One thing I must admit: the Democrat Party in general and Congressional Democrats, in particular, are masters at the art of communication: not only giving Americans complete narratives on everything politically that happens, but doing so immediately and thoroughly. Republicans just do not get that communication job done well.
An appropriate and current example of GOP failures in this is the lack of coordinated promotion of the really good things that have happened during the first two years of the Trump presidency: across-the-board tax reductions for Americans, a tremendous increase in GDP, personal and corporate incomes saw dramatic improvements, reduction of caustic government regulations, marked improvement in trade deals, cancellation of NAFTA replaced by a new agreement between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. is much friendlier and fairer to the U.S. than was NAFTA, huge increases in federal revenue in spite of tax reductions, corporations bringing hundreds of billions of dollars back to the U.S. because of many of the above changes that resulted in major corporate expansions and the additional federal revenue, and the massive decrease in American unemployment with the number of Americans employed — including women and people of color — at the highest level in American history.
Gee: one would think Republicans would be shouting that information from every hilltop nonstop! But they haven’t. And the Republican Party paid a steep price for their neglect, losing control of the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, across the aisle Democrats have kept pushing on the accelerator, ramping up their rhetoric comprised of nonstop attacks on everything Donald Trump, disregarding the unmistakable and undeniable positive changes for Americans while promising to undo all of these improvements when they regain power! You would think that Americans when confronted with those Democrat promises, the nation would run fast and far from the Democrat Party. But Americans apparently turned deaf ears and blind eyes to the increases in their payroll deposits, in the value of their 401K’s and IRA’s, and knowing Trump policies made those happened. One would think because of those and other great economic changes, Americans would have kept those in office who made all that goodness happen — at least in the House of Representatives. But that did not happen.
Many are asking: If things are so much better, why would Americans put Democrats back in control of the House? “Perception is Reality.” What perception of reality are those Americans seeing? The one painted with that amazingly effective brush owned by the Democrat Party, AND the way they paint it.
Democrats seldom fracture in support of their party causes. Even with the heartbreaks of the 2016 election, Democrats somehow found a way to stay on their eternal message: Democrats care more for Americans, stand up for racial equality, economic equality, gender equality, clean air, more government assistance, against racism, bigotry, social injustices, homophobia, Islamaphobia, xenophobia, and all those Americans — mostly white and mostly conservative — who either embrace those negatives or simply find themselves the target of Democrats who are simply sustaining the Democrat Party mantra.
AND IT WORKS!
Leading the Pack
Amid all those isms and phobias Democrats have taken authority over, their leading cause and multi-decade calling card for their messaging is “Racism.” We are not going into a racism discussion today other than to simply illustrate just how effective Democrat Party messaging has been. (As an aside and in way of illustration, please note how fragmented and disillusioned did the Democrat Party appear immediately after the HRC presidential loss to Trump. As recently as 60 days ago, every political talk show was still pointing to the imminent death of their party that would last decades for lack of unity, party platform, a cohesive and binding message on which to campaign during the midterms, and there was NO party leadership. Yet they won.)
Surprising to many was the reappearance of that time-worn fundamental of 20th-century Democrats that has served their party well. They returned to what they have used so effectively through generations that many have used to rally a beaten football team or to invigorate a war-torn army: the basic tenets of who those beaten really are. For the midterms, Democrats went back to their roots, tweaked their message a bit, and rammed their values down the throats of unassuming and disoriented American voters: Identity Politics. Leading the pack of all the labels of Identity Politics was their always uniting cry: Racist.
Democrat messaging is fundamental again. Here it is: if you’re not an all-in Democrat, but are a conservative, libertarian, or an Independent, you ARE a racist. It matters not today if you are black. It’s wrong to be JUST black. You must own all the elements of Democrats’ Identity Politics and outwardly show them to all, or your scarlet letter is NOT just the letter “A,” it’s the word “Racist.” THEY and only they determine the criteria for labeling racists, who wears the label, and the timing for revealing the label. With their pummeling in 2016, they went quietly back to the war of Identity Politics, and immediately, every conservative became a racist.
But I’m here today to call them out: Democrats did not invent racism, but they perfected it as a Party. And they have weaponized the word “Racist” and its use.
Just Because you say I am Doesn’t Mean I am
Democrats claim that they have always supported equal rights for black Americans and that Republicans are racists who always oppose them. Both claims are flat out lies. From its founding in 1854, the Republican Party led the fight to end slavery and then eradicate the racist Jim Crow system that held blacks down right up to securing the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Democrats opposed the Republicans at every turn. So, let’s take an honest look at the history of civil rights in America.
On the legislative level, congressional Republicans proposed, and Democrats opposed, a series of Reconstruction-era laws intended to elevate blacks, in particular, to force Southern states to enforce the Constitutional amendments extending full civil rights and voting rights to blacks. These included the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Reconstruction Act of 1867, the Enforcement Act of 1870, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
In fact, Democrats consistently opposed legislative efforts to confer voting rights and other civil rights on blacks, including the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, and even the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.
Here are the facts:
- April 8, 1864
The 13th Amendment banning slavery passed the U.S. Senate 38 to 6, with 100% Republican support amid Democratic opposition.
