One of America's two major political parties and the much more leftist party of the two
The Democratic Party is presently one of the two major political parties in the United States. On the right-left political spectrum, it currently is to the left of the larger Republican Party, and well to the left of the Democratic Party of Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. The words "Democracy" and "Democratic" come from the Greek roots demos, "the people" and kratein, "to rule."
The Democratic Party traces its ancestry to the original Republican Party (initially known as the "Democratic-Republican Party") founded in 1794 by Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809). The Democratic Party started to assume its modern form during the War of 1812. By the 1820s John Adams' son, President John Quincy Adams, had become a Democrat. He was opposed by Tennessee Democratic-Republican President Andrew Jackson (1829-37), whose anti-National Bank faction became the core of the Democratic Party. From the mid-1830s until the Civil War, Democrats formed America's majority party. Meanwhile the Federalist Party disintegrated, replaced as America's opposition party from 1833 until 1856 by the new party co-founded by Adams, the Whigs, dedicated to high tariffs and protectionism. Democratic President James Polk led the U.S. into and through the Mexican-American War that added today's Southwestern states to America's map.
In 1856 the new Republican Party mobilized around opposition to slavery and ran its first presidential candidate, California U.S. Senator John C. Fremont. Four years later, owing to a party schism that put two rival Democrats on the ballot, Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected President by a plurality and led the Union during the Civil War.
Republicans won most of the presidential elections between 1864 and 1912, when a schism between President William Howard Taft and former progressive Republican President Theodore Roosevelt split the Republican vote and led to the election and re-election of Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Republicans returned to power following World War I, but during the Great Depression, beginning in 1932, were beaten in four elections by Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), who built his New Deal coalition of liberals and Southern segregationists. In the "solid South," Democrats for generations grew up in one-party states whose voters would "rather vote for a yellow dog" than any candidate of the party of Lincoln.
Norman Thomas, the six-time Socialist Party candidate for U.S. President, said the following in a 1944 speech:
"The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of 'liberalism,' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.... I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform."
FDR died in office in 1945 and was succeeded by his Vice President Harry Truman (1945-53), who won election on his own in 1948.
In 1960, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy (1961-63) was elected President in a close vote decided by Texas and Illinois, where historians agree that Democratic ballot fraud was extensive. Kennedy sent the first 16,000 armed U.S. troops into South Vietnam, something his predecessor Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower had refused to do.
In a January 2010 Wall Street Journal article titled "The Fall of The House of Kennedy," Daniel Henninger pointed out what had been a watershed moment for the Democratic Party 48 years earlier:
"In 1962, President John F. Kennedy planted the seeds that grew the modern Democratic Party. That year, JFK signed executive order 10988 allowing the unionization of the federal work force. This changed everything in the American political system. Kennedy's order swung open the door for the inexorable rise of a unionized public work force in many states and cities.
"This in turn led to the fantastic growth in membership of the public employee unions—The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the teachers' National Education Association.
"They broke the public's bank. More than that, they entrenched a system of taking money from members' dues and spending it on political campaigns. Over time, this transformed the Democratic Party into a public-sector dependency.
"They became different than the party of FDR, Truman, Meany and Reuther. That party was allied with the fading industrial unions, which in turn were tethered to a real world of profit and loss.
"The states in the North and on the coasts turned blue because blue is the color of the public-sector unions. This tax-and-spend milieu became the training ground for their politicians."
Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963 and was succeeded by his Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-69). Johnson signed landmark civil rights legislation, passed in Congress with a higher percentage of Republican than Democratic votes. Johnson also launched a massive expansion of FDR's New Deal welfare state that Johnson called the Great Society, which by 2000 would have earmarked an aggregate total of more than $7 trillion to social welfare programs. In addition, Johnson greatly expanded JFK's war in Vietnam and military conscription.
Johnson’s pro-war Vice President Hubert Humphrey, a Minnesota liberal, was defeated in 1968 by Richard Nixon.
