Is Hillary really a Rockefeller Republican?

Presidential elections in the USA (1/4)The long way to the racist party

It is a sad joke in world history that of all people Abraham Lincoln's party has now put up a presidential candidate who openly preaches hatred against Mexicans and Muslims. In fact, the Republicans are betraying a great legacy. The Republicans were the anti-slavery party in the 19th century; the Democrats, on the other hand, were the party of the vested interests, the status quo and racism.

The Ku Klux Klan was actually the armed arm of the Democratic Party. The abolition of slavery (13th Amendment) and the granting of full civil rights to all born in the country, regardless of skin color (14th Amendment), were achievements of the Republicans. The Civil Rights Act was passed mainly with the votes of Republican MPs.

It was only under Nixon that Republicans began to capture those voters in the southern states who had previously voted for the racist "Dixiecrats". But that didn't automatically turn the Republicans into a racist party. George W. Bush - whatever else one might think of him - campaigned for immigrants and was anything but Islamophobic. The toughest anti-immigrant rhetoric until recently came from environmentalists who wanted to keep the US population down, not from Republicans.

You get $ 20 if you answer the following question correctly: Which political party did Andrew Jackson belong to?

Jackson was elected to the highest office that the American Republic has to bestow in 1829. He then ruled until 1837. Andrew Jackson was a tough, uncompromising man. When he became president, he had two bullets in his body. One was very close to his heart - he'd gotten it in a duel about his wife's honor. His opponent had fired first - and hit. But Andrew Jackson did not fall over, he stood bleeding. He aimed long and carefully, mortally wounding his opponent. The second bullet rested in his shoulder - she, too, was injured in a duel. Jackson had the bullet removed in 1832 - without anesthesia, of course. Andrew Jackson also had a red scar from a saber cut on his skull. He received this blow when he was 14 years old: the British had captured him and his brother. A British officer ordered the mud to be cleaned off his boots. Jackson refused, the blow with the saber was the receipt.

The Democrat Andrew Jackson: Dissolution of the Central Bank and Indian Displacement

As president, Jackson had two main actions. First, he saw to it that the Federal Reserve was dissolved because he believed it was the center of a capitalist conspiracy. In his eyes it contained the core for the emergence of a money aristocracy. It was not until 1913 that a new American central bank was created with the Federal Reserve, and in between there was economic chaos and muddle, which was interrupted by occasional bank panics.

Second: Andrew Jackson ordered the expulsion of the "five civilized Indian nations," that is, the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Cherokee and Seminoles. They were displaced to an area west of the Mississippi, what is now Oklahoma. A quarter of the Cherokee died miserably - especially children and old people. When the Cherokee sued the Washington Supreme Court against the eviction order and the judges agreed, Andrew Jackson responded with a cynical question. He asked if the Supreme Court had troops. Jackson called opponents of slavery a "monster" and kept black slaves himself.

In other words, Andrew Jackson was a populist and a racist. His policy towards the Indians today would likely be classified as genocidal. Perhaps he would even end up before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. So what political party did Jackson belong to?

He was a democrat. More specifically, Jackson was the first president to join the newly formed Democratic Party. And he was the hero of the European left of his time, because he was serious about a revolutionary slogan: "One Man, One Vote".

That means: Every white man was allowed to cast his vote, even if he was a poor eater and had no land. Under Andrew Jackson, the United States was transformed into true popular rule. His likeness can still be seen on every $ 20 bill to this day.

The Democrats were the party of racism

Is it a coincidence or a mistake that Andrew Jackson belonged to the Democratic Party? Not at all. The Democrats were the party of the poor white masses in the 19th century. But that means: You were the party of racism.

This was particularly evident during the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865. The Democrats in the northern states were reluctant to support the war against the renegades in the south. But only on one condition: slavery was not allowed to be touched. The official slogan of the Democrats during the war years was:

"The Union as it was [...] the constitution as it was [...] and the negroes where they are."

Besides, there were tons of people in the United States who flatly opposed the Civil War. Some were pacifists; others believed there was no point going to war over something as unimportant as slavery. All of these war opponents had one thing in common - they were Democrats.

After the Civil War, the Democrats did everything they could to sabotage the redesign of the southern states. The white master race should continue to hold the reins in hand. A secret society was founded in Tennessee to tie defenseless people to trees. Her name was Ku Klux Klan. The Ku Klux Klan was nothing more than the armed, terrorist arm of the Democratic Party. Politicians like Thomas Hendricks, who under Grover Cleveland made it to the position of American Vice President, gave him rhetorical flank support. The Indiana state Democrat stated:

"I do not believe that the Negro race and the white race can mix themselves in the exercise of political power and bring good results to society. The white race has an upward tendency, the colored race a downward tendency [...]"

