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The Democratic Party


Civics WanNa one is supported in part by the corporation for public broadcasting. As you can see on this map. There are a number of undecided states of the Democrats in Pennsylvania Little Concerned About Sarah Palin ubiquitous talking about political parties. We tend to talk a lot about election night right right. And and there's this moment that I think is the most exciting. And it's where they've got this giant map in the studio and there's an empty silhouette of a state and then it flickers flickers and it snaps either red or blue. Yeah that's when you as a political prisoner your heart either rises or sinks right state state. Go for one candidate or another. Do you know when that started red states. Blue States have we not had that for like forever for decades and decades. The only place on this is from election night. Nineteen eighty electoral votes. And so we will put on our map in blue for those of you who are watching in color We'll make Florida our projected winner for Reagan. Reagan this is nineteen eighty to hold on. Check this color or those in now. Read across the Western rim the Pacific Rim of the United States for Bill Clinton man just a few blue spots on that map for George Bush three eight hundred that was NBC coverage of the Nineteen ninety-two Election Democrats used to be read. And then they sort of switched one station switched it's red for Republicans Republicans because they said we're coloring read for Reagan in the Nineteen Ninety six election clinton-vitale that was the first year that all three major networks had red for the GOP and Blue Democrats but the terms red state blue state. They did not enter our common parlance. Until here's is that there will be a recount in the State of Florida They still need to wait for. What is it overseas balance Bush? V Gore her. Yeah because of the closeness of that race the ensuing recount America had been staring at a red and blue map for days. I saw vox video about this. Actually and it said that David Letterman was one of the first. He made a joke about blue states and red states and the term just stuck too soon. Here's how George W Bush. WE'LL BE PRESIDENT FOR THE RED RED STATES W we'll be president for the blues and now Democrats embrace their blue. They put it in their campaign. Logos goes we have terms like blue wave a red tide and that division that color polarity is really new. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around this idea that a party. He can rebrand itself that quickly based on this arbitrary choice made by a news network. You think that's strange. Hold on on your little purple hats. I'm the cavity j McCarthy and this is civics one on one and today. We're talking about the Democratic Party capital the what it is what it was what it will be. And if we're GONNA talk about how the party has evolved over the years. We have to say what they're all about today. So let's go. With their own words. In their twenty sixteen democratic platform the planks of which included addressing economic inequality college debt climate change and access to healthcare. It is also today the Party of inclusivity when it comes to issues like same sex marriage women's rights and immigration. So let's go back now. The genesis of the Democratic Party. How did it start the Democratic Party to make the thing's really clear began actually as the Republican Party's Oklahoma? I know I'm sorry. I know this. Heather Wagner by the way. She wrote the book. The history of the Democratic Party so the Democratic Party was founded by Thomas Jefferson and other men like him who were dissatisfied with the direction. The country was going under George Washington and John Adams and they've felt George Washington John Adams Alexander Hamilton. Dan were believers very strong central government and Jefferson once a smaller federal government with more power given to the states and he is our first Democratic president even though he was called sorry again a Republican but pretty quickly the name gets changed by his opponents. funnily early enough. His critics said that he and his supporters were too much like the radical friends who head head barked the French Revolution and led to bloodshed and bind went from France and as the critique they will call this group of Republicans the Democratic Republicans it was meant to be A DISC Jefferson and his supporters decided to adopt. It's almost a point of honor and call themselves the democratic Republican and this was the founding of what we know today as the Democratic Party and Howard their beliefs related to what we think of now when we think of Democrats okay. Here's canasia grant. She is a professor of political science at Howard University so when we think about the Democratic Party at that time we don't think of anything like the Democratic Party at this time the Democratic Party at that time is liberal with lower case ill as scholars say And that means that they don't want to see the government being very active. The government should not be involved in your life telling you what to do. The government should just kind of be around to make sure that things don't fall apart which is different from the party as we think about it today we think about a Democratic Party today as one who is willing to step in to try to correct some of the perceived wrongs they they might say in the economy or some of the perceived wrongs in the way that we treat humans means and these other kinds of things. How does it change because that to me is like a hundred and eighty degrees all right? We'll get there and that is Caniggia's particular Bailey daily work but I there is a big shift and it starts with Andrew Jackson in eighteen twenty nine. By the time Andrew Jackson President he has dropped dropped