cover image Death of a Nation: Plantation Politics and the Making of the Democratic Party

Death of a Nation: Plantation Politics and the Making of the Democratic Party

Dinesh D’Souza. All Points, $29.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-16377-6

America’s long enslavement by a racist Democratic Party drags on, according to this contrarian right-wing jeremiad. Bestselling conservative pundit D’Souza (The Big Lie) surveys Democratic racial politics going back to the 19th century, when Democrats championed Southern slaveholders before Lincoln and the Republicans crushed them in the Civil War; the party, he continues, then engineered the South’s system of segregation and condoned it through the New Deal and into the 1960s. Even Lyndon Johnson’s landmark civil rights legislation, he insists, was just a cynical ploy that created an “urban plantation” system that traps black Americans in cultures of poverty, violence, and dependence on welfare handouts from government “overseers” in exchange for Democratic votes. D’Souza makes cogent critiques of the Democratic Party’s history of sponsoring slavery and racism, the excesses of left-wing reactions to Trump, and the commonalities in logic between left-wing identity politics and the rhetoric of white nationalists such as Richard Spencer. But his central comparison of the welfare state to slavery is more hyperbole than analysis, and his over-the-top vilification of everything Democratic—he paints Franklin Roosevelt as a “fascist” who “castigated wealthy Republicans and conservatives in the same type of language that Hitler used against the Jews”—makes much of the reading experience akin to viewing the United States in a fun-house mirror. (July)