Ever since Donald Trump was slow to denounce David Duke, former KKK grand wizard and Louisiana politician last February, the man has become a gadfly of sorts to the Trump campaign.
The problem isn’t what you’d typically see in a gadfly, where the fly annoys, criticizes and otherwise causes mayhem for the target. Sort of like Trump did to Jeb Bush. But Trump is immune to normal gadflies, at least they don’t seem to bother him. Duke, however is a friendly gadfly, a parasite feeding off Trump without any kind of symbiotic benefit for the host.
In a Robocall reported by Buzzfeed, Duke urges voters to “stand up and vote for Donald Trump for president and vote for me, David Duke for the U.S. Senate.”
“Hi, this is David Duke. I’m sorry I missed you. I’m running for U.S. Senate. I’ll tell the truth that no other candidate will dare say. Unless massive immigration is stopped now, we’ll be out numbered and outvoted in our own nation. It’s happening. We’re losing our gun rights, our free speech. We’re taxed to death. We’re losing our jobs and businesses to unfair trade. We’re losing our country. Look at the Super Bowl salute to the Black Panther cop killers. It’s time to stand up and vote for Donald Trump for president and vote for me David Duke for the U.S. Senate. I’d love to hear from you. To find out more contribute or volunteer for the DavidDuke.com. Go to Davidduke.com. Together, we’ll save America and save Louisiana. Paid for by the Duke campaign.”
Trump’s campaign has denounced the robocall. Spokeswoman Katrina Pierson called it “absolutely disturbing.”
But here’s the problem. The kinds of voters who would listen to a pitch by a former KKK grand wizard believe Trump really supports him, with a wink and a nod. So that kind of pitch is actually effective among the small segment of pig-eyed sacks of manure who yearn for the day when the white sheets can come out in public.
And the kinds of voters (everyone else) who find such a pitch to be repugnant also believe that Trump must be okay with Duke using his name, and the denouncement is just a wink and a nod.
We call this, in highly political science-y terms, “crying wolf.”
A politician can’t make certain statements about Mexicans and American judges of Mexican heritage, retweet racist trope from the dungeons of the alt-right, including in-your-face anti-Semitism and fascist quotes from Mussolini, and then later claim to “disavow David Duke,” who runs with all the same fellow travelers to whom he previously pandered. Only Donald Trump thinks he can do this and get away with it.
Because “magical thinking.” Just like the polls are skewed, the election is rigged, and the “silent majority” will rise up. David Duke has more chance of winning retiring David Vitter’s Louisiana seat in the U.S. Senate than Trump has of winning the White House.
Which is to say, no chance.