I am still a learner here, so “Confederate flags and Nazi swastikas together? That’s new,” an article by a political science professor, was hugely illuminating. It explains how Southerners were more eager than most Americans to fight Nazis in the World War II era. A generation later, it was the nation’s most famous clansman, David Duke, who thought to cooperate with neo-Nazis in the 1970s.
And it it doesn’t take a professor to know that hanging around with Nazis is bad for the brand:
Many white Americans still view Confederate symbolism as standing for “heritage” rather than “hate.” That’s not true for Nazi symbols. While some whites might like the explicitly racist appeals made at the Unite the Right rally, the growing popular linkage between Nazi and Confederate symbols might backfire – and lead at least some observers to reevaluate what the Confederacy and what its monuments actually mean.
It’s possible recent events will roll back what I perceive to be a rise in Confederate identity. However, it is also possible the rally galvanized the would-be confederates as well as their opponents.