Grand Wizard David Duke and Today’s GOP — The Similarities are Startling

davidduke1From the 1970’s to the 1990’s, David Duke, a prominent member of the Ku Klux Klan and barely unsuccessful Southern politician who ran for governor, US senator, and president in the early 90s, made many attempts to demystify and destigmatize uber-racism. He changed the name of the Grand Wizard position he held to “National Director,” promoted “White Rights,” and formed the NAAWP (three guesses what that stands for?). He was seeking to gain acceptance for his poison – an effort to push back against gains People of Color made from the mid-60s.

In his heyday, the official big-wigs in the Republican Party distanced themselves as far as possible from Duke. If asked, the GOP would still disavow any connections with such overtly racist White Supremacy and Separatist groups as the Klan, but – at least in regards to race – the current GOP is on board with the policies and even the rhetoric of the old Grand Wizard. Let’s look at a few issues.

– Black crime:

Though Republicans will never say out loud that Black crime is a result of the Black man “reverting back to his genotype,” their refusal to deal with any of the economic, judicial, and racial realities that disproportionately and unjustly land Black men in prison – and their barely masked celebrations in the shameful death of black youth by self-appointed vigilantes – leads one to believe that the entire party seems to believe that this disproportion is natural and genetic. Like David Duke, the GOP seems to indicate that Black people are dangerous and genetically predisposed toward violence. Both ignore White crime and violence, including massive-scale war, illegal foreclosures, redlining, unfair hiring practices, and grand-scale disinvestment in African American communities (eg, DetroitWest and South Side Chicago). Also, like Duke, they seem to deny that a White man would ever rape females.

– Immigration:

Who said this, Duke or Republican Steve King?

We are fighting for the preservation of our heritage, freedom and way of life in the United States and much of the Western World. Ultimately, we are working to secure the most important civil right of all, the right to preserve our kind of life. Massive immigration and low European American birthrates coupled with integration and racial intermarriage threatens the continued existence of our very genotype. We assert that we, as do all expressions of life on this planet, have the right to live and to have our children and our children’s children reflect both genetically and culturally our heritage.

If not for the mention of “reflect… genetically,” that speech could have been given by King (the guy who believes that scholastic DREAMers are just a front for drug mules with cantaloupe-shaped calves), as racial essentialists like King and Duke believe that all Latin immigrants are just seething natural-born criminals intent on destruction. King may believe that non-White Americans are not as intelligent or good as Euro-‘Murikans, but he’d never say it – he’s too good of a politician to be fully outed as an unrepentant racist.

For this reason, it is important to look at the conservative extremist not as an outlying phenomenon, but to notice the intersection of what he says with accepted trends and policies. Speeches and rhetoric like Duke’s are given at Republican and Tea Party anti-immigrant rallies throughout the land and by prominent anti-immigrant politicians and pundits speaking on behalf of Republican conservatism, like Pat BuchananLou Dobbs, Sarah Palin and Louie Gohmert. Quotes and policies by such public figures belie the fact that anti-immigrant status is barely-masked racism.

– Voting Rights:

Republicans throughout the land, before and after the practical revocation of the Voting Rights Act, have been content with winning their constituency of angry White people by catering to their racial standards. It’s a strategy they’ve employed off and on for decades. Republicans know that if the vote had been restricted to White males they would occupy the White House right now, and with the ways that districts are gerrymandered throughout red states, all they need to do is win the White vote in order to maintain control of the House. Voting restrictions and disenchantment is another means of depoliticization of Black and Brown people. It is the surest way for an entire party built on and energized by White and Male Supremacy to win the day. Any way that Black votes are discouraged is good to the GOP. State Republicans ensure this through imprisoning disproportionate amounts of Black males and revoking their rights to vote even after they have served their time (even for life), switching local voter laws to favor more wealthy and white populations, and falsely challenging voter registration movements and organizations that register large groups of disenfranchised urban populations (such as ACORN).

– Affirmative Action:

Ready for another round? Was this King or Duke? “There’s been legislation that’s been brought through this House [of Representatives] that sets aside benefits for women and minorities. The only people that it excludes are white men…Pretty soon, white men are going to notice they are the ones being excluded.” That, friends, was Rep .King. It may as well have been said by Duke – or by several of the conservative SCOTUS justices.

– Welfare “Cheats”:

The entire GOP platform this year seems preoccupied with the idea that every poor person on government assistance is cheating the system. This in turn is fueled by Reagan’s racist myth of the Welfare Queen. Duke himself took some credit for helping to bring about “welfare reform” – which began the clearing of the roles in the 90s. But at least in the Clinton/Gingrich compromise, there was some agreed-upon transition from welfare-to-work with concessions made for working mothers to get affordable day care, etc. Those concessions are being eroded as quickly as the amount of cash and food relief that poor people have left to fight over.

