The effort to plant the seeds of white nationalism in the political mainstream, where they might blossom into pro-white political coalitions that appeal to a broader swath of Caucasian voters, will not be easy, according to the chairman of the American Nazi Party.
But Rocky Suhayda thinks there is one political figure who presents a “real opportunity” to lessen the load.
Who is it? Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president.
“Now, if Trump does win, okay, it’s going to be a real opportunity for people like white nationalists, acting intelligently to build upon that, and to go and start — you know how you have the black political caucus and what not in Congress and everything — to start building on something like that,” Suhayda declared on his radio program last month.
“It doesn’t have to be anti-, like the movement’s been for decades, so much as it has to be pro-white,” he added. “You know what I’m saying? It’s kinda hard to go and call us bigots if we don’t go around and act like a bigot. That’s what the movement should contemplate. All right.”
Audio from the radio program was posted Saturday by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, who noted that Suhayda has in the past avoided making statements about Trump out of concern that he might harm the businessman’s candidacy. Yet, Kaczynski reported, in an American Nazi Party report from September, the chairman argued that Trump’s rhetoric revealed the secret popularity of the party’s messages.
“We have a wonderful OPPORTUNITY here folks, that may never come again, at the RIGHT time,” Suhayda wrote, according to BuzzFeed. “Donald Trump’s campaign statements, if nothing else, have SHOWN that ‘our views’ are NOT so ‘unpopular’ as the Political Correctness crowd have told everyone they are!”
Suhayda is far from the first avowed white supremacist to publicize his support and enthusiasm for Trump.
Earlier this year, Rachel Pendergraft — the national organizer for the Knights Party, a standard-bearer for the Ku Klux Klan — told The Washington Post that the KKK had begun using Trump’s candidacy as a new conversation starter to recruit followers.
She said this has been discussed on a private, members-only website and in “e-news, stuff that goes out to members.”
In addition to opening “a door to conversation,” she said, Trump’s candidacy had electrified some members of the movement.
“They like the overall momentum of his rallies and his campaign,” Pendergraft said. “They like that he’s not willing to back down. He says what he believes, and he stands on that.”
On his radio show in February, David Duke — a former Ku Klux Klan leader and a current U.S. Senate candidate from Louisiana — encouraged listeners to cast their ballots for Trump, saying that “voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.”
This week, Duke told NPR that he is “100 percent behind” Trump’s political agenda.
“As a United States senator, nobody will be more supportive of his legislative agenda, his Supreme Court agenda, than I will,” Duke said.
“Donald Trump is not a racist,” he added. “And the truth is — in this country, if you simply defend the heritage of European American people, then you’re automatically a racist.”
Duke told NPR that polls among Trump supporters in Louisiana showed that “75 to 80 percent” would back his Senate run.
“You think Trump voters are your voters?” asked Steve Inskeep, the host of NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
“Well, of course they are!” Duke replied. “Because I represent the ideas of preserving this country and the heritage of this country, and I think Trump represents that as well.”
Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, a white-nationalist magazine and website based in Northern Virginia, told the New Yorker magazine that Trump may be in denial about the makeup of his base.
“I’m sure he would repudiate any association with people like me,” Taylor told the magazine, “but his support comes from people who are more like me than he might like to admit.”
In January, Taylor’s voice could be heard in a robo-call that encouraged Iowa voters to throw their support behind Trump.
“I urge you to vote for Donald Trump because he is the one candidate who points out that we should accept immigrants who are good for America,” Taylor says on the recording, which was paid for by the American National super PAC. “We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture. Vote Trump.”
Taylor told The Post in February that he finds Trump’s rhetoric on immigration appealing, even though he does not particularly care for the candidate’s brash style.
“I think what he’s done is a very important thing,” Taylor told The Post. “He’s the first candidate in decades to say almost explicitly that immigration should be in the interest of Americans and not just immigrants.”
He added, “He’s attractive to many Americans who see their country slipping through their fingers. You don’t want to end your days living in an outpost of Haiti or Guatemala, do you?”
During his radio program last month, Suhayda said he was confident that Trump would emerge victorious in November’s election.
Trump, he noted, has tapped into the frustrations among a large segment of white voters who have been forgotten.
“I think it’s gonna surprise the enemy, because I think that they feel that the white working class — especially the male portion of the working class and with him his female counterparts — have basically thrown in the towel,” Suhayda said. “Given up hope of any politician again standing up for their interests.”