... etcetera.

In 1877 the last soldiers of the Union Army withdrew from the southern United States. From then on, the former slave states ruled themselves. That was the beginning of the Jim Crow laws - so named after a black fictional character whom racist whites found very funny.

The aim of the Jim Crow Laws was supposedly just racial segregation. In reality it was about keeping the blacks down, if necessary through terror. They had to sit in the back of the bus. Their children were only allowed to go to schools that were less well equipped than the white schools. Even the lavatories were segregated by skin color. And until 1967, the southern states prohibited whites and blacks from marrying. These cruel, racist regulations were all devised, approved, and enforced by Democrats. No politician on the other side would have had a shadow of a chance of being elected.

The Republican Abraham Lincoln Against Slavery

This brings us to the second question, for which this time there is not 20, but only five dollars. Please: Which political party did Abraham Lincoln belong to?

He was a republican. Republicans, of course. And to this day, this perhaps most venerable of all American presidents can be seen on every five-dollar bill.

The Republican Party was founded in 1854 as a split from the American Whig Party. The Whig Party was an economically liberal party. The new element that distinguished the Republican Party was its staunch opposition to slavery. First of all, the question was whether slavery should spread into the new territories that were being developed in the west of the republic. The Republican Party said firmly: No. There were strong economic as well as moral reasons for rejecting slavery. The slave owners could dispose of workers for free - this alone gave them an advantage over white company founders who had to pay their workers. The Republicans found that unfair.

But Abraham Lincoln also fundamentally opposed slavery. As a young man he noted: "If Mr A can justify - however conclusively - that he may legally enslave Mr B, why shouldn't Mr B snap this argument from under his nose and prove with equal right that he is enslaving Mr A You say Mr. A is white and Mr. B is black. So it's up to the color of the skin, and the lighter-skinned has the right to enslave the darker? Beware. According to this rule, you will be enslaved by the first man, the lighter Has skin than you. So you don't mean skin color? You mean that whites are intellectually superior to blacks and that they therefore have the right to enslave them? Again, be careful. According to this rule, you will be enslaved by the first man, who comes towards you and is intellectually superior to you. But if you say it's a matter of interest; if you made it your interest, you'd have the right to enslave others Declared in his interest, he can enslave you. "

Before the outbreak of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had twisted himself terribly to accommodate the southern states. He promised that he would not touch slavery in the United States. Even after the outbreak of the civil war, Abraham Lincoln did not believe that this conflict was actually about slavery. But then more and more black soldiers fought in the Union forces and Abraham Lincoln understood that the American Republic owed these people something.

The end of this development was the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and the Thirteenth Amendment. In Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln you can see how the president used all kinds of tricks to push this 13th Amendment to the American Constitution through the American Congress.

The opponents of the "Thirteenth Amendment" were the Democrats. The driving force behind the passage were Lincoln's Republicans, who had to try beforehand to win over the opposition. They tried arguments. If that didn't help, they resorted to the good old-fashioned means of bribery. With the Thirteenth Amendment, the word "slavery" appeared for the first time in the American constitution - and only for the purpose of declaring it abolished.

In 1868, Congress ratified the Fourteenth Amendment. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Again it was the Republicans who enforced this law, and again it was the Democrats who tried to prevent it. The Fourteenth Amendment provides that all persons born on United States territory are citizens and enjoy full civil rights. No matter what skin color they are or what god they worship. The Native Americans remained exempt from this rule for the time being. This changed with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, which also gave the Indians full civil rights. Since then, the Native Americans have been considered dual citizens: They are Apache, Comanche, Cherokee and so on - and at the same time citizens of the American Republic.

The Indian Citizenship Act was proposed by a Republican Congressman from New York named Homer P. Snyder and signed by a Republican President - Calvin Coolidge. The 1920 Nineteenth Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote, was also a Republican initiative.

How did Donald Trump come about?

So we hold on to it: the Democrats were once the party of poor white men - and resentment. The Republicans, on the other hand, were the party of free trade - and civil rights for blacks, women, indigenous people. Republicans saw slavery be abolished in the United States. You have ensured that every human child in America has the same rights, at least on paper.

How did it come to Donald Trump then? Why did the Republicans put up a candidate in 2016 who said he wants to deport 11 million people who have illegally immigrated to America? Who has firmly promised to build a wall against Mexico? The Mexican immigrant berated as a rapist? Who would like to get rid of the great Fourteenth Amendment? Who wants to register American Muslims even though it is against the American Constitution?

