Other bits of history -
1) Klansmen were mostly Democrats, with Republicans mostly being the abolitionists against slavery.
2) the events around the (Virgil & Wyatt) Earp's Cochise County battles with Clanton gang (aka "Cowboys" because many of the 200-300 Cowboys were rustlers) was highly political, the Earp's being Republicans and the Clanton gang former Confederate Democrats. Some were Klansmen.
3) the 1924 Democrat Presidential Convention in New York City was known as the Klanbake because of the large number of Klan delegates. There was huge Klan parade associated with it.
4) in 1928 there were 4,000,000 Klansmen in the US, and in Sept. of that year ~50,000 marched on Washington DC.
5) One prominent Klansman was Hugo Black, later appointed to the US Supreme Court by President Franklin Roosevelt. He served until 1971.
Others who were at one time Klan members -
Pres. Harry S. Truman (D-MO) (1945-1953)
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va). Served until 2010.
1928 KKK DC parade
This is all true. I don't think the parties matter. They have switched many times. Democrats took knives and guns to congress to defend slavery. The parties have splintered several times. It can be traced, but no point. It's the people. Racism and hatred do not come from a party or affiliation, which is why the parties have split several times. Clearly today's republican party is not the same as Lincolns.
Really as it relates to this, the only parties that mattered were Union and Confederate. Many Union soldiers didn't really care for blacks. But they knew right from wrong.
And that's what it's all about, right vs. wrong. After we revisit America's history, which does help explain why society is the way it is today, we have to visit individuals. Regardless of how much more difficult things may be for minorities based on our history, it's clearly better and opportunity is present, there is no excuse for some of the "wrong" behavior from African Americans. Slaves had much more fortitude and backbone that say, today's punk ass gang bangers victimizing and poisoning their own neighborhoods.
Of course, it's meaningless to discuss these things here. Unfortunately, there is no "leader." We've become a melting pot of damaged people. If the Human Race lives long enough, race will not matter one day. But that's a long way away.
Edit: One note to keep this from becoming about race, it's actually about hatred. It was white Americans who fought to destroy the Klan at the height of its power. Many were killed and they endangered their lives and families. They had prominent and political positions and still did the right thing. Racism is just one of many vehicles for hatred.