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Democrats who advanced a bill in June to remove statues of white supremacists from the U.S. Capitol ignored a central fact about those figures: All of them had been icons of their party, from Andrew Jackson’s adamantly pro-slavery vice president, John C. Calhoun, to North Carolina Gov. Charles B. Aycock, an architect of the white-supremacist campaign of 1898 that ushered in the era of Jim Crow.
At a time when governments, sports teams, schools and other bastions of American society are rushing to expunge legacies of slavery or racism, this was another instance of the Democratic Party’s failure to acknowledge that it did more than any other institution in American life to preserve the “peculiar institution” — and later enforce Jim Crow-style apartheid in the Old South.
“I think it’s absolutely fair to criticize the history of the Democrat Party when we’re literally changing the names of birds because they’re named after racists,” said Jarrett Stepman, author of “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past,” referring to a new racism-cleansing push in, yes, ornithology.
Democrats’ circumspection in the face of this trend is especially noteworthy because it comes at a time when they are criticizing Republican legislation to block the teaching of critical race theory on the ground that the GOP wants to whitewash American history. But one of the most noteworthy efforts to reframe American history in terms of race, the New York Times’ 1619 Project, virtually ignores the Democrat Party’s role in advancing and sustaining racism in the United States.
Named after the year slaves from Africa were first brought to North America, the curated collection of essays on race in America presents even the most complex modern issues – from obesity and traffic jams to capitalism itself – as being primarily a consequence of America’s history of slavery and racial injustice. The 1619 Project has been widely adopted as an historical framework on the left despite criticism from eminent historians, being repudiated by the 1619 Project’s own fact-checkers, and mangling basic facts.
Yet, in the essay texts, the Democratic Party is named only three times, in passing. The Republican Party, the political entity formed to fight slavery, also receives little mention. But when the GOP is mentioned, it is excoriated as the 21st century heir to 19th century racist ideology.
For critics of the 1619 Project, the virtual omission of any discussion of the Democratic Party is not only galling but revealing. In their view, the goal of the 1619 Project is neither historical nor educational – it’s thoroughly political. “[1619 Project editor] Nikole Hannah-Jones has been explicit about saying that the point of her essay and the point of the 1619 Project more broadly is to get a reparations bill passed. So that’s a partisan objective,” says Lucas Morel, a professor at Washington and Lee University who has authored books on Abraham Lincoln and Ralph Ellison. Hannah-Jones did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Jake Silverstein, the editor of the Times Sunday magazine, where the essays originally appeared.
Peter Wood, head of the National Association of Scholars and author of “1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project,” agrees that politics is a likely explanation for the 1619 Project’s significant analytical failing.
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“If you’re going to be leveraging this project in order to persuade Congress to pass legislation that would entail spending many billions of dollars giving money to the descendants of former slaves, then you need to court favor with the political party that is most likely to advance that agenda,” he says. “At least from Nikole Hannah-Jones’ perspective, I would think that the careful avoidance of casting shade on the Democratic Party fits with her longer-term agenda of extracting wealth from the American people and transferring it to a subset of American people who can prove they are descendants from slaves.”
Historians also note that applying the 1619 Project’s standards for evaluating historical racism could prove especially awkward for Democrats. “I think the history of the Democratic Party is even more problematic than anyone suggests, and the time period of its ‘criminality’ is very long indeed,” says historian Jay Cost, author of several books including “Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic” and a forthcoming biography of James Madison.
It would be difficult to overstate the Democratic Party’s enduring and baleful role in slavery and racism. Its origins in the 1820s are closely aligned with Martin Van Buren, Jackson’s second vice president and later president himself. Van Buren was a New York power broker whose efforts supporting slavery, partly in the name of preserving the union, earned him the moniker “a northern man with southern principles.”
The Democratic southern states, such as Georgia, specifically criticized the anti-slavery policies of President Lincoln’s Republican Party in their declarations of succession in the Civil War. Even after the war, Cost notes, the Democratic Party’s “central purpose in the second half of the 19th century was specifically to prevent civil rights legislation from being implemented.”
In response to black Republicans being elected in Southern states during Reconstruction, it was Democrats who enacted poll taxes and literacy tests to suppress the black vote. A Democratic president, Woodrow Wilson, resegregated the federal work force in Washington and hosted a White House screening of D.W. Griffith’s egregiously racist, white supremacist “Birth of a Nation.” As late as 1952, the running mate of Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, John Sparkman, was an open segregationist. A significantly higher percentage of congressional Republicans voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act than did congressional Democrats, and segregationists such as George Wallace were major figures in the Democratic Party until the 1970s.
Even during President Obama’s tenure, Robert Byrd, a former Exalted Cyclops of his local KKK chapter, was one of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate.
