As many of you know, I got my start in antiracist work in the 1990 and 1991 campaigns against David Duke when he ran for U.S. Senate and Governor of Louisiana. And as you likely also know, we apparently forgot to throw the dirt on top of his body when we defeated him in those elections. As such, he’s back, endorsing Donald Trump and now announcing that he is running again for the Senate.
This being the case, I wanted to take a few seconds to remind everyone who (and what) we’re dealing with in Duke. He is not merely an “ex-Klansman” (the term most media use). He is a Nazi. Not in that, “I-call-everyone-I-disagree-with-a-Nazi” kinda way. Not in that “Oh-won’t-it-be-funny-and-radical-if-I-call-Hillary-“Hitlery,” kinda way. But in the “Hey, let’s have a birthday party for Adolf every April 20th” kinda way (which Duke actually did all throughout the 1980s and may still for all I know).
While some might want to ignore him, convinced he cannot win, a few points are worth remembering, before I share with you some important information about Duke.
1. With only a couple of months before the election, Duke will start out with far more name recognition and built-in popularity than his opponents in this race. He may not have much time to mobilize, but with his name recognition he doesn’t need a huge ground game. Also, the opposition research organization that was critical to defeating him in the past no longer exists, and those who take up the mantle will have the same short time frame to gear up. The short time frame helps Duke if anything.
2. Louisiana elections are a shit-show, tailor made for candidates like Duke. There are no party primaries. Rather, all candidates run in one big cluster, and the top two vote-getters are catapulted to a runoff. This is how Duke was able to get so far in 1990 and 1991, and he could again. All he would need, with several other candidates on the ballot, is perhaps 30 percent of the vote in order to make the runoff.
3. Duke won 60 percent of the white vote in 1990 and 55 percent in 1991. And this was at a time when the nation was not nearly as racially-polarized as we are today. In an age of Trump and the infusion of open white nationalism into mainstream politics, Duke’s chances are better than they were a quarter-century ago. As we said at the time, Duke was beaten but Dukism had won. And we see now how that is true for an entire half of the political spectrum.
So with these things in mind, here is a link to two radio commercials put together in 1991 by the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism (of which I was Associate Director), in which one can hear David Duke’s own voice proclaiming the need for Jews to “go into the ashbin of history,” and the need for a Hitler-style revolution in the U.S. The recordings we released in these commercials were from a 1986 interview, in which Joe Fields (a self-professed Nazi) and Duke were discussing politics and their preferred strategy for bringing the government down and creating an all-white republic. That has always been Duke’s goal, and it is now.
The first link is of the commercials themselves. The second is an analysis of Duke’s current run for office, which I recorded this morning, along with longer excerpts from the same interview used in the commercials. Please spread this around. Everyone needs to be crystal clear who this man is and what he stands for. Take nothing for granted.