History of the Democratic Party: Part I

Progressives have mastered the language of manipulation, always finding a way to turn the narrative in their favor. Remarkably, the party with deep roots in slavery managed to rebrand the Republican Party as racist --- a problem that plagues conservatives to this day. Join Glenn in this serial as he revisits the true history of the Democratic Party and corrects the record.

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GLENN:  Rising from the ashes of the Democratic Republican Party in 1830.  Yeah, the name.  They were together at one time.  Vastly different than they are now.

However, the Democratic Party, now by itself, is by any account unrecognizable from the party at its founding in 1830.

Martin Van Buren built the party around the principles of Thomas Jefferson, intending to follow current president and war hero Andrew Jackson.  So let's cross the threshold of truth here first.

The Democratic Party was pro-slavery, period.  Democrats can say whatever they want about the G.O.P. today, but the fact is, the Democrats were the ones who were pro-slavery, and the Republican Party was instituted to stop slavery.

On the other hand, the early Democrats wanted to emulate Thomas Jefferson.  Jefferson and the early party leaders viewed the central government as an enemy of liberty, which is, oh, I don't know, going in the other direction from the Democratic Party today.

They actually believed that government intervention in the economy benefited special interest groups.  Thus, it was to be avoided at all costs.

Now, imagine a Democratic Party that actually feared the concentration of power in Washington.  A Democratic Party that wanted to restore the liberty of the individual, that wanted to end federal support of banks and corporations.

In other words, the Democratic Party wanted government out of the lives of people and out of the economy.

I don't even know what that looks like.  But it certainly doesn't have Chuck Schumer hanging around.  This was a party that disliked the public education reform programs because they feared public schools would interfere with parental responsibility and undermine freedom of religion by replacing church schools with public schools.

It is really hard to imagine any of that, yet that was the initial Democratic Party.  The Democratic Party of today is virtually the antithesis of its 1830 founding principles.  So what happens?  Six words:  William Jennings Bryant and Woodrow Wilson.

But we'll cover that in an upcoming episode.  The Democrats of today like to ignore, even sweep under the rug, the horrible racist origins of their party.  Democrats treated blacks and American natives terribly.  In fact, the first official Democratic president, Andrew Jackson, immediately set the tone for what was to come.

VOICE:  Jackson's administration immediately began expelling Native Americans living east of the Mississippi River.  An issue that defined the new administration.  After he signed the Indian removal act into law in 1830, five large tribes were rounded up and forcibly marched into territories and camps further west.

GLENN:  That action, rounding up minority groups and sending them to camps would become a blight and an ugly stain on several Democratic presidencies, but there was more.

VOICE:  The Democrats' ambitions didn't stop there.  In the 1840s, the party adopted the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, the idea that Americans, white Americans, were divinely entitled to dominate the whole North American continent.

Democratic president James K. Polk put this idea into action, massively expanding US holdings by annexing Texas, acquiring Oregon, and winning much of what's now the southwestern US in a war with Mexico.

GLENN:  Andrew Jackson was so dedicated to this hatred of the American native and to removing the Indians from the United States, that he even defied a US Supreme Court ruling against him and the removal.

VOICE:  First major piece of legislation that he recommended and got passed was the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

VOICE:  This act empowered Jackson to forcibly evict all the Indian tribes living east of the Mississippi River.  Five Indian nations were directly affected.

GLENN:  In the beginning, while some of the policies of the Democratic Party, if they had been put in practice, would have led to limited government, a government too small to oppress its people, but in reality, the racism at the heart of the party led to rounding up the Native American, repeatedly lying to them and forcing them from their lands.

VOICE:  Instead of going on the warpath, the way their fathers and grandfathers might have done, this generation of Cherokee Indians took Georgia to court.

VOICE:  The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.  In a historic decision, chief justice John Marshall ruled in favor of the Cherokee saying they didn't have to move.  But Andrew Jackson thought differently.

VOICE:  Jackson sent a marshal.  He made his ruling.  Now let him enforce it.

VOICE:  The result was that they were rounded up at gunpoint and forced to move.  Their property was seized, and they were forced west, of course, on the Cherokee's forced march, about one out of every four Cherokees died en route, which is why they called it the Trail of Tears.

GLENN:  Democrats also supported and continued the policy of enslaving an entire race of people, the despised Confederate flag, came from, say it with me, the Democrats.  Secession, Civil War, Democrats.  David Barton picks up the story in 1854, during the formation of a new party.

