Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke Is Running For Senate, Which We Should Maybe Not Joke About
Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke became briefly relevant earlier this year when he enthusiastically offered his support to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, claiming white people who didn’t vote for Trump were committing “treason” to their “heritage.” And in the wake of the racially tense Republican convention in Cleveland last week, where Islamophobia and xenophobia were amplified throughout, David Duke announced his run for the senate on Friday in a Youtube video.
He reasoned that European Americans, who form 63 percent of Americans according to a 2013 census, “need at least one man in the United States, one man in Congress, who will defend their rights and heritage,” because apparently 87 percent of Congress being white just isn’t enough representation.
“Thousands of special interest groups stand up for African-Americans, Mexican Americans, Jewish Americans, etc.,” he said, conveniently ignoring the fact that unlike white Americans, these groups are consistently forced to fight for the recognition of their human rights by the government and law enforcement.
In his video, Duke took credit for the current “GOP mainstream,” noting that according to The New York Times, his “platform … propelled Republican control of Congress.” His “platform” includes “stop[ping] the massive immigration and ethnic cleansing of the people whose forefathers created America,” because that’s totally happening, and surprisingly enough for a Republican, argued against free trade in favor of “fair trade” for American businesses and jobs (although, let’s be real, he probably means “fair trade for white people.”)
Duke reiterated just how “overjoyed” he is by the Trump campaign. Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks has since told CNN Trump “has disavowed David Duke and will continue to do so,” but Trump himself offered a different, disturbing answer to Meet The Press’ Chuck Todd Sunday, claiming whether or not he’d support Duke depended on “who the Democrat” was.
Duke’s senate run has been condemned by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which said Friday it wouldn’t back Duke’s run “under any circumstance,” CNN reports. The Republican Party of Louisiana referenced Duke’s “history of hate” while Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus condemned Duke’s “hateful bigotry.”
Duke formerly served as a state representative of Louisiana.
Apart from being a known racist, Duke is additionally a convicted felon for committing tax fraud, and expressing approval of Nazi sentiments while in the Czech Republic.
He claims that what makes him unique is how he “also demand[s] respect for the rights and the heritage of European Americans,” sounding very much like former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee when Huckabee announced that the “real movement” in America should be “Male Lives Matter,” earlier this month.
Duke’s viewpoint might seem rare and extreme, but it actually reflects the common phenomenon of any group that has historically enjoyed privilege, power, and superior rights perceiving pushes for marginalized groups to enjoy those rights, too, as direct threats. Just think about how black people proclaiming that their lives actually matter, too, are often portrayed by right-leaning white people as aggressors rather than victims.
Though Republican leaders and Trump himself have overwhelmingly disavowed Duke, I wouldn’t count him out just yet. Trump himself with his rhetoric, policy ideals, and hateful portrayals of Mexican immigrants, black people, and Muslims, has generated heated racial tensions and inspired racist paranoia amongst less educated white Americans that Duke could easily seize on. It’s worth noting that Trump, too, was at some point or another condemned by many Republican leaders like former nominee Mitt Romney, while other key Republican figures, from former president George W. Bush to Ted Cruz, have still refused to endorse him.
And if you think Duke’s history as the actual leader of a racist hate group will deter anyone, I ask you to create a mental list of every terrible, racist thing Trump has ever said, done, or proposed (you could use this for reference), and then remember that in spite of all of this, he’s your Republican presidential nominee. By no means am I saying that I want Duke to succeed.