Ever since Richard Nixon and his advisers formulated the "Southern Strategy" in the 1960's to take advantage of southern white opposition to desegregation, the Republican Party has pandered to racists, typically through winks and nods and dog whistle messaging. Not any more, now Donald Trump is embracing white supremacists and fanning racial hatred and division in a way not seen since the mid 1960's. The result is that white supremacist groups are endorsing Trump and running robo calls supporting his candidacy. As Huffington Post reports, the white supremacists are pulling out the stops from their new fuhrer, Donald Trump. Worse yet, Trump is doing little to distance himself from these purveyors of hate. Here are highlights:
As the Republican presidential primary moves into the American south, white supremacist groups are working to mobilize racists to get out the vote for Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, David Duke, the white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, encouraged his radio show listeners to volunteer for Trump's campaign. "Call Donald Trump’s headquarters [and] volunteer," he said on the "David Duke Radio Program." At Trump campaign offices, he said, "you’re gonna meet people who are going to have the same kind of mindset that you have.”
In Minnesota and Vermont, a white supremacist super PAC called the American National Super PAC has begun circulating a robocall in support of Trump.
"The white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called 'racist,' says William Johnson, the leader of the white nationalist American Freedom Party. He goes on to bemoan "gradual genocide against the white race," and how few "schools anymore have beautiful white children as the majority." He signs off by telling recipients, "Don’t vote for a Cuban. Vote for Donald Trump."
But Trump's response to the white supremacists backing him is hardly enough to put them off, said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that monitors hate groups. "Trump has 'quote unquote' repudiated these groups, but only in the most milquetoast way imaginable," Potok said in an interview. "The fact is that white nationalists are mobilizing for Trump whether he likes it or not."
Trump's habit of retweeting messages posted by white supremacists, sharing them with his 6.4 million Twitter followers, hasn't helped matters.
Like Johnson, Duke framed the GOP primary as a contest between Trump and two people of color, Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Texas). “Voting for these people, voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage,” Duke said Wednesday.
A piece in Crooks and Liars looks at Trump's failure to disavow groups such as the KKK. Here are excerpts:
TRUMP: Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke, okay? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don't know, I mean, I don't know. Did he endorse me or what's going on? Because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists and so you're asking me a question that I'm supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about. […]
Well, I'd have to look at the group. I mean, I don't know what group you're talking about. You wouldn't want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I'd have to look. . . . . I don't know anything... honestly, I don't know David Duke. I don't believe I've ever met him. I'm pretty sure I didn't meet him. I just don't know anything about him.
Trump claims he's got such a wonderful memory. It's amazing how it seems to have failed him now, isn't it? He knows full well he needs the support from those racists if he's going to win in the south. He's not about to disavow them before the primary is over.