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White nationalists held a buffoonish rally in D.C. — but there's nothing funny about it

Twitter users had a field day dunking on Patriot Front's poorly planned rally in Washington, but the fact that it happened at all should be taken seriously.

On Saturday, more than 100 members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front marched through downtown Washington, D.C., in a demonstration meant to share their plan to “reclaim America.”

Patriot Front was previously known as “Vanguard America,” but its members attempted a rebrand after a man linked to the group murdered a counterprotester during 2017’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Despite being granted police escorts for its rally Saturday, the group seemed to come prepared for violence. A number of the members wore knee pads and brought shields with them. It was a scene reminiscent of a Ku Klux Klan rally. 

Video posted to Twitter on Saturday showed participants walking from the Lincoln Memorial toward the U.S. Capitol wearing matching outfits of khaki pants, dark blue jackets, baseball hats, sunglasses and gaiter masks covering their mouths and noses.

As night fell, news of the group’s poor logistical planning became comedy for Twitter users following along with the story. Several members of the group were reportedly stranded in the cold for hours because their rented U-Haul van couldn't transport everyone at once.

But comedic breaks aside, this group and this demonstration are not to be taken lightly. The rise of racist extremism in the United States is real. It's rearing itself everywhere from the halls of Congress to city streets. And just like their pointy-hatted forebears in the Klan, the danger Patriot Front and other white supremacist groups pose to humane American society isn’t lessened by how ridiculous they look. 

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