Why I Left White Nationalism

 In Lifestyle, National News

I could easily have spent the night of Nov. 8 elated, surrounded by friends and family, thinking: “We did it. We rejected a multicultural and globalist society. We defied the elites, rejected political correctness, and made a statement millions of Americans have wanted to shout for decades.”

I’d be planning with other white nationalists what comes next, and assessing just how much influence our ideology would have on this administration. That’s who I was a few years ago.

Things look very different for me now. I am far away from the community that I grew up in, and that I once hoped could lead our country to a moment like this.

I was born into a prominent white nationalist family — David Duke is my godfather, and my dad started Stormfront, the first major white nationalist website — and I was once considered the bright future of the movement.

In 2008, at age 19, I ran for and won a Palm Beach County Republican committee seat a few months before Barack Obama was elected president. I received national media attention and for a while couldn’t go out without being congratulated for “telling them what’s what.”

I grew up in West Palm Beach across the water from Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, and he was always a loud presence in the neighborhood. I would drive a pickup truck with a Confederate flag sticker past his driveway each morning on my way to the beach and my family would walk out into the front yard to watch his fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

It surprises me now how often Mr. Trump and my 19-year-old self would have agreed on our platforms: tariffs to bring back factory jobs, increased policing of black communities, deporting illegal workers and the belief that American culture was threatened. I looked at my white friends and family who felt dispossessed, at the untapped political support for anyone — even a kid like me — who wasn’t afraid to talk about threats to our people from outsiders, and I knew not only that white nationalism was right, but that it could win.

Read more at nytimes.com

Photo credit: Jasu Hu

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