VOICE:  In May of 1854, a number of the anti-slavery Democrats in Congress formed a new political party to fight slavery and secure equal rights for black Americans.  The name of that party, they called it the Republican Party.  They called it that because they wanted to return to the principles of freedom and equality, first set forth in the governing documents of the republic, before the pro-slavery members of Congress had perverted those original principles.

One of the founders of that new party was US senator Charles Sumner, who had taken the seat of the great anti-slavery senator, Daniel Webster.  Sumner had a record of promoting civil rights.  In fact, he championed the desegregation of public schools in Boston.  Here is his argument before the state Supreme Court on that issue.

In 1856, Sumner gave a two-day long speech in the US Senate against slavery.  Following that speech, Democratic representative Preston Brooks from South Carolina came from the House, across the rotunda of the capitol, and over to the Senate, where he literally clubbed down Sumner on the floor of the Senate, knocked him unconscious, and beat him almost to death.  Many Democrats thought that Sumner's clubbing was deserved, and it even amused them.

It was three and a half years before Sumner recovered himself sufficiently to return to the Senate.  And not surprisingly, the first speech he delivered on his return to the Senate was, again, against slavery.

GLENN:  It's almost unthinkable that the Democratic assailant was never even charged with the attempted murder of a United States senator on the Senate floor.

In 1856, America would have to elect a new president.

VOICE:  In 1856, the Republican Party entered its first presidential election, and that election, the Republican Party issued this, his first party platform.  It was a short document.  There were only nine planks in the platform, but significantly, six sent forth bold declarations of equality and civil rights for African-Americans, based on the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

The Democratic platform of that year took an opposite position, strongly defending slavery.  Amazingly, according to Democrats in 1856, attempting to end slavery would ruin the happiness of the people.  Despite such clear differences, the Republicans lost that election.

The next year, 1857, a Democrat-controlled Supreme Court delivered the Dred Scott decision, declaring blacks were not persons or citizens, but instead were property and therefore had no rights.

In fact, quoting from this infamous decision, Democrats on the court announced that blacks had no rights, which the white man was bound to respect and the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.

GLENN:  In the historic election of 1860, the Democratic Party continued its proud support of slavery.

VOICE:  In the 1860 presidential election, Republican Abraham Lincoln ran against Democrat US senator Steven Douglass of Illinois.  Both parties, again, issued platforms.  The Republican platform of 1860 blasted both the fugitive slave law and the Dred Scott decision and it announced its continued intent to end slavery and secure equal civil rights for black Americans.

On the other hand, the Democrats and their 1860 platform praised both the fugitive slave law and the Dred Scott decision.  In fact, Democrats handed out copies of the Dred Scott decision, along with their platform, to affirm their belief that it was proper to have slavery and to hold African-Americans in bondage.

GLENN:  Abraham Lincoln won the election, receiving just 40 percent of the popular vote, with almost no support in the South, but 59 percent of the electoral college vote.  By the time he took the oath of office, seven Southern states had already seceded from the Union, and the stage was set for the darkest period in American history.

Next time, we explore the Democratic Party following the Civil War, through the formation of the Klan.  And on to Woodrow Wilson.

VOICE:  Tomorrow on the Glenn Beck Program, in chapter two of the history of the Democratic Party, you'll learn about the racist roots of the party.  Listen live or online at GlennBeck.com/serials.

Ryan: Bernie at the disco

Photo by Sean Ryan

Saturday at El Malecón, we waited for the Democratic socialist. He had the wild white hair like a monk and the thick glasses and the booming voice full of hacks and no niceties.

Photo by Sean Ryan

The venue had been redecorated since we visited a few nights before when we chatted with Castro. It didn't even feel like the same place. No bouncy castle this time.

Photo by Sean Ryan

A black curtain blocked the stage, giving the room a much-needed depth.

Behind the podium, two rows of mostly young people, all holding Bernie signs, all so diverse and picturesque and strategic.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Lots of empty seats. Poor showing of Bernie fans for a Saturday afternoon. At one point, someone from Bernie's staff offered us seats in the audience, as if eager to fill up those seats however possible.

There were about 75 people in the dancehall, a place built for reunions and weddings and all those other festivities. But for a few hours on Saturday, August 10, 2019, it turned serious and wild for "Unidos Con Bernie."

Photo by Sean Ryan

People had been murmuring about Sanders' speech from the night before at Wing Ding. By all appearances, he had developed a raving lust to overthrow Trump. He had even promised, with his wife just out of view, that, were he elected, he'd end white nationalism in America. For good.