The 1960s were the heyday of the radical, anti-American movement known as the New Left. (For a detailed discussion of the New Left and its worldview and activities, click here.) By the early 1970s, however, the New Left had spent its political capital and was a dying movement. But its adherents remained committed to the cause, altering their tactics so as to work within the pilitical and social system in a manner the New Left had previously chosen not to do. These latter-day leftists incorporated the tactics of Saul Alinsky, seeking to change society by first infiltrating its major institutions – the schools, the media, the churches, the entertainment industry, the labor unions, and the three branches of government – and then implementing policies from those positions of power.
Most notably, the ex-New Leftists found a home in the Democratic Party. By 1972, they had seized control of the party, as evidenced by the nomination of George McGovern as the Democratic presidential candidate on an antiwar platform that cast America's military involvement in Southeast Asia as an immoral, imperialistic venture. Though McGovern lost 49 of the 50 states in the 1972 election, he and the anti-war radicals who flocked to his campaign moved the Democratic Party dramatically to the left. By way of its political ascendancy within the Democratic Party, the New Left, in a political sense, effectively killed off the classical centrist liberals who had vigorously opposed Communist totalitarianism. After accomplishing this parricide, the New Left occupied the corpse of authentic liberalism (i.e., the Democratic Party) and appropriated the name, "liberalism."
A June 1972 break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate complex by operatives connected to the Nixon White House led to a scandal upon which the Democrats capitalized, eventually forcing Nixon's resignation. Eight of the eleven special prosecutors who toppled Nixon were members of the Kennedy brothers' inner circle and had served on their staffs. Senator Ted Kennedy was the Chair of the Judiciary Committee that prosecuted Nixon, who resigned in 1974 to avoid formal impeachment by the Democrat-controlled House. Nixon's appointed successor, Vice President Gerald Ford, was defeated in the 1976 presidential election by Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter (1977-81).
During Carter's single-term presidency, inflation soared to double-digit levels. Carter withdrew American support from the Shah of Iran (whose government had given rights to women and was a U.S. ally) on the grounds that he was a human rights violator. Carter's destabilization of the Shah's regime led in 1979 to the theocratic and radical Islamist regime of Ayatollah Khomeini. The Carter-induced toppling of the Shah also precipitated the Soviet invasion of adjacent Afghanistan that same year, which empowered Osama bin Laden, the Islamist leader of the anti-Soviet guerrilla group al Qaeda.
In 1980 American voters ejected President Carter and elected Republican Ronald Reagan, who served two terms. Reagan had been a passionate New Deal Democrat. Explaining his disenchantment with the Democratic Party's gradual evolution into a leftist entity, Reagan said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me." He was succeeded in the White House by his Vice President George H.W. Bush.
In 1992 President Bush was defeated by Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, who promised to "end welfare as we know it" and called himself a "New Democrat." Upon taking office, Clinton immediately forced into law the largest tax increase in American history, and made it retroactive. Clinton also attempted to force socialized medicine into law -- a move that, had it been successful, would have nationalized fully one-seventh of the American economy. Even the restored Democratic majority in Congress balked at this plan and refused to pass it.
In 1994 the voters swept Democrats out of power in both the House and Senate. In 1996 Clinton was reelected with less than 50 percent of all votes cast. His second term was hobbled by scandal and perjury that made him the first elected President in American history to be impeached by the House of Representatives.
As the Democratic candidate for President in 2000, Clinton’s Vice President Al Gore lost to Republican George W. Bush. Democrats for 18 months reclaimed control of the U.S. Senate, then lost it again in the 2002 election.
During Bush’s first term, Democratic Party politicians demanded that he enact Campaign Finance Reform, ostensibly to reduce the influence of wealthy contributors to political candidates. But the Democrats included in the legislation a tiny provision for so-called "527" organizations that would allow ultra-wealthy radicals such as their ally George Soros to contribute unlimited sums of money to the parties and candidates of their choice. The leaders of one of these "Shadow Party" organizations, MoveOn.org, jointly said of the Democratic Party following the 2004 election (in which Democrat John Kerry lost by three million votes to George W. Bush): "Now it's our Party: we bought it, we own it…."
In February 2005 the party's ruling Democratic National Committee (DNC) selected as its new Chairman former Vermont Governor and failed 2004 Presidential primary candidate Howard Dean.
In the midterm elections of 2006, Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. In 2008 they increased their majorities in both houses of Congress. Also in 2008, they took control of the White House when Barack Obama was elected President.
