Remember this was at the tail end of the Duke phenomenon; nearly a decade since he'd been elected to anything. Duke had since receded somewhat into the fringes from which he'd emerged in the early 90s when he was allowed to sublty re-brand himself as a mainstream conservative running on an anti-welfare platform.
(The local media gave him a wide berth in this regard at the time. Basically the whole thing is more or less their fault... but I digress.)
The reason he was able to do this somewhat successfully is that the Duke message; "dark skinned poors are taking your moneys thanks to that danged gubmint" is really no different from what the GOP is selling anyway. The height of Duke's political career, coinciding as it did with the height of the recession of the early 90s, was the result of perfect timing. Duke was just the right messenger to ride a tide of especially potent white resentment. By the late 90s, that particular wave had subsided to some degree. Duke had given up trying to hide his Klan ties so much and was fading into relative obscurity.
But not total irrelevance. Duke's "base" still existed. It's still very much there today. It just didn't need him so much anymore. It had more.. polished vectors through which to express itself who didn't carry so much baggage.
And that, is precisely what those vectors were saying in this article.
“I honestly think his 15 minutes of fame have come and gone,” said state Rep. David Vitter (R), a wealthy Metairie attorney who holds Duke’s old seat in the state House and is “seriously considering” a Congressional bid. “When he’s competed in a field with real conservatives, real Republicans, Duke has not done well at all.”
Another potential candidate, state Rep. Steve Scalise (R), said he embraces many of the same “conservative” views as Duke, but is far more viable.
“The novelty of David Duke has worn off,” said Scalise. “The voters in this district are smart enough to realize that they need to get behind someone who not only believes in the issues they care about, but also can get elected. Duke has proven that he can’t get elected, and that’s the first and most important thing.”
David Vitter and Steve Scalise were saying to Duke voters, "Hey we get it. We're on your side. We believe in the issues you care about," but they also want people to know they don't need a "novelty" candidate like Duke to deliver on those issues for them. The upheaval was over. The professionals were back in charge. It was time to put down the pitchforks and let the men who are in The Club attend to matters.
Today, we're starting to worry again about new upheavals from the left and from the right. It's hard to find room for another Duke on the horizon, though. The Republicans seem to have lurched far enough to the right to crowd such insurgencies out. But, no matter, the men of The Club are going to take up for other Club men whenever someone fires a shot from outside of the walls regardless of what Club team they're playing for.
"I'm not going to let them use Steve as a scapegoat to score political points when I know him and know his family." @RepRichmond on Scalise
— Julia O'Donoghue (@JSODonoghue) December 30, 2014
It's OK. This one has been vouched for.