In the shadow of Trump, David Duke announces run for U.S. Senate

Today, the 1988 presidential candidate of the Populist Party and internationally known white nationalist David Duke announced his candidacy for an open U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana as a Republican.

Duke, 66,  who was initially affiliated with the National Socialist White People’s Party  at the onset of what would become his lengthy political career, ran as the presidential nominee of the nationalist, Willis Carto founded Populist Party in the 1988 presidential election. Floyd Parker and Trenton Stokes both appeared as the running mates of Duke in different states. Duke received 47,047 votes nationwide, for 0.04% of the total votes cast; his best showing was in his home state of Louisiana, where he won 1.14% of the vote. Despite his notoriety, Duke’s performance represented the lowest showing of the three presidential candidates that the Populist Party fielded during the course of its existence from 1984 to 1996: former Olympic gold medalist Bob Richards received 66,324 votes (0.07%) in the 1984 presidential election and in 1992, Bo Gritz, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who garnered attention in his role as a mediator during the siege of Ruby Ridge in August of that year,  received 107,014 votes, or 0.10%.

From 1999 to 2001, Duke was a member of the Reform Party and supported Pat Buchanan in his presidential campaign. Duke’s involvement in the Reform Party was cited as one reason by Donald Trump, who Duke now often praises,  of why he left the party and ended a brief flirtation with a possible run for president with the party that had been created to serve as a political vehicle for Ross Perot in 1996.

Duke has additionally maintained ties with such European “third” parties such as the British National Party and the National Democratic Party of Germany. Many individuals involved in European nationalist and right-wing populist political parties have, like Duke, expressed words of support for the Trump phenomenon; Dutch Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders attended this week’s GOP convention and the founder of the National Front, Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Pen, tweeted in February that ““If I were American, I would vote Donald Trump.”

Inspired by Trump’s populist rhetoric and strong support among the white nationalist community, including the American Freedom Party, Duke has decided to return to electoral politics after an prolonged absence of more than sixteen years, an absence that although included a 15-month stint in federal prison for felony tax fraud on a conviction that Duke aggressively disputes in his best-selling book, My Awakening, was also a time in which, specifically in 2005, Duke received a PhD in history from the Ukrainian Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, who’s alumni include the first Jewish prime minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman. Duke sees Trump’s popularity as a vindication of his long-held political views that Duke has argued for as being based on the principle of “America first”.

Duke’s announcement has garnered national media attention. Below is full the transcript of Duke’s announcement video:

After the great outpouring, overwhelming support, I’m proud to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate. I believe in equal rights for all, and respect for all. However, what makes me different, is I also demand respect for the rights and heritage of European Americans. I passed the only bill in America forbidding affirmative action programs that racially discriminate against the best qualified. Thousands of special interest groups stand up for African Americans, Mexican Americans, Jewish Americans, etc etc.

The fact is that European Americans need at least one man in the United States Senate. One man in the Congress, who will defend their rights and heritage. We must stop the massive immigration, and ethnic cleansing of people who’s forefathers created America.

I was the first major candidate in modern times to promote the term and policy of America first. We cannot have free trade without fair trade. We must protect American jobs and businesses. We must have total campaign reform. It’s time to end all political PAC money and the control of politics by the oligarchs of finance and media. We must enforce anti-trust laws to break up the anti-American huge media conglomerates.

The New York Times admitted that my platform became the GOP mainstream and propelled Republicans to control of Congress. They sold us out. I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump, and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years. My slogan remains America first. I’ve always said equal rights for all, special interests for none, I’ve always opposed these wars that lead our nation to disaster. I’ve supported fair trade.

The people of Louisiana and America must have at least one man in the Senate who will never surrender, never give up, never sell out to the special interests. The time is now. Revolution is coming in the United States of America. For the real people, the vast majority of the American people, we are going to go against the special interests, free our country, and we are going to change the politics of America.

Duke has already launched a campaign website. The former Louisiana state representative lists seven campaign platform planks on his “issues” page: stopping the “ethnic cleansing of America,” ending the Federal Reserve, an “America First” foreign policy, term limits and “total campaign reform,” stopping the “racist discrimination of affirmative action programs,” an end to the IRS and the institution of a 10 percent “flat tax,” and on the issue of education, implementing a 50 percent tax credit for parents who send their children to private or religious schools.

According to Politico, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has disavowed Duke, saying that “he will not have the support of the NCSC under any circumstance.” In issuing a formal statement, the Republican Party of Louisiana was much more blunt about Duke, calling the 1991 Republican gubernatorial nominee and former one-term state legislator a “hate-filled fraud”:

LAGOP Condemns David Duke, Calls Him a “Hate-filled Fraud”

Today, Roger Villere, chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana, issued the following statement regarding news that David Duke is running for public office:

“The Republican Party opposes, in the strongest possible terms, David Duke’s candidacy for any public office. David Duke is a convicted felon and a hate-filled fraud who does not embody the values of the Republican Party. The Party of Lincoln and Reagan is one that recognizes the inherent value of every human life, regardless of age, religion or race. David Duke’s history of hate marks a dark stain on Louisiana’s past and has no place in our current conversation. The Republican Party of Louisiana will play an active role in opposing David Duke’s candidacy.”

Duke responded to the GOP during a press conference, saying, “I thank the Republican Party for coming out officially against me.”

In addition to running against a plethora of Democrats and Republicans, Duke will face two Libertarian Party candidates, Thomas Clements and Le Roy Gillum, as well as at least five independents: Troy Herbert, Bob Lang, Kaitlin Marone, Gregory Taylor and Arden Wells; all candidates, regarding of party affiliation or lack thereof, will compete in Louisiana’s unique “jungle primary” election on November 8th.

Duke’s campaign website is DukeForSenate.com.

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