R.I.P.

Lyndon LaRouche, Cult Leader and Eight-Time Presidential Candidate, Dies at 96

Lyndon LaRouche, founder of the National Caucus of Labor Committees, a group known for its cult-like mentality and devotion to conspiracy theories, has died at the age of 96. LaRouche started his political career in the Socialist Workers Party, but moved increasingly to the right with every decade. In 2009, LaRouche commissioned an image of Barack Obama as Hitler. When asked about the image in a 2015 interview with the Daily Beast, LaRouche responded: “It would not be unfair to Hitler to compare Obama to Hitler.” While building his organization, LaRouche ran for president a total of eight times—once while serving time in prison for mail fraud.

He became known for claiming that Queen Elizabeth II was a drug trafficker, and that the International Monetary Fund created and spread the AIDS virus, among other outrageous conspiracy theories. In recent years, LaRouche operated from a heavily guarded compound. LaRouchians, as his followers were known, were a vocal minority, heckling and sometimes threatening opponents. LaRouche followers “made extraordinary inroads into American politics, surpassing the achievements of any other extremist movement in recent American history,” wrote Dennis King, a LaRouche expert, in his 1989 book, Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism.