Society

Why A Former KKK Member's Endorsement Won't Hurt Trump

| by Nik Bonopartis
Ku Klux Klan members rally in 1920.Ku Klux Klan members rally in 1920.

Someone in Marco Rubio's campaign should remind the Florida senator what all the controversy about Bill Ayers did to then-Sen. Barack Obama's White House run: absolutely nothing.

For those whose memories are a bit fuzzy, Ayers co-founded the Weather Underground. Although it sounds like a coalition of anti-establishment meteorologists -- and actually is the name of a weather website nowadays -- the Weather Underground was a group of terrorists who espoused an incoherent ideology that roughly amounts to "Down with the man, man!" and bombed public buildings to get their nebulous point across.

Ayers, the prep-schooled son of a wealthy corporate executive, participated in and supervised the bombings of the NYPD and Chicago Police headquarters, as well as the Pentagon and state department, according to the FBI. His group once threw molotov cocktails at the home of a New York Supreme Court judge, and in 1970, three of his moronic minions blew themselves up while constructing a nail bomb in a Greenwich Village safe house. Darwin: 1; Weathermen: 0.

Sounds like a pretty bad guy, right? Ayers never repented for his terrorist hobby, and to this day fancies himself a revolutionary while wistfully talking about the communist utopia he wanted to create, man.

Ayers didn't endorse Obama. Give him credit for being smart enough not to do that. But Ayers and the president were buddies back in the day, attending Chicago political soirees and serving together on various boards and committees. At one point, they were neighbors, and Ayers contributed to Obama's state senate re-election campaign.

This time around, Republican and Democratic rivals are seizing on a dubious endorsement by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke to criticize GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. Trump made it clear he doesn't appreciate the endorsement, and has said several times on national TV and social media that he rebukes Duke and everything the former Klansman stands for.

It's also not the first time Trump has spoken out about Duke. In 1991, Trump was sharply critical of Duke when the latter ran for governor of Louisiana, and in 2000, Trump decided against a presidential run on the Reform Party slate because of its ties to Duke and Pat Buchanan. Trump called Duke “a bigot, a racist, a problem," according to FactCheck.org.

When asked about Duke during a press conference to announce New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's endorsement on Feb. 26, Trump said: “I didn’t even know [Duke] endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? OK. Alright. I disavow, OK?”

Somehow, to Rubio and Ted Cruz, that didn't amount to a full repudiation of Duke. Trump rebuked Duke several more times over the weekend, yet Rubio and Cruz kept nipping at his ankles, like hungry dogs waiting for a scrap from the table. On social media, Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton joined in on the disingenuous accusations.

Judging by Super Tuesday's primary votes, Trump's rivals gained nothing by trying to associate the real estate mogul with the former Klansman. You can't blame them for trying, just like you can't blame sailors for trying to save a sinking ship. Desperation is self-evident.

What Rubio and Cruz say now is irrelevant anyway. Clinton, who looks like a lock for the Democratic nomination, will choose whether or not to press on with the tenuous Duke accusation. She probably will. But if her campaign people want to give her good advice, they should remind her of what became of the Ayers drama, and find something else to hit Trump on.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: NBC News, The Hill, FBI, PBS, FactCheck.org, Twitter / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Will David Duke's endorsement hurt Trump in the general election?
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