Today's ruling Democratic Party faction, whose members include the so-called "Shadow Party" and its constituent elements, call themselves "progressive Democrats." These Democrats themselves have a leftwing faction in the House of Representatives which is formally organized into the Progressive Caucus.
Other Democratic Party factions include the following:
Southern Democrats by seniority used to chair most House and Senate committees, thereby wielding even more power than their numbers indicated. All were white during the past era of Democratic dominance, owing to Democrat success in suppressing African-American voting rights in segregated states, and most tended to be strong supporters of military spending. In the modern South, however, a majority of white voters have become conservative Republicans, and Democratic politicians are increasingly African-American and politically far to the left.
New Democrats are centrists associated with the Democratic Leadership Council. The best known of these is Bill Clinton. Others would include Senators Joseph Lieberman and Evan Bayh. President Clinton supported the death penalty, signed legislation that ended welfare as an entitlement, and signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) favored by business. New Democrats believe that the future survival and success of the Democratic Party depends on its being perceived as returning from the left to the political center.
Additional Democratic factions orbit specific special interest groups such as organized labor and the Congressional Black Caucus. These auxiliaries usually work in concert with the Progressive Caucus.
On December 8, 2009, former DNC Chairman Howard Dean said that “cooperation” between European socialists and the Democratic Party had “intensified significantly” over the preceding several years and involved “regular contact” at “Congress, Senate, party and foundation levels.” He added that “efforts have been remarkable from both sides.”
Democrats and the War on Terror:
As American soldiers encountered a fanatical Islamic enemy on the battlefields of Iraq beginning in 2003, prominent Democrats condemned President Bush as a deceiver who led them to war through “lies;” as a destroyer of American liberties; as a desecrator of the Constitution; as a usurper who stole his high office; as the architect of an “unnecessary war;” as a “fraud;” as a leader who “betrayed us;” and as a president who cynically sent the flower of American youth to die in foreign lands in order to enrich himself and his friends.
These charges were made not by fringe elements of the political spectrum, but by national leaders of the Democratic Party, including a former president, a former vice president and presidential candidate, and three members of the United States Senate (among them a one-time presidential candidate). These attacks occurred not after years of fighting in Iraq, when some might regard the result as a “quagmire,” but during the first months of the conflict, when the fighting had barely begun. They were made not over a war that was forced on Americans, or surreptitiously launched without their consent, but a war authorized by both political parties. They were directed not merely at its conduct, but at the rationale of the war itself—in other words, at the very justice of the American cause.
Although they voted for the bill to authorize the war, leaders of the Democratic Party, such as Senator Hillary Clinton, turned around after it was in progress and claimed that it was “George Bush’s war,” not theirs. They argued that Bush alone had decided to remove Saddam Hussein, when in fact it was a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, who had made regime change the policy of the United States.
Four years before Bush ordered American troops into Iraq, Clinton had asked Congress to pass an “Iraq Liberation Act,” which specifically called for regime change by force. To emphasize the seriousness with which he regarded the threat that Saddam posed, Clinton ordered the American military to fire more than four hundred cruise missiles into Iraq. The Iraq Liberation Act authorized American aid for any insurgent group that was ready to overthrow the regime. It was ratified by both political parties—Democrats and Republicans—with barely a dissenting vote.
In late 2002, when President Bush asked Congress to authorize the use of force to drive Saddam from power, a Democratic majority in the Senate supported his request. When American forces entered Iraq on March 19, 2003, a large majority of the Democratic leadership, including the former president, his secretaries of state and defense, and his entire national security team, supported the invasion. When the Iraqi regime was overthrown three weeks later, the Democratic leadership joined in the celebration, although some dissenters, such as Representative Nancy Pelosi, were already complaining that it cost too much.
But by mid-2003, many leading Democrats were contending that the war was “unnecessary” because Iraq posed “no threat.” They maintained that because the war in Iraq was a war of “choice,” it was therefore immoral.
Above all, they claimed the president had manipulated intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and thus the premise of the war. But copies of the National Intelligence Estimate on which the president’s decision was based were provided to every Democratic senator who voted for or against it. The findings were confirmed by government intelligence agencies around the world, including those of France,Britain, Russia, and Jordan. In other words, President Bush could not have manipulated the intelligence on which the vote was based and the war was actually authorized.
