The last decade has seen major changes in the American radical right. What was once a world largely dominated by a few relatively well-organized groups has become a scene populated by large numbers of smaller, weaker groups, with only a handful led by the kind of charismatic chieftains that characterized the 1990s.
At the same time, there has been explosive growth in several sectors of the radical right, especially in the last few years, much of it driven by anger over the diminishing white majority (the Census Bureau has predicted that non-Hispanic whites will fall to less than 50% of the population by 2050) and the severe dislocations caused by a still-ailing economy.
An anti-Muslim movement, almost entirely ginned up by political opportunists and hard-line Islamophobes, has grown enormously since taking off in 2010, when reported anti-Muslim hate crimes went up by 50%.
During the same time frame, a number of religious-right anti-gay groups, enraged and on the defensive as swelling majorities of Americans drop their opposition to same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights, have grown extraordinarily vicious in their propaganda.
Most dramatically, so-called “Patriot” groups — which, unlike most hate groups, see the federal government as their primary enemy — have grown explosively in just the last three years, going from 149 groups in 2008 to 1,274 last year. As a result of all these developments and others, a new crop of leaders has come to the fore. Some are longtime activists of the radical right, but others have become active only in recent years.
What follows is an alphabetized series of short profiles of key men and women activists of the radical right — 30 to watch.