The Worst Brand Name in American History

In their eagerness to expose and eliminate every trace of historic racism, Trump-deranged Democrats are walking on very thin ice.

Once-honored figures, now deemed  racist, have had their names removed from important institutions, their statues toppled, and portraits taken down from the corridors of power. 

Last week, the Democratic-controlled House voted to rid the Capitol Building of statuary depicting men who supported the Confederacy during the Civil War or were otherwise defenders of slavery. 

One statue on the to-go list is the likeness of John C. Calhoun, a slave-owning House member who once served as vice president of the United States. Another is a bust of Roger B. Taney, chief justice of the Supreme Court when it decided the notorious 1857 Dred Scott case. The court ruled that Scott, a runaway slave, was the legal property of his owner.    

In June, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ordered removed from the Capitol the portraits of four former speakers: Robert Hunter of Virginia, James Orr of South Carolina and Howell Cobb and Charles Crisp of Georgia. Their offense? Having been traitorous Confederate racists.

“There is no room in the hallowed halls of Congress or in any place of honor for men who embody the violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy,” Pelosi wrote in a letter explaining her decision. 

Purging pro-slavery lawmakers might be a good start, but Pelosi’s redecorating effort hardly goes far enough, according to Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who addressed the matter from the House floor. 

In citing her four predecessors’ allegiance to the evil Confederacy, Pelosi failed to mention that all were members of another organization every bit as vile and detestable as the confederation of slave states. So much so, it’s hard to think of one without the other. 

That organization is the Democratic Party, the party of slavery, secession, and the Civil War.

In fact, if it hadn’t been for the Democrats’ embrace of slavery as a state’s right and cause worth fighting for, there would never have been a Civil War and its legacy of “grotesque racism,” as Pelosi put it.

The Democratic Party needs to stop looking around for scapegoats, few of whom anyone’s ever heard of, and admit the truth behind the most ignominious brand name in the country’s history. And while they’re at it, apologize for all the death and suffering their party has inflicted on the nation as a whole and on African-Americans in particular.  

To make that apology believable—not just another exercise in the usual blame shifting—Democrats should change the name of their party, Gohmert said. 

As businesses, schools, sports teams and even entertainment acts are changing their names to acknowledge past racial injustice, it’s time for the Democratic Party, directly responsible for most of that injustice, to do the same. 

In the middle of a presidential race it might be helpful to recall a little history. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican to be elected president. Over the next 52 years, only one Democrat, Grover Cleveland, was voted into the White House. Why was that? For decades after the war, voters in national elections blamed Democrats for starting what is still America’s bloodiest conflict. 

In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate, split the Republican vote, and Woodrow Wilson, Democrat and unreconstructed racist, was elected president. After Wilson, came three more Republicans: Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. In other words, by 1932, Democrats had elected only two presidents in 72 years. 

Which is why the Democratic Party has carefully separated its past into two distinct histories: one Democrats like to talk about, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, and one they’d rather not address.  

That’s the part of their history that includes slavery, the Civil War, and those directly associated with it—like Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis—whose names are now being erased by the party’s goon squads so people will forget they were all Democrats.  

The violence and destruction currently going on in American cities, with the approval of Democratic officials, could easily be the prelude to a 2020 version of the “War Between the States.” And in response, the Democratic Party deserves the same treatment it got from voters starting 150 years ago.

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About Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas is the author of Club Fed: Power, Money Sex and Violence on Capitol Hill as well as other books, and the co-author of Red Tape: Adventure Capitalism in the New Russia. He is also a former editor and writer with The Economist Group.

Photo: CSA-Archive/Getty Images

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