A Democratic Wisconsin state representative and gubernatorial candidate is apparently trying to project a repugnant part of his party’s history on to Republicans by handing out Ku Klux Klan hoods to GOP supporters. Representative Brett Husley of Madison said he will give out what he calls “Republican Party hats” to state convention goers this weekend.
Husley, who seems to have several white hoods at his disposal, brushed aside concerns that his stunt would be considered offensive.
“What I find offensive is Governor Walker and the Republicans’ racist record,” he said. “They’re the ones considering the resolution to leave the United States.”
Husley was referring to a resolution set to be voted on by Republicans at the convention that would affirm Wisconsin’s right to secede. He is also expected to be accompanied by people dressed as Confederate soldiers.
Both Republicans and Democrats have denounced Husley’s stunt. “We take serious issue with the policies pursued by Republicans that disproportionately affect communities of color, but this type of behavior has no place in the public dialogue,” state Democratic chairman said. His Republican counterpart called Husley’s plans “a reprehensible, vile stunt.”
Husley’s attempt to project the KKK on to the Republican party ignores his own party’s history with the white-supremacy terrorist organization. Throughout most of its history, the KKK has aligned itself with the Democratic party, often forcing or intimidating others to vote for preferred candidates. Upon his death in 2010, Democratic senator Robert Byrd from West Virginia, who led his local KKK chapter at one point in his youth, was widely revered by his party.