Well, moderates don't tend to be susceptible to authoritarian modes of thought, so there's always a risk of it being "hard <something>" that grasps the tiller when something this game-changing comes into view. I suppose these "alt-right" types were the extremists best placed to effect a swing in public opinion while also having enough tech-savvy to understand both that it could now be done and who could do it. There's no philosophical reason e.g. the hard left couldn't have done the same (Joe Stalin would approve) - but the extreme left has been very much in disarray for decades - as very sadly are also more moderate leftward options across the globe at the moment.
Well, authoritarianism is a significant element in militant leftist regimes ... not a lot of that going on in the West these days though, eh (the time frame of "these days" being defined rather geologically)?
The left came to the centre, but the right has pushed out further from where it was. There have been many causes of this shift of the Overton Window, but the effect is that the particular type of bastard that has grabbed control was the one best placed to do so.
That's sacrilege in Alternative Facts™
circles, man! Be careful or you may find yourself the focus of a harassment campaign.
The rest of politics is going to have to start playing this game too, else they'll never win anything again.
I have seen it suggested that the people who pushed Trump were the same people who pushed GamerGate, an equally puzzling piece of far right nastiness, though one very much more easily dismissed. Same memes, same techniques, same people. Can't vouch for that myself - it's not my world - but I have seen it said by people for whom it is their world.
Hadn't heard about GamerGate ... those things always strike me in terms of how incredibly
fragile one would have to be to suffer such trauma to go so ballistic over such
slight provocation--provocation being far too strong a word. Perceived sleights
works but needs a modifier. Paranoia/fear-induced perceptions of threat
is just unwieldy, even though much more accurate, and simple. Intellectual/ideological cowardice
is the most accurate, but blunt accuracy (too much fact) creates all the more weeping and wailing and gnashing of those frail, chattering teeth. I think, though, that with this crowd that's pretty much what has to happen--they're like irrationality and Alternative Fact™ terminators
(a very important difference do remember being that these guys run
on fear). If they can't escape enough of reality they have to basically go underground and/or shrink away into silence (or grow a post-infant backbone, but that obviously ain't gonna happen).