Immediately after Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and an early Trump supporter, tweeted: “Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders! Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!”
On the heels of the Republican Party’s Convention, Duke, promising to be a voice for “European Americans,” threw his hat into the ring to run for the Senate seat vacated by the retiring scandal-plagued David Vitter.
“Thousands of special interest groups stand up for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Jewish-Americans, etc. etc.,” he said in a video announcement. “The fact is that European-Americans need at least one man in the United States Senate, one man in the Congress, who will represent their rights and heritage.”
As the New Republic’s Brian Beutler recently pointed out, “Donald Trump has made people like David Duke feel as if they’re no longer on the fringes.” Conversely, Duke has spent his career trying to mainstream bigotry and xenophobia.
“David Duke, the neo-Nazi… is the consummate white nationalist opportunist,” Devin Burghart, vice president of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, told me in an email exchange. “With racist ideas Duke helped incubate now getting a primetime slot on a national ticket, Duke has an opportunity to again seize headlines.”
Duke told The Daily Beast: “I’ve said everything that Donald Trump is saying and more, I think Trump is riding a wave of anti-establishment feeling that I’ve been nurturing for 25 years.”
Like Trump, one of Duke’s major issues is immigration. Somewhat like Trump, he appears to be running on a platform of mashed-up populism.
“[Duke] said immigrants are performing an ‘ethnic cleansing’ of white people, whose ancestors founded America,” the Washington Examiner reported. “He also said he would try to pass campaign reform to get big money out…