The absence of Democratic Party critiques is all the more conspicuous when you consider that the 1619 Project doesn’t shy away from critiquing the GOP. New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie’s contribution to the 1619 Project begins by purporting to explain the “strain of reactionary extremism that has taken over the Republican Party.” Bouie traces this “reactionary extremism” directly back to John C. Calhoun, who famously argued that slavery was a “positive good.” Morel has written at length about his puzzlement over how Bouie can determine historical culpability for the Republican Party:
Remarkably, Bouie manages to explain reactionary politics in the South, from secession over Abraham Lincoln becoming President to “solid blocs of Southern lawmakers” and “reactionary white leaders” resisting federal regulation of their region up until the 1965 Voting Rights Act, all without mentioning it was the Democratic Party in control of those southern states. Bouie thinks that Republicans today are somehow the heirs of an institution that owes its defense and longevity in American history almost entirely to the historical Democratic Party.
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He argues that “a homegrown ideology of reaction in the United States, inextricably tied to our system of slavery,” has outlived some but not all of its racist origins and concludes that today’s Republican opposition to Democratic policies “are clearly downstream of a style of extreme political combat that came to fruition in the defense of human bondage.”
Morel observes this is a dubious argument, either as a matter of journalism or history, and “any objective reader, I don’t care what your political party is, would have to conclude it is a hit piece on the modern Republican Party.” Bouie did not respond to a request for comment.
What Morel finds most alarming is that the Pulitzer Center, co-sponsor of “1619,” immediately turned the project into K-12 course materials now in use in thousands of classrooms. The study guide that accompanies Bouie’s essay asks students to answer the question: “According to the author, how do 19th century U.S. political movements aimed at maintaining the right to enslave people manifest in contemporary political parties?”
In a courtroom, that would be called leading the witness. Students given this curriculum are going to be expected to give only one correct answer, though that answer is more a matter of indoctrination than education. “Bouie identifies only one contemporary political party as the heir of 19th-century racist politics — namely, the Republican Party,” Morel writes. “By omitting the reactionary politics of the historical Democratic Party — for example, the ‘Massive Resistance’ to school desegregation in the 1950s — the only evidence presented in the essay implicates the Republican Party.”
An honest accounting would acknowledge that contemporary racial issues have a complicated history that implicates both major parties. The problem, illustrated by the 1619 Project, is that the media and other increasingly left-leaning institutions are invested in historical narratives that help achieve specific political ends.
Peter Wood suggests that the New York Times itself seems to have used the 1619 Project as part of the paper’s broader agenda to affect the outcome of the 2020 election. While the Times committed to doing the 1619 Project in January of 2019, Wood observes that “the hope of energizing the Democratic electorate to oppose Trump in the 2020 election” was one of the animating reasons the Times featured and promoted the 1619 Project so prominently.
To that end, Wood notes the timing of the 1619 Project’s publication in August of 2019 came just one month after “the failure of the Mueller investigation to deliver the results that the Times eagerly anticipated (the 1619 Project was intended as part of what New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet called a ‘pivot,’ from Trump as Russian collusionist to Trump as the face of white supremacy).”
“It’s almost like history is being used as like a vast oppo research thing to make things that they don’t like in the present look bad,” says Stepman. “I think it really comes down to power.” The Times is hardly alone in distorting history. USA Today ran an article last year headlined: “Fact check: Democratic Party did not found the KKK, did not start the Civil War.”
“I was honestly quite amused reading through the USA Today ‘fact check’ last year saying that the Democrats weren’t really the party of slavery and the KKK,” says Stepman. “They came up with all these various caveats – ‘Well, you know, it wasn’t all Democrats; it was only most Democrats in the South.’ I’m thinking, if this was literally any other institution, if this was the name of a street, or if this was a statue, it would have been immediately canceled. It might have even been ripe for being torn down by a mob.”
To the contrary, USA Today is now one of Facebook’s official fact-checking partners. After the right-leaning Media Research Center published an article critical of USA Today’s fact check absolving the Democratic Party of its ugly legacy, Facebook started censoring the MRC.
One can recognize that the Democratic Party is conscious of its problematic past — for example, many of its organizations have renamed Jefferson-Jackson Day fundraising dinners to avoid any racist taint – and yet still see why it’s problematic to whitewash its racist history.
“[Nikole Hannah-Jones] produced a partisan polemic and left out anything in the historical record that wouldn’t help her make the case. They’re trying to shape how people think about our past so that what happens going forward will of course follow a particular liberal agenda,” Stepman says. “This is a travesty of history and the fact that it’s being taught in high schools is rank partisanship. Believe me, I would rather be doing other things than correcting her errors, but the fact that her errors are being printed as gospel and sold as gospel, that’s a problem. It’s a problem for civic education, and it’s a problem for our cohesion and our unity as a nation.”
Image via Rolling Stone. Article cross-posted from Real Clear Investigations.
American Patriots Uniting to Fight Tyranny from, Well, Everywhere
We’re building a new conservative news network. Based on responses from fellow patriots, we’re heading in the right direction.
