The KKK briefly ran the state of Indiana in the 1920s.
They – the mafia – corrupt business and politics – crooked cops and an over-mighty FBI have long cast a dark shadow over American life.
One of Edwards’ predecessors (and role model) Huey Long planned to challenge fellow-Democrat Franklin D Roosevelt for the White House in 1936 in cahoots with Father Charles Coughlin the fascist ‘radio priest’ and another dangerous man.
But Long was assassinated on the steps of the Louisiana state house in Baton Rouge in 1935.
A populist whose programme was called Share Our Wealth – Long attacked the rich and the power companies – taxed the oil companies – built up public services schools and hospitals – old-age pensions.
Long also got elected to the US Senate as an ally of FDR in championing the New Deal in response to the great crash of 1929 and subsequent depression.
Later he attacked Roosevelt from the left and built up his own programme and ambition.
Visionary demagogue – many loved the ‘Kingfisher’ who proclaimed ‘every man a king (but no one wears a crown)’.
Patronage – coercion – shady deals – they were all part of Long’s regime.
FDR feared him – many loved him – 200,000 turned out for his funeral – as they may for Edwards in due course.
He remains popular despite everything.
In similarly troubled times today it is not hard to see Trump unconsciously modelling himself on Long as an impatient can-do outsider.
Trump’s property developer father Fred – who left him his first millions – dabbled in the KKK politics of his era.
For all his talk of curbing immigration young Donald (who used to be a Democrat) used cheap illegal Polish migrant labour on the first Trump Tower project.