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Opinion: It’s a sad fact: Republicans who denounce the ‘alt-right’ do so at great political risk

White nationalist Richard Spencer, the self-described creator of the term "alt-right," speaks to select media in his office space in Alexandria, Va., on Aug. 14.
(Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images)

To the editor: I applaud Jonah Goldberg for remaining a member of the “traditional right.” (“The alt-right has gained ground, thanks to a win-at-all-costs strategy,” Opinion, Aug. 15)

He says the so-called alt-right won’t replace mainstream conservatism because the overwhelming majority of conservatives are patriotic and decent. Yet President Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is around 80%. That means Republicans are supporting an administration that includes Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller.

The people whose faces were seen so well in the torchlight in Charlottesville, Va., have supremacy over nothing and no one, but they will support those in power who feed their ugly fantasy. Without these people, conservatives can’t win.

They keep feeding this beast, and it gets uglier every day.

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Stephanie McIntyre, Simi Valley

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To the editor: It’s a shame that Goldberg’s public dissent from the alt-right’s debased dogma invites harsh reprisals from fellow conservatives. But Goldberg’s rare courage — which prompted one pundit to label him an “apostate” — ultimately will hold him in good stead on both sides of the red-blue divide.

Once our national nightmare has ended, most everyone to the left of the alt-right will admire Goldberg’s composed, coherent takes on Trump.

If only more conservatives understood that hewing to a party line doesn’t rate with being on the right side of history.

Roberta Helms, Santa Barbara

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To the editor: Enough with the term “alt-right,” which obscures what that movement really is: white supremacy. Each time we say it or print it, we are practically saying “it’s all right.” It is not all right; it’s all wrong.

The late Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and a professor of mine at Boston University, stressed the importance of identifying and naming evil. He called it our personal responsibility, and when we name something evil, we cannot permit it to be diluted or undermined.

We, here in 2017, cannot be complacent; we cannot stand by silently. It is our imperative to name the evil that we experienced in Charlottesville. It is the “neo-Nazi white supremacist movement.” Sure, we can use shorthand terms “neo-Nazi” or “white supremacy,” but we cannot call it by a name that hides or obscures what this movement is.

Insist on calling a spade a spade.

Julie A. Werner-Simon, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Who decided that white supremacists could rename themselves the alt-right? What’s next, the KKK rebranding itself as the Alternative Hood Klub?

Ken Jacobs, Santa Monica

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