The number of hate groups nationwide reached a record high in 2018, driven partly by the persistent growth of white nationalist groups catering to young, college-aged men.
There are currently 1,020 active hate groups in America — up from 954 in 2017, and 917 the previous year, according to an annual tally by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) [splcenter.org]. The new, young face of hate emerged from the shadows during the 2016 election and organized through a shared language of memes and under the banner of the “alt-right.” Many hailed then-candidate Donald Trump, with his hard-line views on immigration, as a hero. In celebration of his election, the alt-right’s one-time de facto leader Richard Spencer led a room full of young men in suits to give Nazi salutes.
Since then, Spencer and other prominent actors, entangled in costly lawsuits and tired of being heckled by anti-fascist protesters, have faded into relative obscurity.
At the same time, groups like Identity Evropa — whose khaki-clad members were a formidable presence at the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017— have proliferated and expanded their reach by setting up new chapters across the country. Patriot Front also grew significantly in 2018 after splintering from Vanguard America, the group linked to the 19-year-old neo-Nazi who rammed his car into a crowd of protesters during the Charlottesville rally and killed Heather Heyer.
[Eds: snarky comment about "Making America Great Assholes" goes here.]