In attempting to make the war in Iraq a sinister plot of the Bush administration, Democrats claimed that it was a distraction from the war with the Islamic terrorists who had attacked America. “The issue is the war they got us into,” Nancy Pelosi told 60 Minutes just before she became Speaker of the House. “If the president wants to say the war in Iraq is part of the war on terror, he’s not right.”
60 Minutes: Do you not think that the war in Iraq now, today, is the war on terror?
Pelosi: No. The war on terror is the war in Afghanistan.
60 Minutes: But you don’t think that the terrorists have moved into Iraq now?
Pelosi: They have. The jihadists in Iraq. But that doesn’t mean we stay there. They’ll stay there as long as we’re there.
60 Minutes: You mean if we leave Iraq, the terrorists will leave?
It was July 2003, only four months after American forces had entered Iraq, when the Democratic Party launched its first all-out attack on the president’s credibility and the morality of the war. The opening salvos were reported in a New York Times article: “Democratic presidential candidates offered a near-unified assault today on President Bush’s credibility in his handling of the Iraq War, signaling a shift in the political winds by aggressively invoking arguments most had shunned since the fall of Baghdad.”
While American forces battled al-Qaeda and Ba’athist insurgents in the Iraqi capital, the Democratic National Committee released a television ad that focused not on winning those battles, but on the very legitimacy of the war. The theme of the ad was “Read His Lips: President Bush Deceives the American People.” The alleged deception was sixteen words that had been included in the State of the Union address he delivered on the eve of the conflict.
These words summarized a British intelligence report claiming that Iraq had attempted to acquire fissionable uranium in the African state of Niger, thus indicating Saddam’s (well-known) intentions to develop nuclear weapons. The report was subsequently confirmed by a bipartisan Senate committee and a British investigative commission, but not until many months had passed and the Democratic attacks had taken their toll. On the surface, the attacks were directed at the president’s credibility for repeating the British claim. But their clear implication was to question the decision to go to war—in other words, to cast doubt on the credibility of the American cause. If Saddam had not sought fissionable uranium in Niger, it was suggested, then the White House had lied in describing Saddam as a threat.
In the midst of a war, and in the face of a determined terrorist resistance in Iraq, Democrats had launched an attack on America’s presence on the field of battle. This separated their assault from the normal criticism of war policies. Senator John Edwards, then a candidate for the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nomination, had voted to authorize the war and was still claiming to support it. In an interview with the New York Times, he identified the significance of the Democrats’ attack: “The most important attribute that any president has is his credibility—his credibility with the American people, with its allies and with the world.” But even as Edwards said this, he joined the Democrats’ attack, publicly insinuating that the president was a liar who had deceived the American people on the gravest issue imaginable. “When the president’s own statements are called into question,” Edwards explained to the reporter, “it’s a very serious matter.”
General Ion Mihai Pacepa was the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to defect from the Soviet bloc during the Cold War. In a commentary about the attacks on President Bush during the war in Iraq, Pacepa recalled: “Sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism by discrediting the American president was one of the main tasks of the Soviet-bloc intelligence community during the years I worked at its top levels.” No president can marshal his nation’s resources if his people distrust him or don’t believe in their own cause. To attack a president’s credibility in the middle of a war, over a matter as ambiguous as a sixteen-word summary of an allied intelligence report, is an attempt to undermine the war itself.
During the Vietnam War, General Pacepa wrote, Soviet intelligence “spread vitriolic stories around the world, pretending that America’s presidents sent Genghis Khan-style barbarian soldiers to Vietnam who raped at random, taped electrical wires to human genitals, cut off limbs, blew up bodies and razed entire villages. Those weren’t facts. They were our tales, but ... as Yuri Andropov, who conceived this dezinformatsiya war against the U.S., used to tell me, people are more willing to believe smut than holiness.”
