The Los Angeles Times reports:
David Duke worked the Louisiana gun show like a preacher pursuing souls, cornering potential voters as they picked over firearms and ammo.
The robes are gone and the rhetoric is softer than during his grand wizard days. But Duke has not shed his relentless proselytizing for the white race, even though voters have repeatedly rejected the former Ku Klux Klan leader’s attempts to regain public office.
Duke is undeterred. As he sees it, this is the moment. After last running for election in 1999, he’s back with a long-shot bid for Louisiana’s open U.S. Senate seat.
And his reason for optimism is clear: Donald Trump. “I love it,” said Duke, 66, tearing into a chicken garlic pizza at a nearby restaurant later. “The fact that Donald Trump’s doing so well, it proves that I’m winning. I am winning.”
Trump’s surprise rise to become the GOP presidential nominee, built largely on a willingness to openly criticize minority groups and tap into long-simmering racial divisions, has reenergized white supremacist groups and drawn them into mainstream American politics like nothing seen in decades.
White nationalist leaders who once shunned presidential races have endorsed Trump, marking the first time some have openly supported a candidate from one of the two main parties. Members are showing up at his rallies, knocking on doors to get out the vote and organizing debate-watching parties.
White supremacists are active on social media and their websites report a sharp rise in traffic and visitors, particularly when posting stories and chat forums about the New York businessman.