As Election 2012 Nears, Hate Groups at Record High

For the third year in a row, the American radical right expands dramatically, led by the antigovernment 'Patriot' movement.

By Jorge Rivas Mar 08, 2012

The American radical right grew "explosively" in 2011 according to a report issued Thursday by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The rise of hate groups is believed to be fueled by antagonism toward President Obama, resentment toward changing racial demographics and the slumped economy. "The dramatic expansion of the radical right is the result of our country’s changing racial demographics, the increased pace of globalization, and our economic woes," Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and editor of the new report, said in a statement. "For many extremists, President Obama is the new symbol of all that’s wrong with the country – the Kenyan president, the secret Muslim who is causing our country’s decline," Potok said. "The election season’s overheated political rhetoric is adding fuel to the fire. The more polarized the political scene, the more people at the extremes," Potok went on to say.