Throughout this election, Republicans like Donald Trump and professor/filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza have attempted to link Hillary Clinton to the longtime past sins of the Democratic Party. Is it a valid criticism? And how do Republicans really feel about these old Democrats?
D'Souza created a film titled "Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party," which links Hillary Clinton to every negative element of the Democratic Party, even those back in the 1800s, including the Trail of Tears under Andrew Jackson, slavery under several Democratic administrations, and Reconstruction under Democratic rule.
Donald Trump continued the refrain from the movie, linking Hillary Clinton to the Democrats of the 1800s, and himself to the Republicans of the 1800s, according to Steve Benen of MSNBC.
"The Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln. Not bad," said Trump, outside of Seattle, Washington. "Not bad. It's also the party of freedom, equality and opportunity. It is the Democratic Party that is the party of slavery, the party of Jim Crow and the party of opposition." He actually meant to say oppression, but botched the line.
But if we play the historical record game, and Hillary Clinton is connected to every sin that the Democratic Party is accused of, does this mean that she should also be credited with all of the successes that the Democratic Party achieved throughout history?
By that logic, she should be credited for bringing in the Louisiana Purchase, defeating the British in the War of 1812, annexing Florida and Texas, defeating Mexico and winning Southwestern states like California, New Mexico and Arizona, while negotiating the Oregon territory incorporation.
And if Bob Dole's 1976 vice-presidential debate assertion that "All wars are Democratic wars," is right (and Dole was the only living GOP nominee to attend Trump's RNC Convention), that would mean that the party of Hillary won World War I, World War II, and saved South Korea (in addition to the Vietnam loss).
But of course she isn't responsible for those war wins any more than she bears any culpability for the Trail of Tears, the KKK or eugenics. It just shows how ridiculous the premise of the film is.
Supporters of the film "Hillary's America" crowed about the opening day numbers for the film, which Donald Trump insisted Americans go see, though it made less than the much-maligned film Nine Lives where Kevin Spacey gets transformed into a cat named Mr. Fuzzypants. Backers bragged that the film made more money in its opening than Al Gore's "A Beautiful Planet," and Michael Moore's "Where To Invade Next." Of course, the film has a long way to go before it comes close to topping the subtle environmentally-conscious "March of the Penguins," or Moore's "Bowling for Columbine." Then again, if Clinton wins, maybe critics may increase their film viewership as a matter of civil disobedience.
Yet the most amusing part of this historical analogy film is how Donald Trump's campaign embraces or tolerates several of the villains of the Dinesh D'Souza movie. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Donald Trump ally, said that while Trump's temperament is different from most presidential candidates, he's as good as President Andrew Jackson, a D'Souza film villain for his role in the Trail of Tears.
"Sure. I mean, he is at least as reliable as Andrew Jackson, who was one of the most decisive presidents in American history,' Gingrich said to The New York Times for their podcast "The Run-Up" when asked for a president who resembled Trump's temperament.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.