Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The DNC Since Shirley

Before 1968, everything was a completely different bowl of rabbits. Specifically in the manner of the Dulles Brothers. Those two guys were responsible for everything that went wrong in the world in the second and third quarters of the 20th Century. 

“There are three things cops never do, they don’t vote Democratic, they don’t drive Cadillacs and they never use personal vehicles.” -- Jack Reacher

The big problem with the US is that it was created by a devil's bargain with slavery. So our upper house of parliament, while not actually appointed by a king, is apportioned such that slave-owners could maintain control no matter how unpopular slavery was. That's why each state, no matter the size, gets two senators. That way, any sort of pesky "democracy" doesn't throw the right-wing out of the upper house.  Even when that wasn't enough and they had a civil war and lost slavery, the right still managed to re-assert substantial control with Jim Crow laws. 

Unfortunately, even the left-wing of the Democratic Party was willing to go along with Jim Crow as it gave them the power to enact some pro-labor law, although the voting system within the Democratic Party was spectacularly corrupt (and, oddly, there were Republicans who were self-described "socialists" in the 19th Century because history is weird, so being a "Republican" or a "Democrat" up through the 1950's did not necessarily label someone ideologically.)

But three major things had happened to the Democratic Party at the national level by 1968. 

One was that all the individual states' constitutions had been "modernized." The sheer level of audacious corruption at the local level, which directed affected national elections (for his first Presidential run, FDR had to come visit Boss Hague -- the guy who controlled the Democratic Party of the county I live in) in essence to get "permission" to run for President. But since the modernization, even the spectacularly corrupt New Jersey party bosses lost their power bases. Every once in a while they try to pull some nonsense but now they tend to get thrown in jail for it. So that's different.

The other thing is that Goldwater decided the Republicans would be against the Civil Rights Act. Because, you know, "freedom." Democrat Johnson signed the Act. So the lines were clearly drawn at the national level about who would get to be the overtly racist party. 

But the third thing, which I think is a much bigger one than most people recognize, is that Shirley Chisholm was seated at the Democratic National Convention. She was the beginning of the democratization of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party was dumping the "Dixie Democrats" and the Republicans were eagerly picking them up. This gave the Republicans the Presidency for the next quarter of a century (with one very small interregnum in the way of Jimmy Carter). But Chisholm being seated was a repudiation of the Republicans having the moral high-ground as being the "party of Lincoln." 

Republicans never really were the progressive party past about 1900, There were some real Republican firebrands in the 19th Century, and there were some progressive Republicans who got less and less so by the mid-20th Century. Then any remaining reasonable Republicans have been hounded out of the RNC as "RINO's" starting whenever Rush Limbaugh started labeling them as such. 

The problem is that the US does not have proportional representation. Sometimes we very roughly do an analog where we elect the President based on popular vote but lately even that doesn't work and we've had some dreadful Presidents whose opponent received millions more votes than they. 

No comments: