Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Last week, Hillary spoke at a dinner named after two slave owners. The slave owners, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, not only owned over 760 slaves between them, but they remain the key figures in the founding mythology of the Democratic Party.
At the event, Hillary Clinton blasted the Republicans as the “party of the past”, but it’s really Hillary and the Democratic Party that are showing their age.
Obama recently spared Andrew Jackson, the Democratic Party’s first president, from being cut from the twenty, instead throwing Hamilton on the ten to the social justice wolves. It’s historically appropriate that the party often accused of plantation politics was founded by an actual plantation owner. The Democratic Party acts like it owns black people and its founder literally did own black people.
Like the future utopias of Communism, the agrarian utopias of the American left were built on slavery.
Jackson ordered that one of his female slaves receive fifty lashes for being disobedient. He placed an advertisement for a runaway slave offering “ten dollars extra, for every hundred lashes any person will give him, to the amount of three hundred.”
Thomas Jefferson used child slaves as young as ten to manufacture nails. Those children who did not work hard enough were whipped.
Democrats today like to pretend that they were on the “right side” of the Civil War. The current hysteria over the Confederate flag is a pathetic attempt by the party of slavery and segregation to dump its own history on the Republicans who actually ended slavery and fought segregation.
The flag at issue was designed by William Porcher Miles, a Democratic congressman. Miles also appeared to have coined the motto of the Democratic Party, “Vote early, vote often.”
That motto does a lot to explain the strange racist history of the Democratic Party.
If the Democrats want to get rid of the Confederate flag, they should also get rid of their own symbol. The donkey symbol of the Democratic Party became popularized in cartoons after the Civil War aimed at treasonous “Copperhead” Democrats who had stirred up race riots in order to sabotage the war effort.
The Democratic donkey is the symbol that was attached to the party during its worst days and is associated with its corruption and treason.
While it’s tempting to pretend that the Democratic Party of slavery had nothing to do with the same party of today, that’s a convenient myth.
The Democratic Party platform of 1856 denounced opposition to immigration in the name of “the liberal principles… which makes ours the land of liberty and the asylum of the oppressed of every nation…“ which “have ever been cardinal principles in the Democratic faith”.
After that the platform reverted to a fierce defense of slavery and a vow that, “The Democratic party will resist all attempts at renewing, in Congress or out of it, the agitation of the slavery question.”
Why did the Democratic Party demand equal rights for immigrants, but not black slaves? Due to the three-fifths compromise, they already had the black vote “all locked up”. Literally. The Democrats enjoyed unearned seats in Congress based on a population that for the most part could not vote.
Meanwhile the Democrats then and in the party’s earlier manifestations had used Occupy Wall Street style rhetoric to fight for power in unfriendly Northern states by adding as many voters to the rolls as they could. Chase Bank actually originated in a scam of that sort by Aaron Burr back in New York. By the 19th century, their party machines were illegally enfranchising immigrants on a massive scale.
Jackson and others had presented the alternative to slavery as a 1 percent tyranny of big Wall Street banks. The entire Occupy Wall Street narrative dates back to the left’s attempt to preserve its monopoly on the black vote through slavery while building a utopian agrarian society immune from economics.
And not that much has changed.
The plantations are big blocks of urban housing. The left is less interested in agrarian utopias (though the theme recurs in recent times from hippie communes to locally grown agriculture today) but still exploits a monopoly on the black vote as leverage for fanatically pursuing its utopian experiments.
The Democrats have switched states, but they haven’t switched states of mind.
The Democratic Party’s history is an endless parade of bigotry and treason. The 1860 Democratic platform continued to campaign for immigrant rights and slavery. The 1864 platform denounced the Civil War and called for negotiations with the Confederacy. The 1868 platform denounced "negro supremacy". Then the Democrats spent the next fifty years obsessed with Asians.
The 1876 platform warned of an invasion of Asians, “unaccustomed to the traditions of a progressive civilization” and called for “legislation” to “prevent further importation or immigration of the Mongolian race.” The 1880 platform called for “No more Chinese immigration”. The 1884 platform "reaffirmed the liberal principles embodied by Jefferson" and demanded an end to "the admission of servile races."
The 1884 platform stated that, "American civilization demands that against the immigration or importation of Mongolians to these shores our gates be closed."
The 1892 platform denounced voting rights for black people as a Republican effort at the “reviving of race antagonisms” and demanded “the rigid enforcement of the laws against Chinese immigration”. The 1900 platform called for the “strict enforcement of the Chinese exclusion law, and its application to the same classes of all Asiatic races.” By that they meant the Japanese.
In 1904, the Democrats gave the Chinese a break and attacked the Mormons. The Mormons had been Democrats, but they were turning Republican. But by 1908, the Democrats were back to beating up on the Chinese, warning of “Asiatic immigrants who can not be amalgamated with our population” and whose “presence among us would raise a race issue.”
And yet this was the same Democratic platform filled with familiar liberal agendas like attacking corporate contributions to Republicans, calling for an income tax, labor rights, a national public health agency, popular election of senators, the conservation of natural resources and opposing imperialism.
The Democrats and Republicans did not mysteriously switch sides, as liberals like to believe. The Democrats stood for most of the same things they stand now. As they defined it, “The Democratic party is the champion of equal rights and opportunities to all; the Republican party is the party of privilege”.
It’s the same argument that Obama and Hillary are making today.
In 1924, the Democratic platform asserted an even more modern self-conception. “The republican party is concerned chiefly with material things; the democratic party is concerned chiefly with human rights.” The Democrats were going to fight against “discriminating laws” and also “Asiatic immigration.”
Why did the Democrats spend fifty years denouncing Asians? As always the answer is votes.
Playing the class warfare game had put the Democrats in the strange position of supporting immigration in the East as a boon to their political machines and opposing it in the West as a tool of big business. In practical politics, the Civil War had allowed Republicans to “unlock” a black vote formerly controlled by Democrats. It didn’t lead to much in the South, but in the North, blacks were seen as a Republican constituency, while Germans, Irish and Russian Jews were seen as Democratic constituencies.
The Democrats viewed Asians as a potential Republican constituency. In California, the pro-Asian Republican Senator Conness was forced out by the Democratic Party’s Senator Casserly who had delivered a speech titled “The Chinese Evil” which warned that California would be “scourged” by the “Asiatic hordes.” By California, Casserly really meant the Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party’s racism was a cynical thing. While Democrats denounced the “Chinese evil”, they advocated statehood for Puerto Rico because they expected them to vote Democrat. They supported segregation until they saw another option for exploiting black votes. A century later the party that had stirred up race riots by immigrants against blacks was now stirring up black race riots against the children and grandchildren of those immigrants.
Even the Democratic Party’s treasonous position during the Civil War was an attempt at settling the issue on terms that would once again lock in a Democratic majority. Slavery then and constant cries of racism today served the same purpose of protecting the power and patronage of Democrats.
The Obama years are an extension of cynical racism by a party that does its best work pitting groups against each other. The conflicts of identity politics and class warfare follow the old pattern of trying to undermine Republicans while manufacturing Democratic majorities that free the party to pursue its ideological obsessions with creating utopias. The Democrats have been willing to see the country burn to protect their pathway to utopia. And during the Civil War and the seventies, it really did burn.
Now it’s burning all over again.