I just heard Hillary Clinton say: “The Democratic Party has always been at the forefront of civil rights and women’s rights.”
The same U.S. Democratic Party that upheld slavery? that imposed the Jim Crow laws? that opposed women’s suffrage? that interned the Japanese? that sponsored the Klan?
The “forefront” of the struggle for the rights of women and of minorities has always been outside the framework of either of the major parties. Even after the Democratic Party decided in the 1960s to reinvent itself as the champion of women and blacks, its actual support for these causes was always tepid and lagged far behind the actions of private citizens on the ground.
Here, as so often, government (in Paine’s words) “robs industry of its honours, by pedantically making itself the cause of its effects; and purloins from the general character of man, the merits that appertain to him as a social being.”