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  • A supporter for the Ku Klux Klan and the Confederate flag yells at opposing demonstrators during a rally at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina July 18, 2015.

    A supporter for the Ku Klux Klan and the Confederate flag yells at opposing demonstrators during a rally at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina July 18, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 March 2016

As the extremist and racist rhetoric of Donald Trump continues to propel him in the polls, here’s a sobering look at the KKK in the U.S.

There are a startling number of active Klu Klux Klan chapters across the United States, particularly in the south, which could help put hateful white supremacist attacks like the stabbing of demonstrators in Anaheim into context, although a civil rights group in the United States also expressed deep concern over the existence of close to 900 hate groups across the country.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 190 KKK groups in the U.S. as of 2015, which marks a stark increase from the previous year.

SPLC reports 190 KKK chapters in the U.S.

While the KKK dates back to the mid-1800s, the group has again been on the rise over the past two decades. The number of KKK chapters in recent history peaked in 2010 with 221 groups, but then dropped to less than half with 72 registered in 2014.

RELATED: Number of Extreme Anti-Government Militias Sharply Rising

Now it appears the extremist anti-immigrant and racist Klan is on the rise again, with the number of groups more than doubling between 2014 and 2015.

But it’s not just the KKK that’s spewing racist hate across the U.S. The SPLC documents a total of 892 hate groups across the country as of 2015, marking an increase of 14 percent in general and a 42 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate groups in particular compared to 2014.

SPLC reports 892 hate groups in the U.S.

The surge in hate groups may be due in part to racist and reactionary rhetoric that has dominated the Republican primary race, particularly epitomized in GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

RELATED: 4 Examples of Trump-Inspired Hate Crimes

The SPLC hasn’t gone as far to directly hold Trump responsible for fueling hate groups, but did say in a recent report that the billionaire's “demonizing statements about Latinos and Muslims have electrified the radical right.”

Trump faced controversy last week when he refused in an interview with CNN to disavow an endorsement from infamous KKK-linked David Duke. Trump later blamed his refusal to condemn Duke and the clan on a “bad earpiece.”

The SPLC estimates the KKK currently has between 5,000 and 8,000 members in its chapters across the country.


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