David Duke: Five Things to Know

July 28, 2016

1.     David Duke has been active in the white supremacist movement for over 40 years.  

In 1974, he founded the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Recognizing that he could gain more attention by recasting his racism in more palatable terms, Duke shed his Klan robes and in 1981 founded the National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP). Though its ideology mirrored the Klan, he presented the group as “primarily a white rights lobby organization.” Duke founded a similar organization in the early 2000s -- the National Organization for European American Rights (NOFEAR) -- which he later renamed the European American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO). EURO received some public attention in 2015 when it was revealed that U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) attended a EURO event in 2002.  The organization is no longer active.

2.     Duke promotes a virulent form of anti-Semitism.

His messages typically include conspiratorial depictions of Jewish power and Jewish hatred for non-Jews, a combination he refers to as “Jewish supremacism.” Duke promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, blaming Israel and “Zionists” for causing and manipulating world events such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, third-world immigration to Western countries, and various wars. He accuses Jews of destroying white heritage and culture.  He has written two books, the autobiographical My Awakening and Jewish Supremacism, filled with anti-Semitic vitriol. Duke also attended a Holocaust denial conference in Iran in 2006.

3.     Duke has ties to other extremists in the U.S and abroad.

Duke is a regular speaker at a yearly conference hosted by Don Black of Stormfront, the largest white supremacist Internet forum. He also features well-known extremists on his Internet radio show such as retired professor Kevin MacDonald, neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin and Matthew Heimbach, leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party. Attempting to build ties with extremists in Europe, Duke has been arrested or expelled from a number of countries, including Switzerland, Italy and Germany.  He has also appeared numerous times on Press TV, Iran’s English language station, where he accuses Zionists of various ill deeds.

4.     Duke has been a political figure since 1975.

Duke first ran for political office in 1975, as a candidate for the Louisiana State Senate.  He ran again in 1979, and then was a candidate for president on the extreme-right Populist Party ticket in 1988.  The only time he ever won an election was as a state representative in 1989. After that, he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1990, for governor in 1991, for president in 1992, for the U.S. Senate in 1996, and for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999.  In 2015, Duke came into the public eye again as a Donald Trump supporter.  In July 2016, he announced that he will run for an open U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana.

5.     Duke has a criminal record.

Duke served time in federal prison in Texas from April 2003 through May 2004 for mail fraud and tax evasion activities dating from the 1990s. Duke had bilked thousands of followers out of money through a direct mail campaign.