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.
Stormfront, already one of the oldest and largest white nationalist websites, reported a 600% increase in readership since President Obama’s election, and now has more than one in five threads devoted to Trump. It reportedly had to upgrade its servers recently due to the increased traffic.
“Before Trump, our identity ideas, national ideas, they had no place to go,” said Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank based in Arlington, Va.
Not since Southern segregationist George Wallace’s failed presidential bids in 1968 and 1972 have white nationalists been so motivated to participate in a presidential election.
Andrew Anglin, editor of the Daily Stormer website and an emerging leader of a new generation of millennial extremists, said he had “zero interest” in the 2012 general election and viewed presidential politics as “pointless.” That is, until he heard Trump.
“Trump had me at ‘build a wall,’” Anglin said. “Virtually every alt-right Nazi I know is volunteering for the Trump campaign.”
One California white nationalist leader dug into his own pockets to give $12,000 to launch a pro-Trump super PAC that made robocalls in seven primary states — with more promised before the Nov. 8 election.
“The idea that [Trump] is taking a wrecking ball to ‘political correctness’ excites them,” said Peter Montgomery, who has tracked far right groups as a senior fellow at People for the American Way, the Norman Lear-founded advocacy group. “They’ve been marginalized in our discourse, but he’s really made space for them…. He has energized these folks politically in a way that’s going to have damaging long-term consequences.”
The LA Times has a good look at this ongoing problem.