The Louisiana Democratic Party doesn’t want to see David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, gain any momentum in his U.S. Senate bid, but its political apparatus is continuing to shine a bright light on the divisive figure.
Top surrogate James Carville, who helped elect former President Bill Clinton, was used for a fundraising appeal to party loyalists last week, on Sept. 6, that focused on nothing else.
“Can you believe it?” Carville wrote in the fundraising email. “David Duke is running again. If I had a dollar for every time David Duke has run for office. We are gonna have to stop him. Duke has been going round the state telling people to vote Trump and vote for him. You have got to be kidding me?”
The next day, Michael McHale, first vice-chair of the party, signed an issues email that sought to link Duke to Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president this year.
“The inmates are running the asylum,” McHale wrote. “With Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, and in our own backyard David Duke running to replace David Vitter in the U.S. Senate, it is clear the alt-right has taken over the Republican Party… Given multiple chances, Donald Trump refused to disavow the KKK, David Duke and other white supremacist groups.”
The Louisiana Democratic Party then started placing web ads with the same themes later that afternoon.
While Duke certainly gives Democrats a foil to campaign against, and his extremist views may be helping with fundraising, others are worried that Duke’s candidacy will be dismissed too quickly or allowed to fly under the radar.
“The struggle for racial, religious and ethnic goodwill is never really done,” said Lawrence Powell, chairman of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism.
The coalition reemerged from being inactive late last month. It was first created for Duke’s 1991 run for governor against Edwin Edwards.
In what could be a sign of things to come for the remainder of the primary, Duke is getting a constant flow of media coverage in the U.S. Senate race for, basically, being Duke.
This is especially troubling for those who believe Duke needs earned media to make a go of his bid — and for those who refuse to underestimate him.
The New York Times published a piece over the weekend with this headline: “David Duke’s Senate Run in Louisiana Draws Attention but Not Support.”
“The less you talk about him, the worse off he gets,” Roy Fletcher, a Republican political consultant, told the New York Times.