. ...
Read full report at Mother Jones