The Cassandra of Vanderbilt
Political scientist and law professor Carol Swain retired from academia just when some of her research had become remarkably relevant. She doesn’t see it quite that way, though. Swain prophesied the rise of the alt-right 15 years ago, but she won’t call Donald Trump’s election victory a vindication of her prediction that a new white nationalism would infiltrate mainstream politics. It might be because the 63-year-old Southern black woman and distinguished, though increasingly controversial, scholar supports the populist president’s most contentious policies. Days after the election, Vanderbilt University publicized Swain’s prescience, pointing to her 2002 book The New White Nationalism in America: A Challenge to Integration. The alt-right is not a new development. It is an effort to rebrand the white nationalism I described in 2002, as a more intellectual movement that uses social science data, rhetoric and civil rights laws to advance its agenda, Swain stated in Vanderbilt’s press release, which also advertised her press availability via the Nashville, Tennessee, school’s 24/7 TV and radio studio.
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