El Malecón lacked its previous air of celebration. It had undertaken a brooding yet defiant spirit. Media were sparse. Four cameras faced the podium. Three photographers, one of whom had been at nearly all the same events as us. A few of the staffers frowned at an empty row of chairs, because there weren't that many chairs to begin with.

At the entrance, Bernie staff handed out headsets that translated English to Spanish or Spanish to English, depending on who the speaker was. The translators stood behind the bar, 20 feet from the podium, and spoke into a lip-ribbon microphone.

Bernie's staff was probably the coolest, by far. As in, they looked cool and acted stylishly. Jeans. Sandals. Careworn blazers. Tattoos. One lad had a black Levi's shirt with lush crimson roses even though he wasn't a cowboy or a ranch-hand. Mustaches. Quirky hats. A plain green sundress. Some of them wore glasses, big clunking frames.

Photo by Sean Ryan

The outfits were distinctly Bernie. As Bernie as the tie-dyed "BERNIE" shirts for sale outside the club. Or later, at the Hilton, like a Grateful Dead cassette stand.

Immigration was the theme, and everyone in the audience bore some proof of a journey. Because America offers life, freedom, and hope.

Sanders' own father emigrated from Poland to America at 17, a high school dropout who could barely speak English. As a Jew, he'd faced religious persecution.

Within one generation, Bernie Sanders' father contributed to the highest stratum of American society. In one generation, near hopelessness had transformed into Democracy, his son a congressman with a serious chance at the presidency.

Photo by Sean Ryan

That's the beauty of America. Come here broken and empty and gutted and voiceless. And, within your lifetime, you can mend yourself then become a pillar of society. Then, your son can become the President of the United States of America!

Four people gave speeches before Sanders. They took their time, excited and nervous. They putzed. Because how often do you get to introduce a presidential frontrunner?

All the native English speakers jammed their earpieces when the woman with the kind and dark energy took the stage.

Photo by Sean Ryan

She mumbled in Spanish and did not look up and said that, when her parents died, she couldn't go home for the funeral. She fought back tears. She swallowed hard to shock herself calm. And the room engulfed each silence between every word.

It felt more like a therapy session than a political rally. A grueling therapy session at that. Was that what drew people to Bernie Sanders, that deep anguish? That brisk hope? Or, rather, the cessation of it, through Sanders? And, of course, the resultant freedom? Was it what gave Sanders a saintlike ability to lead people into the realm of the confessional? Did he have enough strength to lead a revolution?

Photo by Sean Ryan

While other frontrunners hocked out money for appearances, like the studio lights, Sanders spent money on translators and ear-pieces. The impression I got was that he would gladly speak anywhere. To anyone. He had the transitory energy you can capture in the writings of Gandhi.

Photo by Sean Ryan

I'm not saying he's right or wrong — I will never make that claim, about any of the candidates, because that's not the point of this, not the point of journalism, amen — what I'm saying is he has the brutal energy of someone who can take the subway after a soiree or rant about life by a tractor or chuck it up with Sarah Silverman, surrounded wherever he goes.

Without the slightest fanfare, Sanders emerged from behind the black curtain. The woman at the podium gasped a little. The room suctioned forward when he entered. In part because he was so nonchalant. And, again. That magnetism to a room when a famous or powerful or charming person enters. Not many people have it. Not many can keep it. Even fewer know how to brace it, to cull it on demand. But several of the candidates did. One or two even had something greater.

Photo by Sean Ryan

I'll only say that Bernie had it with a bohemian fervor, like he was a monk stranded in a big city that he slowly brings to God.

"We have a President who, for the first time in my lifetime, who is a President who is a racist," he shouted. "Who is a xenophobe and anti-immigrant. Who is a sexist. Who is a religious bigot. And who, is a homophobe. And, what is very disappointing is that, when we have a President, we do not necessarily expect to agree with him, or her, on every issue. But we do believe that one of the obligations is to bring people to-geth-ah. As Americans."

Photo by Sean Ryan

After listening silently for several minutes, the audience clapped. Their sweet response felt cultish. But, then again, what doesn't feel cultish these days? So this was cultish like memes are cultish, in a striving-to-understand kind of way.

"The essence of our campaign is in fact to bring people together," he said. "Whether they're black, or white, or latino, or Native American, or Asian-American. We understand that we are Americans."

At times, this meant sharing a common humanity. Others, it had a slightly more disruptive feel. Which worked. Sometimes all we want is revolution. To be wild without recourse. To overthrow. To pass through the constraints of each day. To survive. The kind of rowdy stuff that makes for good poetry but destroys credit lines. Sanders radiated with this intensity, like a reclusive philosopher returning to society, from his cave to homes and beds and fences and maybe electricity.