On the other hand, how did the Democrats mutate into the party of the minorities? To the party of latinos, lesbians and gays? Why are today's Democrats more feminist while Donald Trump is making sexist jokes? Why wouldn't 99 percent of black Americans dream of voting Republican? How did this political castling come about?

The Democrat Woodrow Wilson was one of the worst racists

Some believe that the page change took place at the beginning of the 20th century. Is that correct? Let's take a look at two of the most famous presidents of the 20th century: Democrat Woodrow Wilson and Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Woodrow Wilson is generally considered progressive because under him an anti-cartel law was passed and because he was for the unions. At the same time, Wilson was the worst racist who ever sat in the White House. Before he became president, he was Dean of Princeton. He made sure that not a single black person was admitted to study at this illustrious university. In academic writings he stated that the slaves were always treated very nicely by their masters. The activities of the Ku Klux Klan were - literally - "antics, jokes and pranks".

As president, he then introduced racial segregation in American federal agencies. In 1915 he organized a screening of The Birth of a Nation at the White House. The Birth of a Nation is a silent film that glorifies the Ku Klux Klan for 190 minutes. After the screening, Woodrow Wilson said, "This is history with the lightning pen. My only regret is it's all so terribly true." Thereafter, The Birth of a Nation was shown to frenzied applause from the public in the southern states. The result: the Ku Klux Klan, which had been militarily defeated in 1871 under President Ulysses S. Grant, was re-established. The new Ku Klux Klan borrowed all of its staffage from that film artwork - including white hoods and burning crosses. The new clan differed from its predecessor in the following ways: It no longer hunted black people, but also Jews and Catholics. Sometimes the Klan let one of its victims go again when they swore they would never vote Republican for sure.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt later steered America with a sure hand through the long night of the economic crisis and the Second World War. During his presidency, the hearts of both Jews and blacks flew to the Democratic Party. That was around 1936. They were grateful to Roosevelt for his social democratic welfare policy. However, the great Franklin Delano Roosevelt also had to please his white, racist voters in the southern states. In other words, this president hasn't done much for the dark-skinned citizens of America either. He did not desegregate the armed forces. He didn't even pass laws against lynching. And he called Hugo Black, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, to the Supreme Court. A contemporary joke went like this:

"Hugo doesn't have to buy a new robe at all. It is perfectly sufficient if he dyes his white cloak black."

Then, during World War II, the Roosevelt government brutally violated the civil rights of another class of Americans: Americans of Japanese descent were imprisoned in internment camps in the Rocky Mountains. These camps were not concentration camps. But it was a bitter injustice.

The truth is, the Democrats were a deeply racist party back in the 1960s. Take George Wallace, for example. He was a Democrat and Governor of Alabama - and in 1965 he had the black civil rights activists of Selma bombarded with tear gas and bludgeoned. His most staunch opponents were the Republican MPs in Congress. With their votes, the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act a year later. Two important laws that broke the legal oppression of blacks in the southern states.

Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was against the Civil Rights Act

However, the president who signed these laws was Lyndon B. Johnson. And Johnson was a Democrat from Texas. The Republicans, on the other hand, nominated Barry Goldwater as a candidate in 1964. Surprisingly, he prevailed against moderate Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller in the primary elections.Goldwater was a staunch, even fanatical, anti-communist. And he was very much against the Civil Rights Act. He was probably not a racist. The consequences for the Republicans were, however, devastating.

First, they lost the choice with kettledrums and trumpets. The Democrats won a majority in almost every state. Only Arizona and the five core states of the deep south voted for Republicans: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina.

The second dramatic consequence of the 1964 election was that from now on Republicans were seen as the "anti-civil rights party". They lost almost all of their black voters. They never had to court them or take their interests into account again. Instead, white voters who had voted for the Democrats all their lives supported this new Republican Party. And so the former slave-owning states became the republican heartland. At the same time, the Democrats were increasingly turning into a party that attracted minorities.

From now on the following things belonged together in the American consciousness: a more left-liberal economic policy, efforts to relax with the Soviet Union, anti-racism. That was what the Democrats stood for. Those who thought more economically liberal and wanted a resolute stance against communism continued to vote for the Republicans. But Republicans also chose those who mourned the status quo of the 1950s, which had long since disappeared, when black faces were not yet allowed to live in the neighborhood.

Republican Ronald Reagan was not a racist

Another change came in the 1980s: the Republican Party became the party of the "Christian Right" under Ronald Reagan. They were devout Protestants and Catholics who wanted to turn America into a Christian country. A country where there is prayer in public schools and the right to abortion is being reversed. And the "Christian rights" were almost all white.

