Trump’s Rise Signals the Renaissance of the Ku Klux Klan- by Taly Krupkin

Trump’s Rise Signals the Renaissance of the Ku Klux Klan

White supremacists’ support for a leading mainstream presidential candidate is unprecedented, an American scholar says.

Opinion - commentary -analysisTaly Krupkin – HAARETZ

Since former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke declared his support for Donald Trump in the U.S.A. presidential race, Trump has spent the past month or so trying – without any real success – to distance himself from any connection to the white supremacist organization.

However, Prof. Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the California State University, San Bernardino, says Duke’s announcement is just the tip of the iceberg of the support for Trump within the racist organization. “We are seeing a large number of Klansmen supporting a mainstream candidate, something that has just not happened previously,” Levin tells Haaretz.   

“We are seeing a galvanization of support for a mainstream candidate. In three decades,” says Levin, “I can’t remember this kind of support gravitating toward one candidate, except perhaps George Wallace, maybe Pat Buchanan. But none of them was a leading candidate in his party.” Levin adds that while Trump has been on the rise, the KKK has also enjoyed a renaissance of sorts this past year.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the leading organizations for tracking the activities of hate groups, warned last month that the number of KKK chapters in the United States had grown significantly in 2015, from 72 to 190; it also estimated that the number of Klansmen is now between some 5,000 to 8,000.

The organization has also been spotted in areas where it had not been witnessed for many years. Levin, who has studied the group for 30 years, was surprised to hear last month that the KKK was planning a rally in California – a state where the white robes and hoods have not been seen in a long time.

But even though the group’s activities are on the rise, the number of KKK members at the actual rally was less than the number of protesters demonstrating against them. When they appeared, the Klansmen were attacked by Latino and black activists, and Levin himself was forced to protect one of the extremists. “You know you’ve fallen on hard times when you need a Jewish man as your wingman,” Levin laughs.

He says that although the support for a leading mainstream presidential candidate by groups such as the KKK has historic importance and mustn’t be ignored, the immediate danger actually comes from other, more powerful organizations. In California, for example, the real danger comes from white supremacists, neo-Nazis and others who are unaffiliated but with similar beliefs, Levin explains.

“I want to put this in perspective: there are more rotary dial phones in the United States than Klan members. We have much more danger from unaffiliated haters, skinheads, and neo-Nazi and white supremacist criminal syndicates” says Levin, noting that these groups are smart enough not to have rallies.

At a time when the KKK and its support for Trump is attracting headlines, it is important also to examine the Republican candidate’s influence on other hate groups in the United States – those who don’t shield their delight that the New York billionaire has made statements against minorities part of the mainstream political discourse.

The Daily Stormer, the leading neo-Nazi website in America, has been calling Trump the “Glorious Leader” for weeks. And members of other racist groups have also begun appearing at Trump campaign rallies. James Edwards, whose far-right Political Cesspool radio program hosts such groups as skinheads, neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers, broadcast live from various Trump events in Memphis, Tennessee (which is also Edwards’ hometown).

“There is not a candidate today that has more unambiguous support from white nationalists and neo-Nazis than Donald Trump: Klan folks, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Daily Stormers,” warns Levin. “When you have prominent ‘White power!’ chants at your rallies, or white supremacists showing up at your rallies and manhandling people, that’s something. I’m not saying Trump is a white supremacist; I’m saying he is transmitting a message that appeals to them.”

Experts are concerned that Trump’s primary victories may encourage aggressive behaviour from these groups, or individual supporters, who may decide to take the law into their own hands and deal with the “rapists, animals and terrorists” that Trump refers to in his speeches. But it’s hard to prove a direct link between hate crimes and the Trump campaign, particularly because of a lack of reporting, says Levin.

Felipe Huicochea, an activist with the Hacktiva and Latino Vote organizations fighting for the rights of Latino immigrants in Texas, says he’s worried about racist attacks. Dallas was always fertile ground for hate groups, and racist organizations have recently begun acting with greater courage than before, Huicochea notes. He believes that with people seeing Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz on television expressing racist opinions and grabbing votes, such extremist behaviour has somehow become acceptable. “We see incidents all across Texas – in Irving, Texas, for example, we have seen people carrying guns outside of a mosque. It’s disconcerting, and recently it has become more extreme,” says Huicochea.

Demonstration of devotion

Thousands of New Yorkers demonstrated their devotion to Trump this week when they waited for hours in the freezing cold, in order to get into a rally for the Republican candidate in Bethpage, Long Island. The line of buses waiting to get in stretched out for a kilometer.