In the nineties, then-current President George H. W. Bush tried to distance himself far and good from David Duke’s history and stench:

When someone has a long record, an ugly record of racism and of bigotry, that record simply cannot be erased by the glib rhetoric of a political campaign. So I believe David Duke is an insincere charlatan. I believe he’s attempting to hoodwink the voters of Louisiana, I believe he should be rejected for what he is and what he stands for.

Of course, in 1991, the Republican party was trying to distance itself from an openly anti-Semitic, racist Grand Wizard.

However, the ugly history now does not just belong to Duke, but to Bush’s entire party.



Thanks in no small part to GHWB’s own tricks.

Remember the Willie Horton ads? They could have been run by the NAAWP.

However, that was just a warm-up. When the current GOP tries to distance itself from Steve King’s cantaloupe calves comments but votes along his lines, pay attention. He’s just saying what they’re thinking.

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When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!


Facebook comments

  • Blake Seitz

    This reinforces the idea that racism is on the rise. A recent poll showed that the vast majority of white people believed George Zimmerman deserved to go free.

    • Perhaps you should be more ashamed of your apparent inability to accept clear facts when they oppose your partisan based beliefs. Zimmerman shot a black kid in defense of his own person. Nothing more.

      • In defense of being scared of a black youth, you mean. Yeah, awfully big of him.

        Hey, lemme ask while you’re here: Is the Paul in your avatar name yours, or are you a Ron/RandPaul fan?

      • Charles Vincent

        The only reason George Zimmerman drew his weapon was to prevent trayvon Martin from taking it and shooting Zimmerman with it. If you had read the evidence you would have known that. The fact is that Zimmerman didn’t break any laws when he followed Martin and the fact still remains that Martin assaulted Zimmerman and subsequently told Zimmerman he was going to die while he(Martin) was banging Zimmerman’s head into the concrete.
        Where’s your outrage at the two black teens that followed a white classmate and doused him with gasoline and lit him on fire? Or your outrage ate the black guy that shot a teen and killed him for stealing from a parked car?

      • VisionSEO .

        Your story, apart from the REST of the facts. Stick with it. It’s only for your benefit.

      • Charles Vincent

        The facts are straight from the unedited 911 call and court transcripts that is the facts I used and go by.

      • Joseph Incredulous Huggy

        He shot an UNARMED kid who had every right to defend himself from Zimmerman. you are a racist piece of S**T

      • Dissenter13a

        An unarmed kid who, if you believe the witnesses, was beating the stuffing out of him. Because Zimmerman had a legal right to be where he was, the right to self-defense cuts both ways.

      • Joseph Incredulous Huggy

        There is no “both ways” The scumbag Zimmerman had a right to be there, but he had no right to harass and stalk a kid dipshit.

      • Dissenter13a

        What a microencephalic idiot like you can’t seem to grasp is that your conception of rights does not control. Zimmerman had a legal right to be there, to be packing, and to confront Martin. Was it wise? No. Is the law an ass? Probably. But the law protects both stupidity and prudence.

      • Joseph Incredulous Huggy

        How fucking stupid can you be? I ALREADY SAID that zimmerscumbag had a right to be there, but he had NO RIGHT to stalk harass or accost this kid. You fucking racist piece of shit.

      • Dissenter13a

        My answer is color-blind because the law is color-blind. Unless and until the law is changed, Zimmerman had a legal right to do what he did, and that right must be the same regardless of Trayvon’s race.

        You disprove the proposition that only the teabaggers (a/k/a Kochs’ Suckers) are stone-cold stupid. I am left to marvel that what passes as your brain can generate enough electrical energy to manage ambulation.

      • Blake Seitz

        Perhaps you should mind your own fucking business and look at yourself in the mirror before making judgement upon others.
        If that is your opinion that is fine, but I have a right to mine without you having to attack me personally.

      • Dissenter13a

        I’ll merely attack your judgment.

    • earldumarest

      We are ashamed you are white also.

    • Dissenter13a

      Unlike you, some people actually go on what the jury heard, and take the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard seriously. The prosecution was botched badly by the State, as was also the case with O.J.

      While the law was an ass, and Zimmerman never should have been in that position, let us not forget that he was ethnically Hispanic. It is hard to sell it on “black v. white.”

