Joe Lowndes (@JoeLowndes): The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse tells us volumes about the successes of the far right today. It does no good to accuse him of being a straight-up white supremacist. He is no ghoulish Dylann Roof, or fashy James Fields, Jr.

He far more effectively blurs the line between racial nationalism and civic nationalism, just as he blurred the line between medic and killer. In this way he has become for his supporters a Tocquevilleian figure of voluntarism, a protector of people and property.

Protection of ppl and property are of course longstanding practices of white supremacy in a settler and slave nation, but centuries of narratives making gentle heroes of white male killers affords him a role that looks less like George Lincoln Rockwell than Norman Rockwell.

Rittenhouse's sobbing on the stand enacts white male vulnerability and victimhood, reversing the direction of actual violence in the same way as Judge Schroeder by refusing to grant to the dead the status of victims.

The US right, from GOP elites to the Jan 6 rioters to Kyle Rittenhouse, claims to be defenders of the nation against aggressors - against voters, protesters, teachers, and imagined shadowy forces, or as JD Vance put it "wolves" and "global monopolists."

The cherub-cheeked, grinning Rittenhouse with the backward ball cap and red, white, and blue Crocs is the idealized face of the current right.

Photos of him scrubbing graffiti from walls effectively scrubs the countersubversive violence from his image, leaving it just far enough below the surface to be appealing to those who share his authoritarian urges privately while denying them publicly.