Who knew David Duke mattered?
Cable news made the former wizard of the KKK quite visible in Charlottesville, at what planners billed as the largest gathering of the "alt-right community." The "Unite the Right" rally encouraged the like-minded to go to and demonstrate in Charlottesville, Virginia. Counter-protesters, of course, showed up, and many violent clashes ensued. When the dust settled, a woman had been killed and 19 injured when a suspect apparently intentionally drove his car into a crowd of people, although the matter remains under investigation. Two police officers died when their patrol helicopter crashed.
Duke got considerable airtime in Charlottesville. Never mind that the last time he was taken even remotely seriously was in 1991 when he ran for governor of Louisiana. Not a single Republican congressional lawmaker supported him. Mary Matalin, chief of staff of the Republican National Committee, said: "He is not a Republican. We never considered him a Republican. There will be no involvement in his campaign whatsoever." He lost by a large margin. He sought office four more times, losing each race. He also served time for mail fraud and tax evasion.
President George Herbert Walker Bush issued this scathing dismissal: "When someone asserts the Holocaust never took place, then I don't believe that person ever deserves one iota of public trust. When someone has so recently endorsed Nazism, it is inconceivable that someone can reasonably aspire to a leadership role in a free society."
Were it not for cable news digging Duke up from time to time, he'd probably be working road construction under an assumed name in Kalamazoo.
Can we agree to denounce all bigots — whether a David Duke or Maxine Waters or Rev. Al Sharpton? After all, Waters called President Donald Trump's cabinet members "scumbags" and said, "I've never seen anybody as disgusting or as disrespectful as he is." She recently even called Democrat Alan Dershowitz a "racist."
As for Sharpton, he has a long list of racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic comments that in a rational world would long ago have consigned him to the ash bin of history. This is the man who, among many outrages over his career as a "civil rights activist," falsely accused a white man of raping a black teenager and to this day has never apologized. He helped to incite three days of anti-Semitic rioting in Crown Heights, New York, a tragedy that one Columbia University professor called "a modern-day pogrom." Yet this bigot who whipped up the Crown Heights atmosphere by bellowing, "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house," somehow visited the Obama White House, according to The Washington Post, 72 times during Obama's first six years.
But it's Trump aide Steven Bannon whom Trump critics malign as an "anti-Semite."
After the violence in Charlottesville, Trump issued a statement denouncing "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides." But he got hammered for "not calling out" the white nationalist groups by name and for assigning blame to both sides. Critics accused Trump of making a "moral equivalence" — equating white nationalists and Nazi sympathizers to those who oppose them. Normal people thought he meant both sides of the people fighting in the streets. But Trump's critics accused him of equating Nazis with anti-Nazis — or something like that. So he issued another statement.
Trump said: "Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."
Critics then called it too little, too late, especially coming from the man they consider the bigot in chief. Had Trump called out the bad guys by name, critics would've blasted him for not giving out their Social Security numbers, too.
The bigot in the White House actually got a smaller share of the white vote than did Mitt Romney in 2012, while getting a larger percentage of the black, Hispanic and Asian votes than Romney did. Apparently blacks, Hispanics and Asians are too stupid to realize that they voted for a man who, right in front of them, reached out to people who hate them. Apparently, the white racists that Trump reached out to are too stupid to realize they've attached themselves to a guy who is attracting the very people that white racists hate — people of color.
Two related "race" themes, fervently believed by the left, drive this hatred for Trump. First, the left believes, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that whites' anti-black racism remains a major problem — even after America became the only predominantly white country in the world to elect a black person to lead it. Second, they believe that Trump won by catering to white racists. Neither is true. But the left's desire to embrace these two narratives is, to them, much like climate change. It's settled science.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.