“They may not be ready for the Ku Klux Klan yet, but as anti-white hatred escalates, they will.”
That was Rachel Pendergraft, a spokeswoman for the political arm of the Ku Klux Klan (yes, this exists), talking last year about the way the Trump campaign was helping racist and white supremacist groups reach a growing audience. Mother Jones interviewed her as part of a big investigation, which found that these extremists were seeing Trump as legitimizing their once-hidden views.
Hearing people like Pendergraft talking this way—taking off the hood, as it were—was shocking enough. But here’s what really stunned us in reporting out that story: Not only were extremists excited by Trump’s campaign. Not only were they using it to recruit on a scale they hadn’t imagined before. They felt that the campaign was signaling to them actively and deliberately—and the more we dug, the more we realized they were right.
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