the Republicans from his affiliation so he identifies himself as the Democratic candidate. Andrew Jackson was the southerner governor. He was A slave owner. He was a war hero. He champions even though he was a wealthy landowner he championed. It the of sort of the ordinary man common man around his his presidency with when white men I should say were given the right to vote based on age as opposed to if you had property or or paid a certain amount in landowning taxes so it was the evolution you know voting rights towards white men over the age of twenty one as opposed to landowners quick side note opponents of Jackson during the eighteen twentieth election called him him a word that means donkey But it was an epithet. That Jackson embraced he even put images of donkey's on his campaign posters. And that is when that addle started and the party that went up against Jackson was the National Republican Party but they were just as often known as the Anti Jacksonians they did did not like what Jackson had done to the role of president. He took steps to concentrate power and to make sure that he was a very powerful awful executives he had taken stern policies that really infringed on the rights of native Americans than and the rights states and the sort of sowed the seeds of what would gradually flare up into the start of the modern Republican Party and also the disagreements agreements that layer down or so remember. The part of the story is that the parties want to maintain when cohesion. They understand that is difficult for minor parties third parties or smaller parties to win. The presidency is difficult for them to win Win Senate seats Or season the House of Representatives and be appointed to Senate seats and because they are worried about a splitting their power are. They are trying to do everything they can to to remain together and one of the things that split them up more than anything else kind of I would say the thing that distresses the party the most is a conversation about slavery and if we WANNA have a party that is unified in the north and in the south. We can't have this conversation station about slavery because people in the North are going to disagree from people in the South so we ended up with these parties that exist in different ways because the one thing that they probably probably should be talking about they are not talking about so we ended up with these cleavages kind of for that reason where we have a northern Democratic Party that looks different from the southern Democratic Party but but eventually they do have that conversation and we ended up with the Republican Party. That's more dominant in the north. Because they have had the conversation come down on the side of black people people come down against slavery for various reasons again not all of them on the up and up sell where we have a party again. Republican Party in the North a Democratic Democrat party that has kind of dominant in the south and then we have some kind of debate about. Who's going to win the West and what the farmers want and whether or not The parties will be willing to bend to the demands of the people who are in the West and who now have the ability to vote and influence politics to all right now. I WANNA learn about that shift. How does the party? That is the Party of slavery. The Party of the Ku Klux Klan. Become the party of the civil. Oh rights movement the party that gives us our first African American president. So if you want to sound really smart with your friends. Few like Noah political scientists. And you want to get gears going you just say realignment Because that that is the one word answer to that question. Realignment happens and the Party's change And so the political scientists argue about how realignment happens. I'm in the camp of people who think realignment is slow and gradual process. The short version is is that America changes so the story that we've been telling up to this point there are folks who Live in the South here folks who live in the north. We don't yet have like a large wave of immigrants coming into the United States So we get an industrial revolution. We get World War. We get immigrants coming into the United States and we don't and yet in the nation have rules that are structured to prevent them from participating in the ways that we try to prevent them for participating now and so it's Kinda easier a year to get citizenship easier to get to participation in politics and so part of the answer about how the Democratic Party in particular becomes the Party of the the people as opposed to the party of the slave owners or the party of Southern business interest has to do with their decisions to or tints since to win elections particularly I would say at the state and local level and to to speak to the needs of immigrants now I I do want to step in here and say that the north and south are not just one unified thing. That's unfair. There were people who post slavery in the South people who supported it in the north whites only only signs Other forms of segregation in schools businesses housing those existed in the north as well as the south and as she told me African American voters are a huge part of the story is not just immigrants who are flooding into. The city's black people are flooding into the cities. The great migration brings about six and a half million black people from the south into the North and parties on the ground local party leaders mayors Aldermen governors have to contend contend with how they might get this block of voters to support them as well which makes them takes Kinda steps towards civil rights. They might not otherwise take and then we have the Great Depression in the nineteen thirties. