Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Liz Miller
Observer Staff Writer 

Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke Runs for US Senate

Encouraged by Trump's Success, Duke Wants to Defend the Rights of "European Americans"


August 5, 2016

David Duke as a young man, in his KKK attire.

It sounds like satire, but it's not.

David Duke, former KKK Grand Wizard, founder of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, and Holocaust Denier, sees the GOP nomination of Donald Trump as a sign that America finally wants his brand of politics.

"My platform became the GOP mainstream," he said. "I'm overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I've championed for years."

Duke, who calls himself a "racial realist," said on July 22 that he would be running for US Senate in his home state of Louisiana.

Trump's campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks almost immediately announced that Trump "has disavowed David Duke and will continue to do so."

The Presidential Nominee received some backlash earlier in his campaign after Duke publicly endorsed him. When CNN's Jake Tapper asked Trump on "State of the Union" if he would disavow the support of Duke and other white supremacist groups, Trump responded, "Just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, OK?"

Many Americans were shocked that Trump seemed unwilling to distance himself from hate groups.

The next day, Trump claimed that he had misunderstood the question because of a "bad earpiece."

Like Trump, the National Republican Senatorial Committee leadership quickly said that they would not support Duke's run "under any circumstance."

The Republican Party of Louisiana chimed in, too, saying Duke's history of "hate" causes them to oppose his candidacy.

"David Duke's history of hate marks a dark stain on Louisiana's past and has no place in our current conversation," the group said.

Duke isn't new to politics, having run for various offices at both the state and federal level, first as a Democrat, then as a Republican. He won a seat in the Louisiana House in a special election in 1989, where he served for three unremarkable years before failing to be reelected.

He now affiliates with the Tea Party movement.

Duke supports the preservation of what he considers to be Western Culture, including Christian Family Values, Constitutionalism, abolition of the IRS, voluntary racial segregation, and white separatism.

On the surface, he seems to be in agreement with many of the radical right voters who have launched Trump into the nomination, but his views on racial separation push him far into the extreme.

He wrote in his 1998 autobiography "We desire to live in our own neighborhoods, go to our own schools, work in our own cities and towns, and ultimately live as one extended family in our own nation. We shall end the racial genocide of integration. We shall work for the eventual establishment of a separate homeland for African Americans, so each race will be free to pursue its own destiny without racial conflicts and ill will."

As Grand Wizard in the 70's, Duke insisted he had modernized the KKK by allowing women and Catholics into the group. He said they were not "anti-black," but "pro-white" and "pro-Christian."

David Ernest Duke (born July 1, 1950) is an American white nationalist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, politician, and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Anti-Defamation League has called Duke anti-Semitic, a charge he denies, though he has said he objects to the "promotion of homosexuality" by Jews. Very early in his career, he would sometimes appear in public wearing a Nazi uniform.

Duke has been convicted of felony tax fraud, for which he served 15 months in prison and paid a $10,000 fine. He was deported from the Czech Republic in 2009 for denying the Nazi genocide and for promoting movements that seek to suppress human rights. A general residency ban, issued by Switzerland, now prevents him from living in any European Union country.

That's right: other countries have banned David Duke, while one of our major political parties has nominated Duke's preferred candidate to become the leader of the free world.

Now, after decades of being scorned and shunned, Duke believes that he, too, can be elected on a platform of racism and hatred.

Oh, GOP, what have you done?


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