Twitter has been the place that the Alt Right really came into their own. Lax rules mixed with a culture of anonymity let the Alt Right expand beyond their publishing ideologues and into the snarky culture of memes, hash tags, and trolling. While this is where their numbers have ballooned, one of their archetypes is complete in Ricky Vaughn. Named after the character in the movie Major League, Vaughn epitomizes the Alt Right troll, harassing Jewish commentators and people of color and taking Alt Right arguments and crystalizing them down to snarky bite-sized bits. After Vaughn amassed 60,000 followers with his “edgelord” harassment, Twitter finally banned him for violating behavior.
Vaughn’s ideas are as basic as can be, which has lent to his success. When he describes his political evolution he says things like “I tried liberalism, then I tried conservatism” boiling down complex political positions to the most simplistic ideologies that is surprising he is able to put together coherent political points. This may be why he has limited his commentary to 140 characters rather than any substantial articles. After getting his start on the controversial My Posting Career, he went onto Twitter with RickyVaughn99 in an attempt to bridge mainstream Trump supporters with Alt Right talking points, gaining popularity after Gamergate. Here he mixed his criticism against non-white immigration with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of people like Kevin MacDonald. He was cited often as one of the conversation influencers on Twitter, especially with Alt Right hashtags like #whitegenocide, and was followed by three Trump staffers.
Though he may be arguing that it was his “Free Speech” being violated, Twitter only bans users for harassing behavior and for things that are deemed incitements to violence. Alt Lite commentator Milo Yiannoupolos was also recently banned on Twitter after he incited followers to racially terrorize Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones. This is a major blow to the Alt Right since they rely on this trolling culture, and it seems like Twitter and other social media outlets are starting to refuse to participate. They recently had to soften their language to racist “codewords” since open racial slurs are getting them banned.
There is a difficult side to this as well since Twitter could, theoretically, start banning people for other reasons as well. What we can focus on, however, is their behavior and how we can set standards for conduct in these social media spaces that do not allow for racist harassment. Going after the Alt Right where it lives, the Internet, allows us to cut it off at the source, and win in the only arena that they have ever had any real success in.