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his party. The Democrats said people are suffering. We need to do something and what they did. Was the new deal. Relief reform recovering the campaign. What this did was further cement? The notion that the Democratic Party is the the Party of big government spending on domestic programs and social welfare programs but the civil rights movement that initially was more allied by geography than than Biparti. Almost one hundred percent of northern Democrats in Congress supported the Civil Rights Act of nineteen sixty four but so too did eighty five percent of northern Republicans and just nine percent of southern dams zero southern Republicans supported it in Congress. So here's Patty Riley. He's a professor of history and Humanities Reed College but I think the key keeping the Democratic Party has no longer become possible for southern White supremacists to remain in the party because the because the National Party has moved so hard on civil rights. I mean that's Johnson's Linden Johnson's famous line. We lost the south for generation. I mean it turns out to be true generation and more at this point so I think effectively the south kind of becomes up for grabs. Because they're not gonNA remain the Democratic Party so is someone going to capitalize is on them and the Republicans do I mean. That's just what happens. I don't WanNA sound cynical here. It just kind of sounds like a big part of the reason. In that the Democrats completely reversed their positions on just about everything was not purely because has of ideals but to court voters will. I mean. I'm a political scientist so I think everything is about political strategy political expediency But yes I I think that one of the kind of biggest broadest ways of understanding party history is that parties are trying into one maintain themselves and then parties as groups who are willing to court coalitions in order to keep or maintain power. Black people are here They WanNa have some kind of interventional civil rights. We're not opposed to that. That seems I could be okay for us. We think that they would help us win. These is local and state elections. We think because they live in these states with large electoral college votes. They could help us win. The presidential election less test out a coalition between any black people and the Democratic Party. So it's the same kind of thing. Parties kind of moving and shape shifting as they encounter groups so that they can maintain dominance so thinking about like the party today versus the party. Then there's a lot of Arguing going on social media about the problematic history of both parties right and I'm just wondering like given given how different the parties are today from how they were at their genesis. Is it even fair to do people taking the Democratic Party to task for being the Party of the AK I asked Patty about that specifically that accusation and since it seems like it has power partly because maybe we are just not open public enough about just how deep and powerful the history of white supremacy is in the United States. You know it shouldn't be possible for us to continue to like Romanticize the past so so you know those acquisitions seapower just because we need to be more open. Finally with all that history history under our belt I ask Anita about the party going forward if she thinks there might be another realignment The Democratic Party is a big tent. Party keep these coalitions in mind. The Democratic Party has to please immigrants black people gay people Progressive White People like they business interest for some people like people are just so many groups of people. They have to be worried about when you think about the Democratic Party or any party particularly in a national election they have to get in a room and fight it out a party platforms only so long and and you know not everybody's GonNa read it but it matters a lot to the party in it matters a lot to the messaging of the party. And so how do I say. I really care about Urban Development and I really don't like displacement people as a result of justification in some instances that stuff is going to be in conflict and so the Democratic Party has difficult road to travel because they have to please all these different groups of people and these different groups. The people have different interest so the Democratic Party has come a long way changing names switching positions on the way to the Blue Party. We think of today. And that's the thing. These parties are always changing so it was really hard to say what a Democrat is. Because there's not one answer and it depends on a ton of other things and you can still see that push and pull of this big ten that can show engine in the huge pool of Democratic candidates in the twenty twenty race so we need to pay teachers more because the clearly shows that a good teachers burke cities and we the only person on the stage in we'll take those very and title one school Berendsen able to go back and get their the point of secretary who actually plays in public. Well that will just just about tie it all up in a big blue bove or a red bow. Maybe if it's in the nineteen ninety-two elections. Today's episode is produced by mean to cap at each with you. Hannah McCarthy thank thank you. You're welcome our staff includes. Jackie Fulton Erica. Janik is our executive producer cut of the week. Lots of stuff about a national bank. Thanks Erica when it comes to salting. Maureen mcmurray is liberal with a small l scholars sake music in this episode. By Chad Crouch blue dot sessions dialys the Grand Affair Fair Reed. Mathis wouldn't be cabinet each episode without worth the whiskey. Chris Zabriskie civics. One is made possible in part by the corporation Asian for public broadcasting and his e production of an HP. Our New Hampshire public. Radio I

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