  • This is a ridiculous piece that far overreaches in an attempt blanket one political group in the ugly rhetoric of racist ideals, and it isn’t flattering to the author or this site. The quotes do not resemble anything from the GOP today, as little regard as I have for it, and the only way the connection is made is by relying on the automatic taking out of context of a single part of the quote that will happen with any progressive familiar with Tea Party rhetoric.
    In particular, “We are fighting for the preservation of our heritage, freedom and way of life in the United States and much of the Western World. ”
    THAT is almost straight from the Tea Party handbook, and the rest is supremist grabage that apparently the author thinks we should now consider as evidence of the GOP’s similarity to the Klan.
    I am really becoming alarmed with what I am seeing appear more and more frequently on some of these more prolific progessive sites, in particular a growing willingness to jump onto fallacy and misrepresentation if it appeals to partisan bias. Much the same way the GOP is rightly often derided for. Granted the GOP has fallen into the hole of irrationality pretty deeply these days, but that doesn’t mean it is good enough to say “at least we aren’t as bad as THEM”. We need to not do it at all, and stick to realistic and an objective view of the facts as they are if the pitfall of rabid partisanship is to be avoided.
    Every now and then I am reminded why rather than identify with any party I strictly adhere to an independant view, and this is one of those instances.

    • You JUST SAID that a man had reason to target, shoot and kill an unarmed black youth! Tell us how your party is so unracist…

      • JoeBS

        A person can opine that person A was justified in shooting person B without race being any part of the issue at all. You and I may not agree based on our interpretation of the evidence, but a knee-jerk call out of racism because person B happened to be black is wrongheaded. I think you’re projecting your outrage and personal view of the world onto what this person is saying, and it’s caused you to miss everything in the post you’re responding to. You even accuse him of being part of the other party, when his statement clearly allies him politically, for the most part with you.

      • Oh, he’s on MY side? Seriously? I’m supposed to extend him grace because he is *supposedly* a liberal?

        Race is an integral part of this discussion. So there is no whitewashing that out. thank you for your time.

      • JoeBS

        It is good advice to never make major decisions (or any decisions) when you are angry or otherwise too emotionally invested in a situation to make them clearly. I would submit that it also is good advice to not respond to posts or write articles while same. I agree with you that the GOP uses race unduly and wrongly. But I also agree with those here who feel you offered very little in the way of hard evidence actually connecting Duke to the modern GOP. Your heart was in the right place, but you just didn’t make the connection, and worse, your article puts words in people’s mouths (as do your comments here). And you need to cool your heels and stop reacting with contempt and finger-pointing to anybody who doesn’t immediately agree with you. Trust me when I say that a calm tolerance to criticism is going to go a lot farther in garnering respect for your opinions and work, than is emotional reaction.

      • Appreciate the “good advice”, White Mansplainer. Won’t let my emotions cloud my judgment again. You are all on the same side as me – even though you defend a murderer from racist charges. We’re all *really* on the same side.


      • Dissenter13a

        The Zimmerman acquittal was driven by subtle and legitimate legal considerations and therefore, is a poor case to use in support of your argument. Furthermore, Zimmerman was the child of a Hispanic mother, so it is hard to play the WASP card.

        There is a lot not to like in the Pat Buchanan wing of the Party, but bringing up Zimmerman is a sign of laziness.

      • Dissenter13a

        Hispanic-on-black crime. Amerinds are of Asian descent.

    • VisionSEO .

      The current dominance/split of the Republican party by neo-conservatives is just so-o-o coincidental with the trend the party has taken since the arrival and evolution of the civil rights era, most vociferously opposed by one particular geographic region, and the history of that region to the likes of David Duke and his kind, past & present.

  • gingerale

    Stocking a young boy at night with a gun on him after being told not to?….neighborhood watch or not, with no identifiing markings on his car or self…. how was a young boy to know? I do believe it was young Martin who feared for his life.
    Like was said before….why not just offer the kid in the rain a ride home?

    • earldumarest

      Stocking? The word is “stalking”. Dumb lib.

      • VisionSEO .

        Always looking for a hole to crawl into, are you?

  • earldumarest

    David Duke endorsed a democrat for office last. He also opposed the gulf war. Now drink a big glass of “shut up”.

  • I completely agree with this assertion. The Tea Party and the GOP it has hijacked is nothing but a group of radical extremist racists, bigots, and theocrats… they are the American Taliban!

  • Kel K

    Gadz….some of the comments on here are ridiculous. Everybody pointing fingers at each other. As John Lennon sang “Give peace a chance.” I know it’s a long shot, but it sure would be nice.

  • bfg

    Maybe those who see this article as excessive can explain why Ted Cruz is marching with people carrying confederate flags.

  • John D

    Ha, ha! The above message is silly and childish. There aren’t any Consevatives like that. All of this over reaching means doom for the liberals. People see right through all this foolishness. David Duke is just an empty and silent footnote and a fool. The liberals has lost their mind and worse racists than Harry Reid who shamelessly insulted this “dark skinned Negro”. The liberals with their wealthy well fed stock of Democrat billionaires has bamboozelled black folks leading them by the nose; as Iago said “like asses”.