Photo by Sean Ryan

But, as he says, his revolution would involve healthcare and wages and tuition, not beheadings and purges and starvation.

Seeing the Presidential candidates improvise was amazing. They did it constantly. They would turn any of their beliefs into a universal statement. And Sanders did this without trying. So he avoided doing the unbearably arrogant thing of pretending to speak like a native Guatemalan, and he looked at the group of people, and he mumbled in his cloudy accent:

"My Spanish — is not so good."

Photo by Sean Ryan

This is the same and the opposite of President Trump's Everyman way of speaking English like an American. Of speaking American.

Often, you know what Sanders will say next. You can feel it. And, anytime this happened, it brought comfort to the room.

Like, it surprised no one when he said that he would reinstate DACA on his first day in office. It still drew applause.

But other times, he expressed wild ideas with poetic clarity. And his conclusions arrived at unusual junctures. Not just in comparison to Republicans. To all of them. Bernie was the Tupac of the 2020 election. And, to him, President Trump was Suge Knight, the evil force behind it all.

"Donald Trump is an idiot," he shouted.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Everybody loved that. Everybody clapped and whooped and some even whistled like they were outside and not in a linoleum-floor dancehall.

"Go get 'em, Bernie," someone in the back shouted.

This was the only Sanders appearance with no protestors.

"Let me say this about the border," he shouted. And everybody listened to every thunking syllable. He probably could have spoken without a mic. Booming voice. Loud and clear. Huddling into that heavy Vermont slug accent.

They'll say many many things about Bernie. One being, you never had to lean forward to hear him. In person, even more so. He's less frail. More dynamic.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Despite the shoddiness of the venue, there was a sign language interpreter. Most of the rallies had a designated interpreter.

"If you work 40 hours a week you shouldn't be living in poverty," he shouted, provoking chants and applause from the audience, as if he were talking about them. Maybe he was.

An anecdote about the people at an emergency food shelf blended into the livable wage of $15 an hour. He shifted into his spiel about tuition-free college and pointed at the audience, "You're not doing well," then at the kids behind him, "they are." He craned his head sideways and back. "Do your homework," he told said.

Laughter.

Half of the kids looked like they hadn't eaten in days. Maybe it was their unusual situation, a few feet from Bernie Sanders at a stucco community center.

Before the room could settle, Sanders wove through a plan for how to cancel debt.

Did he have a solution?

Tax Wall Street, he shouted.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And he made it sound easy. "Uno dos trey," he said. "That's my Spanish for today."

A serious man, he shoved through his speech like a tank hurtling into dense jungle. He avoided many of the typical politician gimmicks. Proof that he did not practice every expression in front of a mirror. That he did not hide his accent. That he did not preen his hair. That he did not smile for a precise amount of time, depending on the audience. That he did not pretend to laugh.

Photo by Sean Ryan

He laughed when humor overtook him. But it was genuine. With none of the throaty recoil you hear in forced laughter.

"I want everyone to take a deep breath," he said. And a palpable lightness spread through the room, because a deep breath can solve a lot of problems.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Then he roused some more. "Healthcare is a human right," he shouted. "A human privilege," he shouted. He told them that he lives 50 miles from the Canadian border in Burlington, Vermont, and healthcare works better up north.

Each candidate had a bad word, and Sanders' was "corporate."

Photo by Sean Ryan

At every speech, he mentioned "corporate media" with the same distrust and unpleasantness that conservatives derive from the term "mainstream media." Another would be "fake news," as popularized by Sanders' sworn enemy. Either way it's the same media. Just different motivations that irk different people.

But the discrepancies varied. Meaning two opposing political movements disliked the same thing, but for opposite reasons.
It sounded odd, Sanders' accusation that the media were against him. The media love Bernie. I can confirm this both anecdotally and judiciously. Yes, okay, in 2016, the media appeared to have sided with Hillary Clinton. As a result, Sanders was publicly humiliated. Because Clinton took a mafioso approach to dealing with opponents, and Sanders was her only roadblock.

Imagine if a major political organization devoted part of each day to agitating your downfall. And then you fail. And who's fault is it?

Sanders wanted to know: those negative ads targeting him, who paid for them?

Photo by Sean Ryan

Corporations, of course. Corporations that hated radicals like him. And really was he so radical? He listed off the possibilities: Big pharma, insurance companies, oil companies.

Because he had become a revolutionary, to them. To many.

