David Duke Of The Ku Klux Klan Is Going To Run For The U.S. Senate In Louisiana — Yes, Really
According to a report from the Associated Press, one of the most reviled extremists in modern American political history is planning to dive back into the fray ― former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke will reportedly run for Senate in Louisiana. Duke, 66, is one of America's most notorious racists, and his re-entry into the political process (he also ran for governor of the Bayou State in 1991, and served as a representative in the Louisiana House from 1989 to 1992) comes amid a presidential election that's seen a visible surge in white nationalism, xenophobia, and racism.
And make no mistake, Duke is perhaps the most infamous living American avatar of all those values. His gubernatorial bid ultimately failed ― owing to massive turnout against him by the state's sizable black population ― and he hasn't come anywhere close to holding elected office since then, despite runs for Congress in 1996 and 1999. It's worth noting, however, that his appeal with Louisiana's white population was downright scary last time around ― a solid majority, a full 55 percent of white Louisianans, voted for him.
Duke's announcement comes just one day following Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump's incendiary acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, which the former KKK leader described as "great," and said he "couldn't have said it better!" Now, apparently, he plans to try to.
Duke's racist beliefs aren't limited to the realm of black people, either. He's also one of America's foremost Holocaust deniers, a virulent anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist who fears that Jewish bankers are manipulating domestic and global events. In fact, just last month, Duke blamed the ongoing Trump University scandal and fraud lawsuit as the result of "Jewish manipulation of the American media," and called it "very illustrative of the Jewish tribal nature," as JTA detailed. Said Duke:
They’re like a pack of wild dogs when they go after someone who they see as a threat to the Jewish agenda, as the neocons see Trump as a threat as a non-interventionist.
To put it another way: Duke is a horrifying and open racist in various different directions, a prominent voice on the notorious neo-Nazi website Stormfront, and he's trying to work his way back into the halls of power. As the Washington Post's Greg Sargent tweeted following news of his announcement, it's almost like he's sensing a moment of political advantage.
News of Duke's return to the political realm comes at a terrible time for the GOP, the party he called home while an elected politician (although they don't have a monopoly on him ― he was also previously a member of the Democratic Party, the Reform Party, and the American Nazi Party). His overt embrace of Trump, who failed to strongly and immediately denounce the former KKK leader when first asked about it by CNN's Jake Tapper, was bad enough on its own.
Now, perhaps buoyed by the deep racial resentment, xenophobia, and aggression that Trump has so capably stirred up, Duke wants back into politics. And that's going to mean Trump and countless other Republicans will have some questions to answer. You can almost hear them now ― "Excuse me Senator, any reaction to David Duke? Do you think his candidacy was enabled by Donald Trump? Does your party need to do more to repudiate racists?" Only time will tell how Duke's Senate bid fares, obviously. But on the strength of recent political events, this is concerning news at the very least.