Extremist Right Wing Groups Rise Again

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

by Daniel Nardini

For close to ten years, extremist right wing groups had actually been in decline in terms of numbers, influence and especially on committing violent acts. However, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the year 2015 actually saw a rise in their numbers. Hate groups grew from 784 in 2014 to 892 in 2015. The number of anti-government patriot groups also grew from 874 in 2014 to 998 in 2015. Why suddenly this increase? A couple of factors have come into play. First, there is a great deal of political polarization in this country—especially among native-born Americans and immigrants. Second, there is some polarization between white (non-Hispanic) Americans and racial, ethnic and religious minorities.

I need only to point out at the growing number of attacks against Latinos and Muslims to drive home the point. But one of the new catalysts for why extremist right wing groups have grown is the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. There is no way of getting away from it. Republican candidate for the presidency Donald Trump has made all kinds of sick, irresponsible statements that have exacerbated the situation. From calling Mexicans “rapists” and “drug dealers,” and for planning to deport not only those he calls “illegals” but their spouses and American-born children is not even thinly veiled racism. He has continued his vicious attacks against Muslims, and called for both no longer allowing Muslims to immigrate to the United States and even creating a national registry of American Muslims.

All of this rhetoric has only put gasoline on a burning house. What is equally reprehensible is that Trump’s words have actually been the best recruiting tool for so many white racist and white supremacist groups. In fact, many such groups have come out in support of Donald Trump, and it seems that Trump has no problem with these kind of extremists or their endorsement of him (he certainly has not said anything against them and his campaign has certainly not distanced itself from these extremists). In all of my years of writing, and all of the presidential campaigns that have gone before, I have never seen one so full of immigrant-bashing, mass hatred of people for their religious and ethnic backgrounds, and extremist viewpoints being acceptable in campaign slogans (especially among the Republican candidates). I am seeing a very ugly picture of the times we live in.

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