While Trump has alienated entire groups of people, from Latinos to Muslims to many veterans, the Republican presidential nominee has been very successful in attracting the support of groups most candidates actually avoid.
Late last month, the chairman of the American Nazi Party enthusiastically threw all of his support behind Trump, telling listeners of his radio show that a Trump victory is “going to be a real opportunity for people like white nationalists.”
Rocky Suhayda said a Trump presidency would create the environment necessary to build pro-white coalitions, “you know how you have the Black political caucus and what not in Congress and everything to start building on something like that.”
Suhayda’s radio show was recorded last month, a portion of which was posted on Saturday by BuzzFeed. On his program Suhayda explained how best to position the coalition.
“It doesn’t have to be anti-, like the movement’s been for decades, so much as it has to be pro-white,” he said. “You know what I’m saying It’s kinda hard to go and call us bigots if we don’t go around and act like a bigot. That’s what the movement should contemplate.”
BuzzFeed noted that while Suhayda has avoided publicly supporting Trump so vocally out of concern that he might hurt the campaign, he has fervently encouraged his followers to support Trump, saying he validates their views.
In a September American Nazi Party report, according to BuzzFeed, Suhayda wrote: “We have a wonderful OPPORTUNITY here folks, that may never come again, at the RIGHT time. Donald Trump’s campaign statements, if nothing else, have SHOWN that ‘our views’ are NOT so ‘unpopular’ as the Political Correctness crowd have told everyone they are!”
In fact, Trump’s rhetoric has resonated with various white supremacist leaders who have capitalized on his candidacy to energize their movement and increase recruitment.
The national organizer of the Knights Party, the leading Ku Klux Klan organization, earlier this year said Trump has been a great recruiting tool. Rachel Pendergraft told The Washington Post that Trump has “electrified” the group’s members and his candidacy has helped start conversations about issues that are important to the white supremacist movement.
David Duke, a former Louisiana state representative and former leader of the KKK, who last month announced he is running for U.S. Senate, earlier this year cautioned his radio listeners that “voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.”
Duke has said that “a lot of what [Trump] says resonates with me and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do.” He recently told NPR, “As a United States senator, nobody will be more supportive of his legislative agenda, his Supreme Court agenda, than I will.”
Kevin MacDonald, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as”the neo-Nazi movement’s favorite academic,” this year wrote of Trump’s rhetoric resonating with the “very large number of white people who are furious. We are living in very exciting times. A major political candidate is saying things that have been kept out of the mainstream for decades by a corrupt elite consensus on immigration and multiculturalism that dominates both the GOP and the Democrats.”
Another who’s who on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s watchlist, which monitors hate groups and extremists, is Matthew Heimbach, “considered by many to be the face of a new generation of white nationalists.” He told the Washington Post earlier this year, “This is the first time since [Pat] Buchanan in the ’90s and George Wallace in ’68 where you have a guy outside the mainstream speaking to white interests.”
“Donald Trump, whether he meant to or not, has opened this floodgate that I don’t think can be restrained regardless of what happens in the 2016 elections,” he said.
Don Black, founder of Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, echoed Heimbach’s sentiment in an interview with Politico, saying Trump is “certainly creating a movement that will continue independently of him even if he does fold at some point.”
Trump’s words resonated with Rick Tyler, a congressional candidate from Tennessee, who in June erected a highway billboard prominently displaying the slogan “Make America White Again,” which many believe is the true meaning behind Trump’s “Make America Great Again.”
“Clearly we are in uncharted waters, in that there has never been a candidacy like this in modern political history,” Tyler wrote on his congressional campaign website. “Of great significance, as well, is the reality of the Trump phenomenon and the manner in which he has loosened up the overall spectrum of political discourse.”
A television ad for Lyndon B. Johnson from the 1964 presidential election called “Confessions of a Republican,” which criticizes Sen. Barry Goldwater, has been going viral on social media due to its uncanny parallel to Trump’s campaign. At one point in the ad, the disillusioned longtime Republican voter says: “When the head of the Ku Klux Klan, when all these weird groups come out in favor of the candidate of my party either they’re not Republicans or I’m not.”