Credit: Pierre-Selim/Flickr

Maybe you’re feeling a little dispirited, maybe a little nervous, after watching the spectacle of the 2016 Republican National Convention. If so, this will not help:

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke on Friday announced he will run for U.S. Senate, linking his decision to Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency.

Saying he was “overjoyed” at Trump’s successful campaign to be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Duke said he will advocate for the “rights and heritage of European Americans” in Congress.

“We must stop the massive immigration and ethnic cleansing of people whose forefathers created America,” Duke said in a video posted to his website.

I warned you that this might happen back on July 13th.

David Duke is “overjoyed” at Trump’s success in taking over the Republican Party and sees in it a natural invitation for white supremacists, like himself, to make a political comeback in this country.

And, I guess the thing to really think about is why Duke is reacting this way and why many people reject Duke’s racial politics but are attracted to Trump anyway.

I think the answer is that people had a lot of reasons to want to kick the dysfunctional Weimar Republic in the teeth, and many reasons besides hatred or religious or racial hatred to support the National Socialist movement in Germany.

It’s not that Trump is going to round anyone up and gas them to death. That’s not the similarity that should concern Trump supporters (at least, not the gassing part of it). What should concern them is that they might be getting in bed with people that they will inadvertently empower. Yes, Congress seems like it can’t do anything and could use a swift kick in the ass. Yes, you only want our border enforcement laws to work better and be enforced. Yes, you prefer Trump’s opposition to free trade over the Trans-Pacific Partnership pushed by President Obama and (until recently) by Hillary Clinton. We can find reasons for people to take a long look at Trump despite all the warning bells.

But we’ve been here before. Decent people using toxic outlets for their frustrations and inadvertently empowering people like David Duke is a possibility that should be front and center as a risk factor in people’s decision making.

For some reason, Trump’s campaign has opened the door for white supremacists to come out of dormancy and believe themselves a viable part of the political mainstream again. I think that’s a reason not to vote for him.

How about you?

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at