Nor did this Soviet campaign to discredit the United States stop with Vietnam. As Pacepa explains: “The final goal of our anti-American offensive was to discourage the United States from protecting the world against communist terrorism and expansion. Sadly, we succeeded. After U.S. forces precipitously pulled out of Vietnam, the victorious communists massacred some two million people in Vietnam, Laos andCambodia. Another million tried to escape, but many died in the attempt. This tragedy also created a credibility gap between America and the rest of the world, damaged the cohesion of American foreign policy, and poisoned domestic debate in the United States.”
Dissent is a cherished and justly protected right in a democracy. But it is also a privilege. The right to dissent exists only on condition that the government that guarantees it is able to defend itself against enemies who would destroy it. No bulwark has been more durable or more important to the stability and survival of America’s democratic order than the solidarity of its leaders in wartime. A president under relentless attack from the domestic opposition has less political space for flexible response. The more severe the attacks, the more limited his room for political maneuver. If the Bush administration was slow to admit error in the Iraq War, or to take corrective measures on the field of battle, the unrestrained attacks on its integrity and motives were undoubtedly a significant factor.
The reckless criticism by opponents of the war also buoyed enemy morale.
Democrats offered an explanation for their defection from a war they originally supported: the president was to blame. But this is a claim that will not stand up to even the most cursory inspection. Between the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, which the Democrats supported, and their attacks on the legitimacy of the war, which began in June, three months later, no event transpired on the battlefield and no change took place in the administration’s war policy that would explain their defection. What changed was the internal politics of the Democratic Party, and this was a direct result of the antiwar campaign organized by the Left.
By coincidence, the buildup to the war took place during the early stages of a presidential-primary campaign, in the winter and spring of 2003. By June, the candidacy of an obscure Vermont governor named Howard Dean, a veteran of the anti-Vietnam Left, had gathered such momentum that he appeared to have become the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. It was this political fact that precipitated an about-face on the war by more prominent Democrats, such as John Kerry and John Edwards, who eventually captured the party’s nominations. It was the antiwar radicals in the Dean campaign, not any events on the ground in Iraq, that produced the change in the position of leading Democrats and eventually of the Democratic Party as a whole. It was the political force of the antiwar movement, rather than any fact about the war, that explains the change.
Democrats believe that the War on Terror began as a blunder committed by the Bush administration, even an invention of the Bush administration, rather than an actual war that was declared on America by Osama bin Laden and the global forces of Islamofascism. This was the point of the celebrated statement candidate John Edwards made in 2007, during the presidential primary campaign: “The war on terror is a slogan designed only for politics,” Edwards claimed. “It is not a strategy to make America safe. It’s a bumper sticker, not a plan.” And further: “We need a post-Bush, post-9-11, post-Iraq military that is mission-focused on protecting Americans from 21st century threats, not misused for discredited ideological purposes. By framing this as a war, we have walked right into the trap the terrorists have set—that we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war on Islam.”
The same point had been made by the billionaire Democrat financier George Soros a year earlier. In a Wall Street Journal article, he explained that the War on Terror was “a misleading figure of speech [which] applied literally has unleashed a real war fought on several fronts—Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Somalia—a war that has killed thousands of innocent civilians and enraged millions around the world . . . [W]e can escape it only if we Americans repudiate the war on terror as a false metaphor.”
In this view, George Bush and America were responsible for the war that radical Islam had launched against the United States.
Democrats and Socialism:
In April 2010, the official website of the Social Democrats USA (SDUSA) revealed that organization's ties to the Democratic Party. Describing itself as a "Party Within a Party," SDUSA stated the following:
"The Social Democrats, USA kept the name Socialist Party for our political arm because we are the party of Eugene Debs, Mother Jones, Helen Keller, Carl Sandburg, Norman Thomas, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and thousands of people who worked to build the civil rights and trade union movements in this country. Many good folks gave their lives in these movements.
"The Socialist Party, USA, in 1956, chose to stop running candidates of its own, except on rare occasion. During the 1960's, we began to work in the Democratic Party. This is where our allies in the civil rights and trade union movement worked and continue to work politically. We are proud of what we helped accomplish within the Democratic Party, particularly the civil rights legislation and anti-poverty programs of the the 1960's. The struggle continues....
