Last night, soon after a red-faced, shout-y Donald Trump wrapped up his frightening “Everything is Terrible and I Alone Can Fix This” RNC keynote speech, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke offered up an enthusiastic thumbs-up, tweeting, “Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!” Duke apparently ignored Trump’s proclamation of support for Israel — a customary-to-the-point-of-parody hallmark of any modern GOP convention speech — something he took serious issue with in speeches by Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz, and Mike Pence.
But whatever, that’s just a minor detail, because apparently Trump veering away from classic optimistic convention speech themes like Obama’s “Yes We Can” theme and Reagan’s “Shining City on a Hill” in favor of “America is a dumpster fire inside of a sh*thole” theme stirred up passions deep within Duke’s dark soul. So much so that he — a man whose Wikipedia page describes him as an “American white nationalist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, politician, and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan” — appears to have been inspired to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Louisiana’s David Vitter.
Yes, perhaps sensing that his moment has come and wanting to pounce on the opportunity to seize the day and ride the hate wave into power — he even cited the shifting “Overton window” on Twitter recently — Duke seemingly out of nowhere announced his candidacy this morning via social media and a video posted to YouTube.
“I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years,” proclaimed Duke, his eyes an impossibly pale shade of blue to the point that they don’t actually seem human. “My slogan remains America First.”
Duke added that he demands “respect for the rights and heritage of European Americans,” echoing a sentiment expressed earlier in the week by prominent Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa, who made the case that white people — or, as King put it, “Western Civilization” — have been superior throughout history to all others.
Duke’s announcement comes just as Louisiana, and the country at large, deals with racial tensions unlike anything that’s been seen for a generation, following the killing of Alton Sterling by Baton Rouge police, and the subsequent killings of multiple Baton Rouge police officers by a militant black sniper.
In addition to everything else, Duke is a convicted felon who’s spent time in federal prison; he pleaded guilty in 2002 to tax fraud and to charges that stemmed from him using money donated by his supporters to feed his gambling addictions. At one point, he fled to Europe in an effort to avoid arrest and prosecution. Unfortunately, Duke came back, probably because his hate-mongering activities overseas led to him being banned by a number of European countries.
Buckle up, America.