An op-ed published by CNN on Thursday compares the entire modern Republican party to Southern slaveholders.
Written by Manisha Sinha who serves as the Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut and the author of The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition, the article sets out to answer the question of “what happened the last time a President chose America’s enemies over its friends.”
In her analysis, Sinha makes it clear from the very start that she believes Donald Trump is a flawed president and Russian interference helped get him elected.
“Donald Trump likes to compare himself to Andrew Jackson, but the Andrew he really resembles is Andrew Johnson,” Sinha wrote. “What they have in common are delusions of personal grandeur and a tainted ascent to the presidency. Trump was elected by a minority of the American electorate, with help from the vagaries of the Electoral College system and from considerable Russian interference.”
Continuing her comparison, Sinha then notes that the 1886 midterms had some striking similarities to 2018.
Johnson “played the race card, arguing that giving African-Americans rights would weaken whites’ rights. He called his political opponents traitors, even leading members of his own party,” Sinha wrote.
She added: “Trump works from the same playbook. He has called white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, ‘very fine people,’ has viciously attacked President [Barack] Obama, Hillary Clinton, the United States government and our European allies, and cozies up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
Johnson’s tactics backfired in 1866 and he ultimately faced impeachment, something Sinha credits to the fact Congressional Republicans in the 1860’s “put their country before a traitorous President.”
Then, after lamenting that few Congressional Republicans are willing to stand up to Trump today, Sinha compares the entire modern GOP to slaveholders “of yore.”
“The Republican Party, like Southern slaveholders of yore, is rapidly becoming an anti-democratic force willing to sacrifice the country, democratic institutions and the sanctity of the electoral process to protect its political power and enact its reactionary political and economic agenda,” Minha wrote before concluding with a quote from a president that Trump once said he beat in popularity.
The piece has a disclaimer at the top that this is an opinion piece and that “the opinions expressed in this commentary are hers” but based on the specific comparisons she makes that may not be enough of a disclaimer for some.
[images via screengrab, Library of Congress]
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