The Democratic Party Was Not Always This Way
The story Democrats like to tell is that the civil rights era saw a realignment between the two parties. That was when the Democrats became the good guys.
As I’ve noted before, however, Democrats have for most of my life supported policies they now declare to be inhumane, immoral, and even prosecutable.
Let’s look at one of the people deservedly receiving much of their scorn. She is Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. Outlets have unearthed that she “pushed resolution praising Confederate soldier’s effort to ‘defend his homeland.’”
Additionally, she attended a private high school that was founded so that white parents could avoid school integration with black students. Perhaps that is no fault of hers, but she sent her own daughter to a school that was originally established for the same reason. (Both schools continue to be almost exclusively white.)
Additionally, at a public event, she said of her host:
If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row
She called any concern about this “ridiculous:
“In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”
Additionally, she’s said, also at a public event:
there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.
This again, she dismissed as one of her light-hearted hilarious jokes.
Where did this person with such heinous beliefs come from? The answer is the Democratic Party.
A lifelong Democrat, Hyde-Smith served as a state senator from 2000 to 2012. That resolution to praise a Confederate soldier? She was a Democrat when she sponsored it. The Democrat-controlled legislature passed it 52-0 in the Senate and 111-0 in the House.
For those of you who weren’t alive at the time, this may be surprising, but, yes, in 2007. Mississippi had a Democratic legislature.
After years of faithful service to the Democratic Party, Hyde-Smith switched to the Republican Party in 2010. It’s likely the only reason she still has a job.
This is also around when Donald Trump first showed his break with the Democratic Party. He put his considerable weight behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in 2008 and donated to her campaign.
But Clinton lost. He changed his registration to Republican in 2009, and he became the most effective spokesman for the birther movement that believed Barack Obama was not born in the United States. (He would have been a natural born citizen of the United States eligible to run for president anyway as his mother was American, but somehow birthers never seemed to mention that.)
2008 also marked a change for me. It was the first time in my lifetime that I realized that I preferred a Democratic presidential candidate to the Republican one. This trend was reflected in Asian votes broadly. During the Bush years, Asian support for Democrats was roughly flat. 2008 marked the start of Asian votes being captives of the Democratic Party.
Ultimately, I don’t think this is about Trump. It’s about Barack Obama completing the realignment Democrats like to pretend was over and done with in the 1960s. Mississippi isn’t going to have a Democratic legislature anytime soon. While she and Trump were happy to be Democrats until 2008 they are definitely not now.
As late as 2008 though, the Democratic Party was willing to accommodate them. The party brass’s preferred candidate, after she beat Obama in Indiana declared:
Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again.
For Democrats today, it’s now considered a laughable factual error to consider white Americans in Indiana to be more American than non-whites living on coasts, but it was Hilary Clinton’s actual message in 2008.
This wasn’t a clumsy one-off by Clinton. Rather, it follows directly from the strategy laid out by Mark Penn, Clinton’s chief strategist and pollster for the 2008 election. In his memo dated March 19, 2007, he said:
Lack of American Roots
All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared towards showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting that in a new light.
Save it for 2050.
It also exposes a very strong weakness for him — his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values. He told the people of NH yesterday he has a Kansas accent because his mother was from there. His mother lived in many states as far as we can tell — but this is an example of the nonsense he uses to cover this up.
How could we give some life to this contrast without turning negative:
Every speech should contain the line you were born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century. And talk about the basic bargain as about the deeply American values you grew up with, learned as a child and that drive you today. Values of fairness, compassion, responsibility, giving back.
Let’s explicitly own “American” in our programs, the speeches and the values. He doesn’t. Make this a new American Century, the American Strategic Energy fund. Let’s use our logo to make some flags we can give out. Let’s add flag symbols to the backgrounds.
We are never going to say anything about his background — we have to show the value of ours when it comes to making decisions, understanding the needs of most Americans —the invisible Americans.
Except for the part about not saying anything directly negative about Obama’s background, this is the modern Republican playbook.
Hawaii doesn’t really count as America. Obama is thus an American by technicality only. Penn could not imagine electing a someone “who is not at his center fundamentally in his thinking and in his values.” The basis for thinking Obama was not American in his thinking and values is that he was born in Hawaii and spent time in Indonesia. At least, that’s what the text says.
Clinton’s values of “fairness, compassion, responsibility, giving back” are not ones Obama could have thanks to his “lack of American roots.” American flags must go everywhere on our literature, not because we are particularly American but to ensure everyone is reminded that Obama is not.
“The invisible Americans” is a particularly interesting phrase he used. It’s these invisible Americans that the media has been trodding up and down the country trying to interview. They were the people given the cold shoulder by the Democratic Party in 2008 when it went with the Hawaiian guy.
They are invisible no longer though. They chose the Republican Party’s president.