Prominent white supremacists anticipate a boost to their cause if Barack Obama becomes the first black president. His election, they say, would trigger a backlash – whites rising up, a revolution of sorts – that they think is long overdue.
He'd be a “visual aid,” says former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, in trying to bring others around to their view that whites have lost control of America. Obama's election, says another, would jar whites into action, writing letters, handing out pamphlets rather than sitting around complaining.
While most Americans have little or no direct contact with white supremacists, organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center keep close tabs; the law center estimates some 200,000 people nationwide are active in such groups.
Richard Barrett is a 65-year-old lawyer who traveled the country for 40 years advocating what he perceives as the white side in racial issues.
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Barrett is convinced Democratic Sen. Obama will defeat Republican Sen. John McCain in November. And that could cause an upheaval, he said.
“Instead of this so-called civil rights bill, for example, that says you have to give preferences to minorities, I think the American people are going – once they see the ‘Obamanation' – they're going to demand a tweaking of that and say, ‘You have to put the majority into office,”' Barrett said.
Across the United States, some white supremacists are saying an Obama presidency could create a racial backlash that will boost their groups.
However, Jason Robb, a Harrison, Ark., attorney who represents the Klan's Knights Party, said in an interview, “It doesn't really matter if Obama wins the election or McCain wins the election. Neither of them are going to try to fight to preserve the white race or heritage.”