In his speech in front of up to 15,000 supporters on Wednesday, Trump explained to the enthusiastic crowd that he was one of the few who had recognized the danger of Osama bin Laden even before 9/11. He then recites the lyrics from a 1968 soul song by Al Wilson, called “The Snake.” The song’s lyrics concern a “tender-hearted woman” who takes in a “poor, half-frozen snake” and saves his life – and he repays her kindness by biting and killing her.

“‘Oh shut up, silly woman,’ said the reptile with a grin / ‘You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in,’” Trump told the assembled crowd, delivering his metaphor for Syrian refugees in particular, and illegal immigrants in general.

Some of the anti-Trump protesters, who had arrived early, began to disperse when they saw the organization of the pro-Trump camp – who were mostly white men, many of whom drank alcohol while waiting to enter the event. “It started to flare up, a little too much in our opinion,” said one of the organizers of the anti-Trump protest.

However, hundreds remained to protest in a special area that was well guarded by the police. Adam Friedman, a local resident carrying a sign saying “Stand Against Islamophobia,” called the mood scary. “I’m a white man, but the atmosphere here was a bit ‘Third Reich,’” he observed, adding, “I wouldn’t want to look at someone the wrong way.”


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  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/10/2016 at 11:05 am

    Somebody wrote to me that Bernie Sanders smellin’ heself – power going to he head – he getting close to the White House – He better look sharp before he end up under the bus.

    “ …. He better look sharp” – I have not heard this one for about 50-years – sweet-sweet-sweet

    Muhammad Ali used it in his fighting days: “Musically speaking, he better C sharp or B Flat”

    I say, Hillary Clinton is a politician – she is NOT running to replace Mother Theresa or the Blessed Virgin Mary

    Hillary Clinton is running for the political office of President of the USA [POTUS]

    It is still a white man’s world and most people still believe POTUS is a job for a white man

    I told a white man the other day that President Obama thinks like a white man – he was brought up by his white grandparents [his mother’s parents]

    The white man asked “Do black people think differently?”

    I answered “Yep!”

    The rules of the road were written by a white man [European]; The constitutions, the laws, the holy books, the countries are carved up by white men – I am from British Guiana owned by England – Dutch Guiana owned by Netherlands – French Guiana owned by France – Brazil owned by Portugal – the rest of South America owned by Spain

    You, sir, have a sense of privilege that black people are not used to, I added …

    We put up with abuse on a daily basis from white privilege that you would not tolerate for a day

    The white people that are backing Donald Trump are not going back to talking in whispers and we are NOT going back to slavery

    – it could end badly, this summer!

    Hillary Clinton is a woman – she may as well be black – that is what people have against her – she is not a white man.

    Shirley Chisholm said that she felt more discrimination as a woman than as a black person – men are men

    That is what Hillary Clinton is up against – white men and men in general.

    Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate for the office of POTUS in 2016

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/11/2016 at 10:06 am

    Trump Is No Accident – by Paul Krugman – New York Times

    Establishment Republicans who are horrified by the rise of Donald Trump might want to take a minute to remember the glitch heard round the world — the talking point Marco Rubio couldn’t stop repeating in a crucial debate, exposing him to devastating ridicule and sending his campaign into a death spiral.

    It went like this: “Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.” The clear, if ungrammatical, implication was that all the bad things Republicans claim have happened under President Obama — in particular, America’s allegedly reduced stature in the world — are the result of a deliberate effort to weaken the nation.

    In other words, the establishment favourite for the G.O.P. nomination, the man Time magazine once put on its cover with the headline “The Republican Saviour,” was deliberately channelling the paranoid style in American politics. He was suggesting, albeit coyly, that a sitting president is a traitor.

    And now the establishment is shocked to see a candidate who basically plays the same game, but without the coyness, the overwhelming front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. Why?

    The truth is that the road to Trumpism began long ago, when movement conservatives — ideological warriors of the right — took over the G.O.P. And it really was a complete takeover. Nobody seeking a career within the party dares to question any aspect of the dominating ideology, for fear of facing not just primary challenges but excommunication.

    You can see the continuing power of the orthodoxy in the way all of the surviving contenders for the Republican nomination, Mr. Trump included, have dutifully proposed huge tax cuts for the wealthy, even though a large majority of voters, including many Republicans, want to see taxes on the rich increased instead.

    But how does a party in thrall to a basically unpopular ideology — or at any rate an ideology voters would dislike if they knew more about it — win elections? Obfuscation helps. But demagogy and appeals to tribalism help more. Racial dog whistles and suggestions that Democrats are un-American if not active traitors aren’t things that happen now and then, they’re an integral part of Republican political strategy.

