C’mon, guys. David Duke isn’t a Democrat.

David Duke endorsed Donald Trump. Because of course David Duke endorsed Donald Trump, the candidate who describes his supporters beating up Latinos as “passionate” and whose rallies feature people shouting “white power” in between Trump’s homages to George Wallace’s “I tell it like it is” politics of “racial realism.”

So Donald Trump is #1 with one of America’s #1 racists. That much isn’t surprising. What’s surprising is how Buzzfeed, which broke the story, described Duke’s endorsement:

Duke, who unsuccessfully ran for president as a Democrat in 1988 and later served in the Louisiana House of Representatives, noted Trump’s experience as a salesman and his “great sense” of what people want to buy.

David Duke (credit: Emmanuel d'Aubignosc)

David Duke (credit: Emmanuel d’Aubignosc)

Yes, David Duke officially ran for president as a Democrat in 1988. He had precisely zero effect in the primaries, and wound up on the ballot in eleven states in that year’s general election on the Populist Party ticket. He was then elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives as a Republican. He has been a Republican ever since, representing the party in statewide elections for Senate and Governor in 1990 and 1991, respectively. He also ran for president as a Republican in 1992, where he received more votes than he did as a Democrat in 1988.

In other words, David Duke has spent the better part of the last three decades as a Republican, in large part because the Republican Party has become the home for KKK veterans like David Duke. Democrats were the party of the KKK for the first half of the 20th Century, but haven’t been for quite a while.

But again, that didn’t stop Buzzfeed’s politics team from putting an extra D next to Duke’s name when promoting the story about his Trump endorsement:

There’s an impulse among conservatives to take every opportunity to point out that Democrats used to be the party of racism, willfully ignoring the fact that, with the possible exception of Jim Webb saying nice things about the Confederate flag — and earning universal condemnation for doing so — that party’s over. It’s one thing for that impulse to manifest in a tweet from a conservative such as McKay Coppins, but it’s frustrating, to say the least, that the association made it into a Buzzfeed article itself. If you can find the Wikipedia page documenting David Duke’s Democratic presidential campaign, you’ve also found the Wikipedia page documenting David Duke’s handful of subsequent Republican campaigns.

There are a lot of reasons why Democrats receive over 70 percent of the Latino vote and over 90 percent of the African-American vote in presidential elections. One of those reasons is that Republicans stopped being the party of Lincoln and instead became the party of David Duke.

This being the case, Duke’s Democratic affiliation is the opposite of relevant to his endorsement of Trump. It’s only useful if you want to blur the clear lines separating the Democratic and Republican parties on racial issues in the 21st Century.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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8 Responses to “C’mon, guys. David Duke isn’t a Democrat.”

  1. josiedjetton says:

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  2. nicho says:

    So who does speak for the racists? Duck Dynasty?

  3. Aryan Bruder says:

    David PUKE does NOT speak for the VAST majority of white separatist folks! Puke speaks for PUKE and the Kosher Konservatives ! Though PUKE may have one time donned a brown shirt uniform and for another short time was a KKK member PUKE
    is no longer a member of the white supremacist struggle!
    Within & some what outside the movement PUKE is known as a womanizer / drunkard and well lets just say not the most honest person!
    Puke & his crony Don “misanthropic” Black ,owner of stormfront bulletin board are cut from the same cloth and have gone down the same path of once tenacious resistance to white genocide to weak knee ,slack jaw sycophants of the white sheeple and enemies of the white race!

    CJCC/AN
    Hayden Lake,Idaho

  4. The_Fixer says:

    David Duke? That pustule on the posterior of humanity has people paying attention to him? Good grief!

    This really proves how bad the Republican party has become – a known KKK member, who was disgraced, is welcomed back as a party elder.

    What.Shit.

  5. Bill_Perdue says:

    Like Bill and Hil.

  6. BeccaM says:

    Jon, Jon… The American people, on average, are morons. They don’t do nuance. Critical thinking and functional memory have gone out of style. Approximately 60% of ‘Idiocracy’ has come to pass, only nobody’s really noticed save the Internet wags and scolds.

    People buy bottled water at a premium, even though multiple tests have shown unfiltered tap water is higher quality. These same gullible sorts will pay even more for water that has had chemicals (under the guise of being ‘vitamins’) added to it. Just as an example.

    Ask the average American knuckledragger about Iraq and they won’t even remember how or why the war started or who did it. They claim Obama lost the war, even though it was never won in the first place. So of course the GOPer leaders take advantage of this by never mentioning who it was who signed the troop withdrawal agreement in the first place. (Namely, the former pig ranch owner who sold it off the second he didn’t need to be ‘folksy’ for the cameras anymore.)

    To recall the documented history, where in the 1950s and 60s, the Democrats became the party of minority civil rights, while Republicans opposed them tooth and nail is too much to expect. To be aware of the splinter ‘Dixiecrat’ movement — most of whom eventually became Reagan Republicans — is beyond their Fux Noise-filled / Trump-obsessed little pea brains. It doesn’t take a whole lot of cogitation to figure out that most of the unapologetic racists among the Democratic party two generations ago eventually found a welcome home in the Republicans — which is why the GOPers control most of the most racist regions of this country.

    Turning this all around: To attempt to whitewash (no pun intended) a now loyal and extremely racist Republican like David Duke as a Democrat is precisely to try to normalize being a racist bigot. “Oh, there are racist white supremacists in both parties, guess there’s nothing really wrong with it” is the subtext.

  7. Indigo says:

    Used to be. Yeah, well . . . Dixiecrats.

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