If there is such a thing as America’s most famous white supremacist, the title belongs to none other than David Duke. Notorious for decades now, Duke retired from being the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to enter politics, an arena where he’s done relatively well for himself. Though he ran for president and lost in both 1988 and 1992, Duke actually served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1990 to 1992. Now that he’s been out of the spotlight for the past several years, he may be throwing his hat into the ring again. Get ready for this, America.
New reports say Duke is going to venture on a 25-city exploratory tour of the United States to gauge voters’ interest in a racist relic like himself. If he likes what he sees, he’s planning on running. There’s no chance he’ll win, but in the past it’s been frightening to see how well he did. For instance, when he ran for governor of Louisiana in the 1991, Duke waltzed away with almost 40 percent of the vote—that’s almost 40 percent of people giving their support to a man who once ran the Klan.
The danger of a man like Duke increases as the nation gets angrier, and in such a divisive time in America politics, one wonders how far his latest flirtation with politics will get. Again, David Duke is not going to win America’s presidency, but far-right fanatics can and have wielded great power in other nations, especially when they appeal to racial fears. France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen, for instance, the leader of that country’s National Front, came in second in the presidential race in 2002, largely due to his virulent anti-immigrant stance. Le Pen capitalized on the increasingly immigration-weary populace and used it to promote his racist agenda.
America is suffering through similar pains as it heads toward a future in which whites become a minority in America, behind African-Americans and Hispanics. With many whites fearing their new status, now is a perfect time for Duke to come back and stoke the flames of controversy. Beware the man who can play upon people’s deepest fears.
(Photo: Emmanuel d'Aubignosc/Wikicommons)