    During the Obama years Republican leaders cranked the volume on that strategy up to 11 (although it was pretty bad during the Clinton years too.) Establishment Republicans generally avoided saying in so many words that the president was a Kenyan Islamic atheist socialist friend of terrorists — although as the quote from Mr. Rubio shows, they came pretty close — but they tacitly encouraged those who did, and accepted their endorsements. And now they’re paying the price.

    For the underlying assumption behind the establishment strategy was that voters could be fooled again and again: persuaded to vote Republican out of rage against Those People [“that one”-clyde], then ignored after the election while the party pursued its true, plutocrat-friendly priorities. Now comes Mr. Trump, turning the dog whistles into fully audible shouting, and telling the base that it can have the bait without the switch. And the establishment is being destroyed by the monster it created.

    Things are very different on the other side of the aisle.

    I still sometimes see people suggesting an equivalence between Mr. Trump and Bernie Sanders. But while both men are challenging a party establishment, those establishments aren’t the same. The Democratic Party is, as some political scientists put it, a “coalition of social groups,” ranging from Planned Parenthood to teachers’ unions, rather than an ideological monolith; there’s nothing comparable to the array of institutions that enforces purity on the other side.

    Indeed, what the Sanders movement, with its demands for purity and contempt for compromise and half-measures, most nearly resembles is not the Trump insurgency but the ideologues who took over the G.O.P., becoming the establishment Mr. Trump is challenging. And yes, we’re starting to see hints from that movement of the ugliness that has long been standard operating procedure on the right: bitter personal attacks on anyone who questions the campaign’s premises, an increasing amount of demagogy from the campaign itself. Compare the Sanders and Clinton Twitter feeds to see what I mean.

    But back to the Republicans: Let’s dispel with this fiction that the Trump phenomenon represents some kind of unpredictable intrusion into the normal course of Republican politics. On the contrary, the G.O.P. has spent decades encouraging and exploiting the very rage that is now carrying Mr. Trump to the nomination. That rage was bound to spin out of the establishment’s control sooner or later.

    Donald Trump is not an accident. His party had it coming.

  • Gigi  On 04/13/2016 at 4:39 pm

    Good grief! People sure like drinking kool-aid and spewing regurgitated talking points as facts.

    Krugman is a neoliberal elitist hack who shills for the democratic establishment and their preferred Clinton candidate. What he leaves out is that while democracy is alive and flourishing in the Republican party, it is dead in the party whose name spouses democracy. Oh, the irony.

    Yes, black women are discriminated against more than black men – for being female, and for being black. Black males got the right to vote before
    White females in America. And White female slaves were forced to breed with Black male slaves and not the other way around. Since men need to get it up to do, forcing them to do when they didn’t want was just plain impossible. I guess this dark and ugly history is what keeps White male hate against Black men simmering. Yes, black people do think differently.

    All the hostile immigrant talk is just that, talk. And it has more to do with people’s economic fears and insecurities – job loss, and a tanking economy – than natural hatred. Funny thing is, Syrians are White. And most Hispanics are White.

    Trump 2016

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/13/2016 at 6:01 pm

    Twelve of 14 Jewish New York City Council Members Endorse Hillary Clinton

    ‘Clinton has delivered time and time again for New York, for the Jewish Community, and for Israel,’ says the chairman of the Jewish Caucus.

    JTA – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

    Twelve members of the New York City Council’s 14-member Jewish caucus have endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in a joint statement signed on Tuesday, Jewish Insider reported.

    “Hillary Clinton has delivered time and time again for New York, for the Jewish Community, and for Israel,” wrote Levine, the chairman of the Jewish Caucus. “Whether winning funds to rebuild New York after 9/11 or exposing anti-Semitism in the Middle East and around the world, Hillary Clinton has been there for us.”

    The signers are David Greenfield, Stephen Levin, Alan Maisel and Mark Treyger from Brooklyn; Barry Grodenchick, Daniel Garodnick, Karen Koslowitz and Rory Lancman from Queens; Ben Kallos, Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine from Manhattan, and Andrew Cohen from The Bronx.

    Brad Lander and Chaim Deutsch of Brooklyn were the only Jewish caucus members who did not sign the statement.

    The statement did not mention Bernie Sanders, the only Jewish candidate in the presidential race.

    “This is not a time for learning on the job — especially when it comes to the challenges facing Israel,” the statement reads.

    Sanders has been criticized for misstating the amount of Palestinian casualties incurred in the 2014 Gaza war in an interview with the New York Daily News editorial board last week. The Anti-Defamation League urged him to correct his comments, and his campaign spokesman called “the idea that Senator Sanders stated definitely that 10,000 Palestinians were killed” a “distortion.”