- January 31, 1865
The 13th Amendment banning slavery passed the U.S. House by a vote of 119 to 56 (with 8 abstentions), with all 103 Republicans voting yes, along with 16 Democrats. Republican President Abraham Lincoln signed it, sent it on to the states, with final ratification on Dec. 18, 1865.
- March 27, 1866
Democrat President Andrew Johnson vetoed a bill granting citizenship to blacks.
- June 8, 1866
The U.S. Senate passed the Republicans’ 14th Amendment guaranteeing due process and equal protection of the law to all citizens. Nearly all Republicans voted yes and 100% of Democrats voted no.
- June 13, 1866
The U.S. House passed the U.S. Senate’s version of the Republican-sponsored 14th Amendment by a vote of 120 to 32. All Republicans voted yes.
- January 10, 1878
U.S. Senator Aaron Sargent (R-CA) introduced the Susan B. Anthony amendment for women’s suffrage. The Democrat-controlled Senate defeated it repeatedly before the election of a Republican House and Senate that guaranteed its approval in 1919.
- February 8, 1894
The Democrat Congress and Democrat President Grover Cleveland joined to repeal the Republicans’ Enforcement Act, which had enabled blacks to vote.
- May 6, 1960
Republican President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1960, expanding protections for blacks in voting. In the House, the measure was approved by 89% of Republicans and 52% of Democrats. After a Democrat filibuster, the Senate approved it 71-18. No Republicans opposed. All 18 “no” votes were from Democrats.
A History of Shame
The Democratic Party’s militant arm following the Civil War was the Ku Klux Klan, of which prominent Democratic West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd was a high official, as was Hugo Black, a Democrat who became a U.S. Supreme Court justice. For 88 years, Democrats in the South enforced a vicious Jim Crow system of outright discrimination against blacks, particularly measures aimed at preventing them from voting. They opposed Republican-sponsored civil rights legislation at the state and federal levels.
In 1964, a Republican U.S. Senate majority introduced and passed the Civil Rights Act despite a filibuster by Democratic senators. Similarly, Republicans led the fight for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, when 94 % of GOP lawmakers in the House voted for it, while 27% of Democrat House members opposed it.
Today, Democrats would like us to forget that they were the party of Jim Crow, the Klan, and racists such as Woodrow Wilson, the globally-thinking progressive who, upon taking office as president, promptly segregated the U.S. Civil Service and instituted policies designed to discriminate against blacks and other minorities. Democrats defended tooth and nail, a plantation-style racial spoils system right up to 1964, and then converted it into a federal version, with welfare policies that destroyed the black family and institutionalized dependence on government. To this day, the party promotes destructive, addictive welfare policies that keep its constituents dependent.
No one is born a racist. That is a learned character trait. We’ve written extensively here about Racism and its horrors through human history. Racism and racists are not peculiar to the United States, the South, or any other region of this country or any other. It is a developed trait that societies and groups take ownership of. And it will exist through our future as long as human nature is human nature: which means it exists permanently.
There has never been, is not now, nor ever will be a utopian society that is racially blind as a country or people. That does NOT mean, however, that people cannot find ways to disallow racism from devouring their culture or society. Just as racism is learned, so can and should be its antonym: inclusion.
The inclusion of any kind that puts people together with people who are different from them — and those differences being “accepted”– destroys racism. In small part, in many small ways, we all do it every day: in our jobs, in our neighborhoods, in our social circles, and most of the time in our churches. How can such inclusion be possible? It happens only when people CHOOSE to do it.
Racism happens when people who have chosen to be racists reject the inclusion of others who are different in their lives. Racism happens when those who embrace the politics of Identity selectivity choose winners and losers — winners are included and losers are excluded — from their life circles. Racism happens when the attitude of entitlement is given to someone who has been allowed to possess a position of identity authority over another. And racists are those who unilaterally — or through some joint racist associates — force that identity authority on others.
When will racism that is the result of political identity end? I am sad to say, but I doubt it ever will. But I hold hope that we can water it down over time, and in doing so, cripple its effects on our generation, the next generation and beyond.
The only way to do so is to start at OUR home, in OUR family, in OUR circle of influence with OUR friends and extended family members, and with OUR fellow employees.
Today’s Democrats have used Identity Politics effectively for decades and have quickly reclaimed a significant piece of it today. But, as always, the only way anyone can use it is if/when others allow its effectiveness to control all or parts of THEIR lives.
You wanna’ stop it? Tell the next person that YOU know and YOU hear racially label you or someone you know, exert control over another because of race or ethnic differences, to STOP! CALL THEM OUT! Embarrass them in front of their peers, and let them respond.
Most Americans care dearly for the respect and comradery of others. Most Americans do not want to be alone. To that end, most Americans when exposed to the truth — the REAL truth and not a political narrative or political perspective with no foundation in fact — will do an about-face.
Try it — give them a chance!
It’s worked before. And it’ll probably work again.
Thanks to my college roommate, Jim, for his contribution to this story. For a more extensive, documented history of the Democratic Party’s historic opposition to civil rights for blacks, see The Truth about Jim Crow at: https://www.theacru.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ACRU-the-truth-about-jim-crow_v2.pdf