One of Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign ads described the pending election as an “opportunity to leave the dark, angry politics of the past behind us.” After the election and his victory, he, the Democrats, and the media urged a “return to civility.” But where’s the civility that they seek to return to?
When Barry Goldwater accepted the 1964 Republican nomination, California’s Democratic Governor Pat Brown said, “The stench of fascism is in the air.”
Former Democratic Representative William Clay Sr. said that President Ronald Reagan was “trying to replace the Bill of Rights with fascist precepts lifted verbatim from ‘Mein Kampf.’”
In 1980, Coretta Scott King said, “I am scared that if Ronald Reagan gets into office, we are going to see more of the Ku Klux Klan and a resurgence of the Nazi Party.”
After the Republicans took control of the House in the mid-’90s, Representative John Dingell compared the newly conservative-majority House to “the Duma and the Reichstag,” referring to the legislature set up by Czar Nicholas II of Russia and the parliament of the German Weimar Republic that brought Hitler to power.
Representative Maxine Waters said about President George Herbert Walker Bush: “I believe [Bush] is a racist for many, many reasons… [He’s] a mean-spirited man who has no care or concern about what happens to the African American community… I truly believe that.”
In 1994, Harlem Democratic Representative Charlie Rangel said regarding the Republican-controlled House, “It’s not ‘s—‘ or ‘n—–‘ anymore. [Republicans] say, ‘Let’s cut taxes.’” A decade later, Rangel said, “George [W.] Bush is our Bull Connor,” referring to the Birmingham, Alabama, Democrat superintendent of public safety who let dogs loose and turned fire hoses on civil rights workers.
In 1999, Donna Brazile, Al Gore’s presidential campaign manager, said that Republicans have a “white boy attitude, [which means] ‘I must exclude, denigrate and leave behind.’ They don’t see it or think about it. It’s a culture.” The next year, Brazile said, “The Republicans bring out Colin Powell and (Rep.) J.C. Watts, (R-Okla.), because they have no program, no policy. … They’d rather take pictures with Black children than feed them.”
Former Vice President Al Gore said about President George W. Bush: “[Bush’s] executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations, from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. … And every day, they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President.”
George Soros, the billionaire Democratic donor, said about George W. Bush: “The Bush administration and the Nazi and communist regimes all engaged in the politics of fear. … Indeed, the Bush administration has been able to improve on the techniques used by the Nazi and communist propaganda machines.”
In 2006 during a speech at the historically Black Fayetteville State University, Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said, “The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side.”
Former Governor Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2005, described the contest between Democrats and Republicans as “a struggle between good and evil.” He also said that “we’re good.” Three years later, Dean referred to the GOP as “the white party.”
After Hurricane Katrina, Democratic Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill said that George W. Bush “let people die on rooftops in New Orleans because they were poor and Black.” In 2001, feminist superlawyer Gloria Allred referred to Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as “Uncle Tom types.”
In 2006, then-Senator Hillary Clinton said, “The [Republican-controlled] House of Representatives … has been run like a plantation. And you know what I’m talking about.”
In 2001, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic National Committee chairwoman, said that “Republicans … want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws.” Looking back at all these instances, when did the Democrats practice the “civility” that they want to return to?