Does that mean the Republicans were a racist party after 1964? No. Ronald Reagan, for example, was not a racist at all. The same goes for the much scolded George W. Bush. Eight million immigrants came to the United States during his presidency - nearly half of them illegally. In 2006, George W. Bush gave a speech to Congress calling for all 12 million illegal immigrants who were in America at the time to be granted work permits without further ado. After the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, George W. Bush's first reaction was to go to a mosque. He implored his American compatriots not to see every Muslim as an enemy. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, an education law stemming from a Bush initiative, was primarily intended to benefit black and Latino children.

So the Republican Party did not simply become a party of racism 50 years ago. And yet something drastic happened back then. The best way to say it is with terms borrowed from psychoanalysis: Since 1964, racism has been part of the "It" of the Republican Party. He was rummaging around in her unconscious. The Republican Party had just become eligible for racists. That was not a problem as long as the "id" was held in check by a strong "superego". But then the Republican Party made Donald Trump its candidate. And with that she has publicly acknowledged this hidden, racist "it". The "superego" has been lost.

The escalations of Donald Trump

Since then it has been possible in America to say things again that had actually become unspeakable. Trump's supporters, for example, doused Jewish journalists who criticized him with anti-Semitic abuse on the Internet. Trump has not distanced himself from it, but declared that his critics were to blame. He has called a judge who is investigating fraud against him a "Mexican" because he has a Hispanic name. The truth is, of course, that judge is American - and has done a great job in the fight against Mexican drug cartels. At the Democratic Congress, Khizr Khan, a Muslim immigrant from Pakistan, delivered a moving speech about his son Humayun, who died as a soldier in the American armed forces in Iraq. Donald Trump responded with a foul public attack on Khizr Khan. At an election rally, in the manner of a white gentleman praising a good slave, he pointed to an isolated black supporter: "Look, this is my African American!" The low point was reached when Donald Trump said the "Second Amendment people" - that is to say, the defenders of the right to own guns - should maybe take care of Hillary Clintons if they are somehow stupid. Afterwards he asserted that this did not mean that the "Second Amendment people" should shoot Hillary Clinton. His supporters openly say that Hillary Clinton should be shot as a traitor.

Such a thing may have been considered normal in Andrew Jackson's time. In the meantime, however, around 180 years have passed. There is no more slavery. The United States no longer wages Indian wars. The rights of minorities are guaranteed - at least on paper. Racial discrimination is strictly prohibited. Religious freedom of Muslims, too, is protected in America by the First Amendment. And so Donald Trump's power words seem repulsive and shocking to many Americans today.

Some Republicans have also turned away from him in horror. David Brooks, who works as a conservative columnist for the left-wing New York Times, was one of his staunch enemies from the start. In one of his most recent columns, David Brooks takes a tough stand against those Republicans who still support Donald Trump - even if reluctantly. He writes:

Republicans distance themselves

"Events will force Republicans to take a stand. In the past few months some Republicans have condemned Trump's actions while remaining loyal to the man Trump. Trump himself makes this attitude seem ridiculous and shameful. Either you stand by a man." whose innermost trait is an insult to common decency, or let it go. Those who let it go will have to start building a Republican Party in exile. They will have to honestly tell the country what they think of Donald Trump You will have to build a parallel campaign structure that will survive even if Trump implodes [...] Together you will have to publish a clear manifesto - five or ten items on the agenda for which the party stands in exile. There is a time when in which neutrality and ducking away become dishonorable. If you don't revolt now, you will make a pact, if in decades of This epoch and your name is mentioned, your grandchildren will look at their toes in shame. "

Dramatic words. But David Brooks is probably right: the Republican Party will soon go under if it doesn't reform itself thoroughly. Because there are only two options. Either Donald Trump becomes the next American president. In that case, he will leave the Republican Party behind like a burned-down missile stage once he moves into the White House. He will no longer need them, because then he will have the combined power of the FBI, the secret services, the American armed forces and the American nuclear arsenal.

The other option: Donald Trump is defeated at the ballot box. In this case, the Republican Party has no chance if it regresses to the party of white men without college degrees. In the 19th century that was the majority of American voters. At the beginning of the 21st century it is a minority. The Republican Party must face its dark "It" and overcome it in an act of honest analysis - or the proud party of Abraham Lincoln will sink into a sect of racist hackers.


US Presidential Elections, Part 1. The Racist Party. From Hannes Stein. With Jean-Paul Baeck, Jochen Langner and Thomas Balou Martin. Technique: Lew-Lyn Rectenwald. Director: Anna Panknin. Editor: Barbara Schäfer.