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Mexicans, Republicans and history
By Bruce Walker
The recent Democrat primary in Texas means that a Hispanic candidate will be a candidate for Governor of Texas for the first time in history. Does this mean that Hispanics, who President Bush has assiduously wooed, may become the foundation of a new Democrat majority? There are strong historical reasons Mexican-Americans, should reject the icy embrace of the Democrats and instead join the Republican majority.
The Democrat Party in the South was a viciously bigoted political gang. While the Republican Party in the South welcomed blacks, Democrats did not even allow blacks to vote in the Democrat Party primary. This was particularly true in Texas, where the exclusion of blacks from being permitted to vote in Democrat primaries. In 1935, this issued reached the United States Supreme Court in Grovey v. Townsend, which upheld the right of Democrat white supremacists to simply ignore the primaries when blacks were allowed to vote in.
All of this was backed up by the sinister violence of the Secret Empire, the Ku Klux Klan, which was effectively controlled the Democrat Party in much of the South. But the Ku Klux Klan and its national political party, which might well have been called the Ku Klux Krat Party instead of the Democrat Party, did not limited their venom to blacks. Those hated and tormented most by the Ku Klan Klan were not just blacks, but Republicans, Catholics, and Jews. Mexicans crossing the Rio Grande were overwhelmingly Catholic.
In 1995, a Special Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center noted:
In 1922, Earl Mayfield, a open member of the Ku Klux Klan, was elected to the United States Senate...as a Democrat from Texas. In 1938 Democrats in Texas had the largest one party congressional delegation in American history: twenty-one Democrat congressmen and no Republican congressmen. Sixteen of these Democrats had no opponent in the general election and the highest percentage of the vote a Republican received in any congressional district was seven percent.
The Democrat Party virtually ran Texas state government for almost a century. As late as 1960, every single member of the Texas State Legislature and every statewide elected official in Texas was a Democrat. It was this Texas Democrat Party that produced FDR's first Vice President, Nance Garner.
Franklin Roosevelt did not just rely upon the Solid South to win re-election, but FDR also relied upon Ku Klux Klan branch of the Democrat Party to win the control of the Democrat Party by winning its presidential nomination in 1932. This "champion" of the little people relied upon the one-party, Klan dominated portion of the Democrat Party to control the rest of the Democrat Party.
Discrimination against Mexicans was real and deep. Jim Crow laws were enforced as if Mexicans were blacks, and Mexicans completely outside the political power structure. Mexican citizens were deprived of a fair right to participate in Texas government almost as much as blacks and Republicans.
It is simply astounding that Democrats get a "pass" on issues of discrimination based on race, color, or creed. Three time Democrat nominee William Jennings Byran made his famous "Cross of Gold" speech as a direct attack on "Jewish bankers." Woodrow Wilson not only approved of the Ku Klux Klan, but he believed blacks, Asians, and Hispanics were inferior races. The Democrats elected a President, Harry Truman, and a Senate Floor Leader, Robert Byrd, who had both been members of the Ku Klux Klan.
What was the position of Republicans? Were - as the leftist Democrat mantra goes - "both parties just the same"? Emphatically, no. The Republican Party tried to provide equal protection under the law for all persons in America (not just citizens) and when Republicans controlled Congress in the last half of the Nineteenth Century, it passed laws to allow all citizens to vote. Republicans also passed federal statutes outlawing the Ku Klux Klan more than a century ago.
The Republican Party was the first major party to endorse the right of women to vote and Republican presidents opposed anti-Asians legislation in western states. This consistent position of the Republican Party in favor of de jure equality and against any legal or political discrimination appeared in Republican Party platforms almost as early as political parties began formally writing platforms. Consider the Republican Party Platform of 1872, which said:
"Complete liberty and exact equality in enjoyment of all civil, political, and public rights should be established and effectually maintained throughout the Union, by efficient and appropriate State and Federal legislation. Neither the law nor its administration should admit any discrimination in respect of citizens by reason of race, creed, color or previous condition of servitude." (emphasis added)
Mexicans, whatever their citizenship, have another old resentment against the United States: the Mexican-American War, which cost the United States of Mexico almost half of its territory. This war is probably one of the most controversial in American History, and an objective observer can make the case for the expansion of the United States as well as make the case against a war with many indicia of a colonial war of expansion against a sovereign state.
The sentiments of Mexicans, however, is almost universally negative towards the Mexican-American War. Who should they blame for this war? The Republican Party was not in existence at this time, but the Whig Party, which was the primary opposition to the Democrat Party, was almost uniformly opposed to war with Mexico. Abraham Lincoln served a single term in Congress as a Whig, opposed the Mexican-American War.
Ulysses S. Grant, the second Republican president of the United States, was an officer in the United States Army during the Mexican War, but even at the time he opposed the war and particularly opposed bringing slavery into those territories which had been annexed from Mexico, noting that Constitution of Mexico prohibited slavery and that American Democrats wanted war with Mexico to acquire more territory for slave states (a prediction which later turned out to be correct).
Mexico Independence Day is Cinco de Mayo, and the roles of the two American political parties in this equivalent of the Fourth of July also shows a sharp contrast which ought to make Mexicans sympathetic to Republicans and hostile to Democrats. Cinco de Mayo represents the ultimate victory of Benito Juarez, the legitimate President of Mexico and the first elected head of government of American Indian descent in history.
French troops under Louis Napoleon, who was sympathetic to the Confederacy, imposed the Emperor Maximilian upon the Mexican people. Abraham Lincoln, even during the Civil War, diverted desperately needed Union troops to the Mexican border to support Juarez, and after the defeat of the Confederacy, Lincoln (with the unqualified support of the Republican Party) threatened to send the huge, battle hardened Union Army to expel the French - that led to the removal of French soldiers and the defeat and execution of Maximilian.
President Bush and President Fox both embrace free markets. Both men also have grown up in nations or sections of nations in which vast human misery has been caused by two utterly corrupt political parties - the PRI Party of Mexico and the Democrat Party, which ruled despotically one third of the United States. Both men have embraced a common vision of real prosperity and freed for Mexico as a great benefit for the two great nations of Mexico and the United States.
Mexicans on both side of the border should understand that the Republican Party - the party of Abraham Lincoln and George W. Bush - wants now what it has always wanted in the past: a happy, successful, and hopeful Mexico. Democrats and the PRI are leeches that live on despair, resentment, and ignorance. If Juarez were alive, amigos, he would belong to the Party of Lincoln.
Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also
a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.
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