"Our movement has been involved in the left wing of the Democratic Party since 1947. Socialist Party members helped found Americans for Democratic Action. ADA is this country's premiere "anti-Communist, liberal" organization. We are proud of our long relationships with Eleanor Roosevelt, Hubert Humphrey, and others. We look forward to forging a good working relationship with our fellow pro-labor, anti-totalitarian, left Democrats."
Late in 2010, Communist Party USA member C.J. Atkins called for his comrades to drop their "communist" label, so that they could work more effectively inside the Democratic Party. Soon thereafter, Joe Sims, co-editor of the CPUSA publication Peoples World, acknowledged not only that collaboration with the the Democrats "will be an area of engagement for those wanting to make a difference," but also that communists might someday be able to "capture" the Democratic Party entirely. Sims warned, however, against dissolving the CPUSA entirely into the Democratic Party. Rather, he advised his organization to remain a separate entity, working both inside and outside the Democratic Party as circumstances required.
A Party Controlled by Big Lawyers, Big Labor, Big Green, and Big Billionaires
In January 2011, Washington Examiner executive editor Mark Tapcsott enumerated the forces and special-interest groups that now dominate the Democratic Party:
"[B]ig Lawyers ... and three other special interests -- Big Labor union leaders, Big Green environmentalists, and Big Insiders with billions of dollars in personal wealth and foundation grants -- together essentially dictate what Democrats can and cannot support on many key public policy issues.... These four groups provide most of the campaign funding and workers, political and policy expertise, legal and regulatory muscle, and strategic communications for the Democratic Party. Consequently, most Democrats are prisoners of a narrow agenda of constantly growing government budgets, regulation and taxing. have influenced the agenda of the Democratic Party and moved the party far to the left of mainstream America. These special interests have used the power of the purse to co-opt the agenda of the Democratic Party vis-a-vis campaign contributions and independent expenditures."
On September 4, 2012, The Weekly Standardreported:
The 2012 Democratic party will officially adopt an extreme position on the issue of abortion on Tuesday. According to a copy of the party platform, which was released online just before midnight on Monday, "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay."
That last part--"regardless of ability to pay"--is an endorsement of taxpayer-funded abortions, a policy that President Obama has personally endorsed. Obama wants Medicaid to pay directly for elective abortions, and Obamacare will allow beneficiaries to use federal subsidies to purchase health care plans that cover elective abortions.
According to a 2009 Quinnipiac poll, 72 percent of voters oppose public funding of abortion and 23 percent support it. In other words, public funding of abortion--a policy President Obama actively supports--is as unpopular as banning abortion in the case of rape, a policy on which the media have focused much attention over the past two weeks despite the fact that neither presidential candidate supports it.
The 2012 Democratic party also endorses an unrestricted right to abortion-on-demand. According to the platform, on the issue of abortion "there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way."
Pro-Israel language is removed from the Democratic Party platform:
Several pro-Israel sections of the 2008 Democratic Party platform have been removed from the 2012 platform—on Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, and Hamas. The new platform represents another shift by the Obama Democrats toward the Palestinian position on key issues in the peace process.
For Jerusalem, the new platform has been brought into line with the Obama administration’s policy of not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and supporting its division. Jerusalem is unmentioned in the 2012 document, whereas the 2008 and 2004 Democratic Party platforms declared “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel…It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” The Obama administration’s refusal to recognize Jerusalem has been a point of significant controversy in recent months.
On the issue of Palestinian refugees, the new document has removed language from the 2004 and 2008 platforms specifying that Palestinian “refugees” should be settled in a future Palestinian state, not in Israel.
The 2004 platform: “The creation of a Palestinian state should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.”
The 2008 platform: The peace process “should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.”
The 2012 platform contains no language on the matter.
Previously, Obama has incorporated the Palestinian positions on Jerusalem and borders into his administration’s policies. It appears that with his party’s new platform, he is also doing so with refugees.
Gone as well is the language from 2008 on the terrorist group Hamas, which currently controls the Gaza Strip. That platform declared, “The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.”
The 2012 platform contains no mention of Hamas.
Previous platforms also contained promises to maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region. The 2008 platform, for example, spoke of a “commitment which requires us to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense.” The 2012 platform mentions only that “[t]he administration has also worked to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region,” with no commitment to doing so in the future.
The Democratic platform also eliminated its previous assertion that: "We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."
