The KKK, Donald Duke, And Trump Connection: Is The Klan On The Rise In America?

Anya Wassenberg

Is the KKK on the rise in America? With David Duke recently announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate and Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric, Ku Klux Klan leaders believe that the time has once again come around for their brand of white supremacist politics. But, are their dreams of resurgence fantasy or reality?

David Duke announced his support for Trump's campaign for the GOP nomination earlier this year and Trump famously took days to come out and denounce the support of the former KKK leader. Duke, however, doesn't seem daunted by Trump's disavowal of his support. He spoke to Reuters reporters.

"I don't really care what Donald Trump says about me. I respect what he's doing."
"I'm overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I've championed for years."

Like David Duke, Klan leaders see the mood of the American public – in particular, anti-immigration sentiment – as being ripe for their resurgence. The KKK has had a strong anti-immigration stance since the 1920s. While actual numbers seem to be scarce, KKK leaders told the Associated Press that their membership has been rising since President Obama was elected to a second term in office. They point out that the KKK does not openly advocate violence, and say that the days of beatings and bombings are over.

In Fayetteville, CBS North Carolina reports that African Americans were recently targeted with racist hate messages that were thrown onto front yards, with the notes contained inside plastic bags weighted with rocks. The notes specifically mentioned the "Loyal White Knights of the KKK," and local police say this isn't the first time they've seen similar actions.

The Daily Beast reports that the KKK is actively recruiting in the San Francisco area, using the recent shootings of police in Dallas as an impetus. The Ku Klux Klan distributed flyers in the historic Haight neighborhood, reading, "JOIN THE KU KLUX KLAN." The KKK has also distributed similar flyers in northwest Georgia, according to AJC News.

"We will work on a unified Klan and/or alliance this summer."

While their numbers may be low, however, when it comes to the Klan, David Duke and the connection to Trump, the GOP's official presidential candidate, the KKK's dreams of legitimacy on the American political stage may becoming much closer to reality.

[Photo by Keystone/Getty Images]