In the run-up to the 2016 elections, David Duke– the most prominent current member of the KKK–was running for Senate from Louisiana, and he made no bones about the similarity between his worldview and Donald Trump’s.
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke is running for Senate in Louisiana, and he says Donald Trump’s popularity is helping him in the race.
“I love it,” Duke told the LA Times. “The fact that Donald Trump’s doing so well, it proves that I’m winning. I am winning.”
Duke also told the LA Times that Trump’s proposed policies, like building a wall along the border with Mexico and banning Muslims from entering the country, show the country is open to a white power message. “He’s talking about it in a visceral way,” Duke said. “Donald Trump is talking implicitly. I’m talking explicitly.”
The article also referenced an earlier report, linking Trump’s candidacy to a shadowy “think tank” providing pseudo-intellectual justifications for white supremacy.
The men eased past the picketers and police barricades, through a security-studded lobby and up to the eighth floor of a federal building named for Ronald Reagan. Inside an airy rotunda, guests in jackets and ties mingled over pork sliders and seafood tacos served by black waiters in tuxedos. There were celebratory speeches during dinner, crème brûlée for dessert. Apart from the racial epithets wafting around the room, the Saturday-night banquet seemed more like a wedding reception than a meeting of white nationalists.
The event was sponsored by the National Policy Institute (NPI), a tiny think tank based in Arlington, Va., dedicated to the advancement of “people of European descent.” NPI publishes pseudoscientific tracts with titles like “Race Differences in Intelligence,” runs a blog called Radix Journal (sample post: “My Hate Group Is Different Than Your Hate Group”) and holds conferences on topics like immigration and identity politics. This time it had gathered a group of 150 sympathizers in downtown Washington to discuss what the rise of Donald Trump has meant for the far right.
The article went on to consider the implications of Trump’s emergence as a hero to white nationalists, attracting fans like Richard Spencer, president of NPI.
For the first time since George Wallace in 1968, far-right activists in the U.S. are migrating toward mainstream electoral politics, stepping out of the shadows to attend rallies, offer endorsements and serve as volunteers. “It’s bound to happen,” Spencer says of white nationalists’ running for office one day. “Not as conservatives but as Trump Republicans.”
In the two and a half years since Trump’s Electoral College victory, a number of researchers have investigated the rise of white nationalism and its relationship to Trumpism.
The link is to Journalists’ Resource, which has compiled several such studies, and introduced that compilation with the following paragraphs:
As with any issue, Journalist’s Resource encourages reporters to look to academic research as a necessary tool in covering critical and complex topics such as right-wing domestic terrorism, the mainstreaming of white supremacy and their consequences. Research will help newsrooms ground their coverage and ask more probing questions.
Below, we’ve gathered and summarized a sampling of published studies and working papers that examine white supremacy and far-right organizations from multiple angles, including their online strategies for spreading propaganda and recruiting new members. Because this is an area of research that will continue to grow, we’ll update this collection periodically.
The studies provide insight into the targets of these groups (despite the rhetoric devoted to immigrant communities and poor economic conditions, violent White Supremacist organizations still predominantly mobilize against their traditional targets–blacks and Jews).
The studies also trace the spread of hate, conspiracy theories and aggression through cyberspace.
They find that racist organizations carefully plan out their communication to achieve three primary goals: to strengthen the group by increasing the commitment of existing members and recruiting new ones, to disseminate racist propaganda, and to create a sense of transnational identity.
America has always had hate groups and bigoted individuals. What we haven’t had is a President–no matter how personally racist some have been– willing to publicly encourage them.
I’ll repeat what I have previously said: the 2020 election isn’t about policy. It’s about who we are and what kind of country we inhabit.
We can argue about policy once we have cleaned out the real “infestation.”