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Map: more than half of states have an active KKK chapter

Former KKK leader David Duke, during a 1999 appearance on Meet the Press.
Former KKK leader David Duke, during a 1999 appearance on Meet the Press.
(Richard Ellis / Hulton Archive / Getty)

Donald Trump's initial refusal to repudiate former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke — followed by an unconvincing explanation for why he did so — was interpreted by some as a cynical play for racist votes ahead of Super Tuesday.

But for those who thought the KKK had more or less gone extinct, there's evidence that the white supremacist group is alive and well.

As Vox's Andrew Prokop reported in 2014, one analysis found 41 states have an active KKK chapter, and there are at least 160 chapters around the country, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Added up, the SPLC estimated that the KKK has between 5,000 and 8,000 members today.

Here's a map of the active KKK chapters in America in 2014:


(NewsOne, based on data from Southern Poverty Law Center)

The numbers have risen since then. The SPLC reported that there were 190 such groups in 2015 — an 18 percent increase. (Around three fewer states had chapters in 2015, despite the overall increase across the country.)

Of course, that doesn't make Trump's comments, if they were intentional, a sound electoral strategy. As New York magazine's Jonathan Chait writes, "The political logic of Trump’s evasiveness is bizarre. Yes, Republican voters respond to dog-whistle racism … But Republicans are overwhelmingly convinced of their own racial innocence. There is no reason to believe they wish to tolerate open association with the KKK."