    Greenfield told the Jewish Insider that Sanders has “made it clear that he doesn’t value the pro-Israel community.”

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/13/2016 at 7:17 pm

    “… democracy is alive and flourishing in the Republican party ….” – Yet, it seems, the number one cry baby is complaining that it is rigged. The Primary Voters do not get to decide the outcome – it is the delegate votes – I have the delegates, so why do they have to vote at a convention? – Democracy, I suppose.

    Even his children won’t vote for him ….!!

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/14/2016 at 12:20 am

    Hillary Clinton decries America’s failure to end racial discrimination and bigotry

    Democratic frontrunner says Republicans Trump and Cruz are stirring bigotry and division

    by David Usborne New York – Independent UK

    Hillary Clinton has offered a mostly bleak assessment of America’s progress on racial inequality, urging the country to “face up to the reality of systemic racism”.

    Addressing the annual meeting of the National Action Network, founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and cable news anchor, Ms Clinton said that while the country had taken some significant steps forward, including the election eight years of President Barack Obama, in other ways its racial blemishes continue to fester.

    “As you know so well, the last few years also have laid bare to deep fault lines in America,” Ms Clinton told delegates packed into a hotel ballroom in Manhattan. “They’ve revealed how frayed our bonds of trust and respect have become. Despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with racism is far from finished. And we are seeing that in this election.”

    “White Americans need to do a much better job of listening to black Americans talk about the seen and unseen challenges they face every day,” she went on.

    Among those seated before her were relatives of black victims of gun and police violence whose deaths helped fuel the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, including the mothers of Trayvon Martin, who was gunned down in Florida four years ago, and of Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, a town that exploded in rioting after he was shot by a white police officer on the street.”

    She offered a long list of priorities for her $125 billion “Breaking Every Barrier Agenda” first unveiled by her campaign several weeks ago, ranging from overhauling the criminal justice system to tackling environmental discrimination where disadvantaged communities face toxic hazards more prosperous Americans never have to worry about.

    “If we’re gonna ask African Americans to vote for us we cannot take you or your vote for granted,” Ms. Clinton asserted, addressing the conference as polls show her on course to defeat her rival for the nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders, when New York votes next Tuesday. She also won the endorsement on Wednesday of The Daily News, one of the city’s two competing tabloid newspapers.

    “We can’t just show up at election time and say the right things and think that that’s enough,” taking a swipe at Mr Sanders. “We can’t start building relationships a few weeks before a vote.”

    Citing the lead-in-water crisis faced by Flint, Michigan, Ms Clinton vowed to eliminate lead as a major environmental threat within five years. If we put our minds to it, we can get it done… we know how to do the work. All we need is the will,” she said.

    A crowd that at first seemed disinclined to do more than listen politely to the former first lady – in recent days she has faced criticism for her association with a harsh sentencing law signed in 1994 by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, that sharply increased black incarceration levels – slowly began to warm to her as she herself became more passionate.

    The Rev Sharpton reminded delegates he had not endorsed either Ms Clinton or Mr Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist, who will address the conference on Thursday. He drew cheers, however, when he called her ‘The Reverend Hillary Clinton” thanking her for her speech.

    The former Secretary of State said that the racism that persists has also shown itself in the current presidential campaign. “Ugly currents that lurk just below the surface of our politics have burst into the open, and everyone sees this bigotry for what it is,” Ms Clinton said. “Therefore it is up to all of us to repudiate it.”

    She directly assailed Donald Trump and his rival for the Republican nod, Senator Ted Cruz. The former, she said, had “led the insidious birther movement to delegitimize President Obama” and “wants to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, and the list goes on.” Ted Cruz, meanwhile, “would treat Muslim Americans like criminals”.

  • demerwater  On 04/14/2016 at 7:14 pm

    I have an amusing memory of my little niece quarreling with her playmate. What caught my attention was this back and forth, “You mother!” “You father!” repeated a few times before she burst into tears. I can recall when we would break out some false names and ‘cuss-words’ in the schoolyard, especially when no adult was around. As my vocabulary was enlarged and improved, the necessity to use bad language and name calling as communicating styles, dwindled.
    When I hear and read such words now, I give thanks to some teachers who had the patience to persist with me as I navigated the English language almost as a foreigner.
    I had reason to look into the qualifications and credentials of Mr. Paul Krugman. I have no doubt that he researches the material he presents. His presentations are logical and lucid. His op-eds are a good read.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/18/2016 at 8:51 pm

    Frank Schaeffer –

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/19/2016 at 12:01 am

    In case you missed any of this – there is more …. U.S. Virgin Islands GOP

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