He said it with certainty, although he often didn't have to say it at all. This spirit of rebellion had become his brand. He would lead the wild Americans into a utopia.

But just as quickly, he would attack. Trump, as always, was the target.

He called Trump the worst president in American history.

"The fates are Yuge," he shouted.

The speech ended as informally as it had begun. And Sanders' trance over the audience evaporated, replaced by that suction energy. Everyone rushed closer and closer to the man as Neil Young's "Keep on Rockin in the Free World" blared. Sanders leaned into the podium and said, "If anyone wants to form a line, we can do some selfies."

Photo by Sean Ryan

It was like meeting Jesus for some of the people.

There he was, at El Malecón. No stage lights, no makeup, no stylist behind the curtain. Just him and his ideas and his erratic hand commotion.

Then a man holding a baby leaned in for a photo. He and Sanders chatted. And, I kid you not, the whole time the baby is staring at Bernie Sanders like he's the image of God, looking right up at him, with this glow, this understanding.

Bernie, if you're reading this, I'd like to suggest that — if this election doesn't work for you — you could be the next Pope.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Monday, Harvard Law professor and lawyer on President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team Alan Dershowitz explains the history of impeachment and its process, why the framers did not include abuse of power as criteria for a Constitutional impeachment, why the Democrats are framing their case the way they are, and what to look for in the upcoming Senate trial.

Dershowitz argued that "abuse of power" -- one of two articles of impeachment against Trump approved by House Democrats last month -- is not an impeachable act.

"There are two articles of impeachment. The second is 'obstruction of Congress.' That's just a false accusation," said Dershowitz. "But they also charge him, in the Ukraine matter, with abuse of power. But abuse of power was discussed by the framers (of the U.S. Constitution) ... the framers refused to include abuse of power because it was too broad, too open-ended.

"In the words of James Madison, the father of our Constitution, it would lead presidents to serve at the will of Congress. And that's exactly what the framers didn't want, which is why they were very specific and said a president can be impeached only for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors," he added.

"What's alleged against President Trump is not criminal," added Dershowitz. "If they had criminal issues to allege, you can be sure they would have done it. If they could establish bribery or treason, they would have done it already. But they didn't do it. They instead used this concept of abuse of power, which is so broad and general ... any president could be charged with it."

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On Friday's radio program, Bill O'Reilly joins Glenn Beck discuss the possible outcomes for the Democrats in 2020.

Why are former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama working overtime to convince Americans they're more moderate than most of the far-left Democratic presidential candidates? Is there a chance of a Michelle Obama vs. Donald Trump race this fall?

O'Reilly surmised that a post-primary nomination would probably be more of a "Bloomberg play." He said Michael Bloomberg might actually stand a chance at the Democratic nomination if there is a brokered convention, as many Democratic leaders are fearfully anticipating.

"Bloomberg knows he doesn't really have a chance to get enough delegates to win," O'Reilly said. "He's doing two things: If there's a brokered convention, there he is. And even if there is a nominee, it will probably be Biden, and Biden will give [him] Secretary of State or Secretary of Treasury. That's what Bloomberg wants."

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On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Friday, award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon, a central figure in the impeachment proceedings, explained his newly filed lawsuit, which seeks the records of contact between Ukraine prosecutors and the U.S. Embassy officials in Kiev during the 2016 election.

The records would provide valuable information on what really happened in Ukraine, including what then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter were doing with Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, Solomon explained.

The documents, which the State Department has withheld thus far despite repeated requests for release by Solomon, would likely shed light on the alleged corruption that President Donald Trump requested to be investigated during his phone call with the president of Ukraine last year.

With the help of Southeastern Legal Foundation, Solomon's lawsuit seeks to compel the State Department to release the critical records. Once released, the records are expected to reveal, once and for all, exactly why President Trump wanted to investigate the dealings in Ukraine, and finally expose the side of the story that Democrats are trying to hide in their push for impeachment.

"It's been a one-sided story so far, just like the beginning of the Russia collusion story, right? Everybody was certain on Jan. 9 of 2017 that the Christopher Steele dossier was gospel. And our president was an agent of Russia. Three years later, we learned that all of that turned out to be bunk, " Solomon said.

"The most important thing about politics, and about investigations, is that there are two sides to a story. There are two pieces of evidence. And right now, we've only seen one side of it," he continued. "I think we'll learn a lot about what the intelligence community, what the economic and Treasury Department community was telling the president. And I bet the story was way more complicated than the narrative that [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff [D-Calif.] has woven so far."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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