Hate crimes have doubled since Trump entered politics – with a new surge expected: study
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

A new report shows an "unmistakable pattern" of hate crimes reported during presidential election seasons.

FBI data going back to 2008 reveals an increase in crimes targeting racial groups around general elections, according to the report by the civil rights group Leadership Conference Education Fund. Those attacks have spiked more than 80 percent since 2015, reported USA Today.

"What it shows is an extremely disturbing and sadly not so surprising trend," said fund CEO Maya Wiley.

Most hate crimes are targeted against Black people, but religious groups such as Jews and Muslims are frequently hit, as are LGBTQ people. The crimes shot up with the election of Barack Obama -- the nation's first Black president -- in 2008 and have nearly doubled since Donald Trump entered politics in 2015.

"We should assume that unless we're acting now, that we're going to see another increase in hate crimes in the 2024 election cycle," Wiley said.

Not all hate crimes -- which can include acts of violence or threats of violence -- are carried out by white supremacists, but the report shows those groups have been particularly active during the past four presidential election cycles.

"We do see a difference when leaders speak out, we do see a difference when we support communities coming together and getting to know each other," Wiley said. "We can do that in advance of the election cycle, so that we can try to change this devastating, historic trend."