Scalise, David Duke and the Stain on the Republican Party
Buried in the headlines about the new Congress, and among the furious efforts of the Republican leadership’s attempt to change the subject, was the reprehensible case of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). As you might have heard, Scalise has now admitted to giving a speech earlier in his political career to a white supremacist group founded by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. Trolling for votes in Louisiana, Scalise thought it was a good idea to speak to one of the most vile hate groups in America.
Duke ran for several elections, and the wise people of Louisiana largely rejected this neo-Nazi, and he only won a seat to the state legislature in 1989 by fewer than 300 votes. But it seems that the radical right vote was potent enough that Scalise sought it out as part of his electoral coalition, which would eventually elevate him to a senior leadership post in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
I am trying to imagine a scenario in which a Democrat admits to having sought votes among violent communists at their get-together, an admission that would consequently provoke the full-throated support of the Democratic leadership. It just would not would happen. The radical left was exiled from the Democratic Party decades ago.
And that is one of the most striking differences between the parties. While radicals with Democratic leanings still inhabit the fringes of politics, none are elected to Congress or would remotely be considered for a party leadership post.