Democrats reinstate references to Israel and God in their party platform, after public outcry:
On September 5, 2012, following much public criticism of the fact that the Democratic Party platform had failed to identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and had eliminated any reference to God, Democrats amended the platform to restore the references to Jerusalem and God. Party delegates meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, approved the two amendments after three voice votes and over the objections of many people on the convention floor. The passage of the amendments required a two-thirds majority. But each of the three voice votes seemed to indicate that the two sides were about evenly split, perhaps even that those opposed to the amendments outnumbered those in favor. The lack of a clear two-thirds majority was what caused the Democratic Convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to call for the second and third voice votes. In each instance, it was clear that a two-thirds majority did not exist. Nonetheless, following the third voice vote Villaraigosa announced that the amendments had been passed.
In January 2015, Communist Party USA National Committee chairman John Bachtell published an essay in People's World stating that American communists were eager to work with the Democratic Party in order to advance their goals. For details, click here.
Repudiating Former Presidents Who Owned Slaves
In July 2015, pressure from the NAACP caused Connecticut's state Democratic Party to vote unanimously to remove the names of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from its annual Jefferson Jackson Bailey fundraising dinner. At issue was the NAACP's complaint that the two former presidents owned slaves, as well as Jackson’s role in the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern United States. Scot X. Esdaile, the head of Connecticut’s NAACP, said: “I would applaud the current leaders in Connecticut in making the symbolic first step and striving to right the wrongs of the past. You can’t right all the wrongs, but I think it’s a symbolic gesture of our support for their party.” “I see it as the right thing to do,” said Nick Balletto, the party’s first-year chairman. “I wasn’t looking to be a trailblazer or set off a trend that’s going to affect the rest of the country. Hopefully, they’ll follow suit when they see it’s the right thing to do.”
Endorsing the Black Lives Matter Movement
In the summer of 2015, the Democratic National Committee officially endorsed the increasingly violent Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, whose members accuse police nationwide of systemic anti-black racism and brutality against black suspects. Specifically, the Democrats embraced a statement condemning the U.S. for its allegedly systemic police violence against African-Americans. A draft of the BLM statement included the following language:
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party believes in the American Dream and the promise of liberty and justice for all, and we know that this dream is a nightmare for too many young people stripped of their dignity under the vestiges of slavery, Jim Crow and White Supremacy; and
WHEREAS, we, the Democratic National Committee, have repeatedly called for race and justice – demilitarization of police, ending racial profiling, criminal justice reform, and investments in young people, families, and communities — after Trayvon Martin, after Michael Brown, after Tamir Rice, after Freddie Gray, after Sandra Bland, after Christian Taylor, after too many others lost in the unacceptable epidemic of extrajudicial killings of unarmed black men, women, and children at the hands of police ...
WHEREAS, without systemic reform this state of unrest jeopardizes the well-being of our democracy and our nation;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the DNC joins with Americans across the country in affirming “Black lives matter” and the “say her name” efforts to make visible the pain of our fellow and sister Americans as they condemn extrajudicial killings of unarmed African American men, women and children ...
(The "Say Her Name" campaign is an offshoot of Black Lives Matter that claims not enough attention is paid to black female victims of police brutality.)
In the document, the DNC also "renews our previous calls to action and urges Congress to adopt systemic reforms at state, local, and federal levels to prohibit law enforcement from profiling based on race, nationality, ethnicity, or religion, to minimize the transfer of excess equipment (like the military-grade vehicles and weapons that were used to police peaceful civilians in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri) to federal and state law enforcement; and to support prevention programs that give young people alternatives to incarceration."
The DNC delegates approved the foregoing resolution on the same day a white sheriff's deputy in Texas was shot to death by a black suspect in an unprovoked attack. The next day, Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched near the Minnesota state fair chanting violent anti-police slogans and carrying signs reading "End White Supremacy." Activists shouted “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” -- a reference to dead police officers in body bags -- while walking (protected by police) on a highway south of the fairgrounds.
The section titled "Democrats and the War on Terror" is adapted from "Party of Defeat," authored by David Horowitz and Ben Johnson and published by FrontPageMag.com on April 11, 2008.
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