It may be hard to believe based on what we’re seeing around the nation today, but there are many reasons to be hopeful. First and foremost, the false narrative that most of America hates traditional values or the foundations of our nation are finally being proven false. Despite the best efforts of globalists and Neo-Marxists, patriotic Americans are starting to unify in droves. Meanwhile, Joe Biden can barely muster a half-filled auditorium to deliver his message to the scant few watching CNN and the paid shills in the “crowd.”
The “silent majority” that drove Donald Trump to victory in 2016 and 2020 (yes, he won by a landslide but was robbed along with the American people) is finally starting to realize we cannot stay silent any longer. We used to win with our votes, but those are being stolen. We used to win with truth, but the radical left and their agents in mainstream media, Big Tech, and academia are building a post-truth society to drown out reality. Today, we are waking up to the realization that only through direct action and fearlessly spreading the truth can we overcome the nefarious forces working against us.
We are proud to be working our way up to the tip of the conservative media spear. Our network is growing. We’re establishing strong partnerships with like-minded news outlets and courageous journalists. Even as Big Tech suppresses us, the honest messages they’re trying to quash are finding their way to the eyes and ears of patriots across the nation. With the help of new content partners like The Epoch Times and The Liberty Daily, we’re starting to see a real impact.
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Our network is currently comprised of nine sites:
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Some of our content is spread across all of these sites. Other pieces of content are unique. We write most of what we post but we also draw from those willing to allow us to share their quality articles, videos, and podcasts. We collect the best content from fellow conservative sites that give us permission to republish them. We’re not ego-driven; I’d much rather post a properly attributed story written by experts like Dr. Joseph Mercola or Natural News than rewrite it like so many outlets like to do. We’re not here to take credit. We’re here to spread the truth.
The slow and steady reopening of America is revealing there was a lot more economic hardship brought about from the Covd-19 lockdowns than most realize. While we continue to hope advertising dollars on the sites go up, it’s simply not enough to do things the right way. We are currently experiencing a gap between revenue and expenses that cannot be overcome by click-ads and MyPillow promos alone (promo code “NOQ” by the way).
To overcome our revenue gap and keep these sites running, our needs fluctuate between $2200-$7800 per month. May, 2021, for example, was amazing and we almost broke even. June, revenue was sluggish at best and we had to make up a big difference out of our pockets. But we’re not just trying to get out of the red. If and when we start getting enough contributions to expand, we will do just that. Very few get into journalism to try to get rich and we’re definitely not among those who do. Our success is driven by spreading the truth, profitable or not.
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Yes, We Need Your Help
I hate being “that guy” who asks people to donate because I think our conservative news network is so crucial, but here I am…
When I left my cushy corporate job in 2017, I did so knowing that my family would have to make sacrifices. But I couldn’t continue to watch the nation slip into oblivion and was inspired by President Trump’s willingness to fight the good fight even at his own personal expense. What I didn’t realize then is that conservative media would be so heavily attacked, canceled, and defunded that the sacrifices would be extreme.
Many in this nation are struggling right now even though we weren’t struggling just a few years ago. I’m not alone. But I wake up every morning and operate the sites we’ve been able to build because there’s really no other choice. I refuse to be beholden to Big Tech like so many other conservative news outlets, which is why you won’t see Google ads here. With that said, it’s often challenging to pay the bills and it’s even harder to expand so we can get the America First message out to a wider audience.
The economic downturn has forced me to make a plea for help. Between cancel culture, lockdowns, and diminishing ad revenue, we need financial assistance in order to continue to spread the truth. We ask all who have the means, please donate through our new GiveSendGo. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to expand our reach so the truth can get to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
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I would even be willing to entertain investments and partnerships at this stage. I’ve turned them down in the past because editorial purity is extremely important. I’ll turn them down again if anyone wants us to start supporting RINOs or avoid “taboo” topics like voter fraud, vaccines, or transgender supremacy. But I’d talk to fellow America First patriots who want to help any (or all) of our 10 news sites. Hit me up at jdrucker (at) substack (dot) com if you’re interested.
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Like I commented to carious sites and govt. Officials when the lunacy of reparations came up last year,this is Divide and Conquer/foment racewars,Not Reparations.If justice were Truly being sought,ALL WHITE AND BLACK AND ALL OTHER INVADERS ONTO NATIVE AMERICAN LAND WOULD NEED TO GET OFF MY LAWN,PAY A TOLL,OR BUY A FREEPASS TO BE HERE.GOVT.WOULD HAVE TO RETURN THE GOLD,SILVER,COPPER,RARE EARTHS,PLATINUM,AND LAND STOLEN FROM MY TRIBE AND OTHERS.Where are my reparations as a human with Cherokee ancestors,provable,traceable,named Breedlove for one surname????Our tribe was one of the civilized,egalitarian tribes.Cherokees precede the Eyropeans,Mexicans,Asians,and Africans/islanders.