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Hate Groups Claim Obama Win is Sparking Recruitment Surge

Even as they rail against the election of the nation’s first black president, some white supremacist leaders are claiming that people have flocked to their organizations since Barack Obama’s victory.

“The League of the South is reporting a surge in new members within hours of the results from yesterday’s elections,” proclaimed an E-mail that the neo-Confederate group sent to supporters the day after the election. “League president, Dr. Michael Hill, stated that it is from an awakening of many Southerners that the constitutional Republic is now dead and has been replaced with a national socialist empire.”

Don Black, who runs the leading white supremacist hate site, boasted in an online post Wednesday afternoon that his website was seeing six times its usual traffic. “There are a lot of angry White people out there looking for answers,” he wrote. “Let’s show them. We will not be defeated.”

Hate groups are notorious for inflating their numbers — and it’s likely that their claims of heightened support after Obama’s win are exaggerated. Nonetheless, the fact that they are making those claims suggests that many white supremacists believe an Obama presidency will help them recruit new members.

Thomas Robb, leader of an Arkansas-based Ku Klux Klan group, announced on his blog that Obama had become America’s first “mulatto” president, then invited readers to click on a link for an application to join The Knights Party. “If you want to do something to help provide a future for you [sic] children then you need to become part of a movement working for our people. We are not asking you to hate anyone! We are not asking you to commit an illegal act. We are not asking you to hurt anyone. We just want you to love your people and do that which your grandfathers did — give your children a bright future.”

The pitches of other white supremacists were more subtle but no less urgent. “We as European Americans have got to rally for our own heritage, our own freedom, our own survival as a people,” exhorted former Ku Klux Klan boss David Duke. “And if we don’t do that — and if we don’t begin now to build a real movement, a dedicated movement for our rights and our heritage — we’re going to lose everything that’s important to us and vital to us.” (In an essay he wrote this summer, Duke predicted that an Obama win would make whites see that their country was in dire straits.)

Billy Roper, chairman of the neo-Nazi group White Revolution, predicted that “more and more white Americans [would be] waking up” and instructed followers to be prepared. “[W]e are on the crest of [the storm’s] wave. People will be coming forward, shaking the cobwebs from their numbed minds, and they will need us to lead them.”

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