Originally posted at The New American by Troy Anderson.
In an explosive new film that Rotten Tomatoes’ critics gave a “zero percent” rating, but audiences gave a “90 percent” score, conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza exposes the Democratic Party’s “big lie” that President Donald Trump, Republicans, and conservatives are racists and fascists.
In the film Death of a Nation: Can We Save America a Second Time? the New York Times best-selling author argues that Democrats and progressives are the intellectual heirs of the slavery of African-Americans and genocide of Native Americans, and that their policies helped inspire the Nazis and the Holocaust.
The film, which is igniting a national debate about the largely unknown and long-hidden history of the Democratic Party, compares the political environment Trump faces today with the one that America’s first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, experienced during the Civil War.
“I think the response [to the film] has been fantastic,” D’Souza says.
The audiences love the movie, and it’s very revealing, if you go on Rotten Tomatoes—which is sort of the official movie review site—the professional critics, who are almost entirely on the left, like the movie zero percent.
The audience ranked it at (90 percent on August 11). I’ve never seen such a wide discrepancy between the critics’ assessment and the audience’s assessment. Normally, there is about a 10-20 percent gap because the critics are a subset of the larger audience, and not a representative one. What the zero percent really tells me is these are people who despise the movie, and the reason they despise the movie is because the movie is a 90 percent refutation of everything they believe. Now, they are not smart enough to refute it, so the best that they can do is let out a primal yell, and their primal yell, is a zero percent rating.
In an exclusive interview with The New American, D’Souza discussed the film, what his research and interviews with prominent experts revealed, and the impact the movie is having on America.
The New American: In your controversial new film that’s igniting a political firestorm—Death of a Nation: Can We Save America a Second Time?—you note that not since 1860 have the Democrats so adamantly refused to accept the results of a presidential election. In those days, their target was Abraham Lincoln. In the film, you make the case that there is an eerie similarity between the situations faced by Trump now and President Lincoln then. Why did you make this comparison and what do you see as the similarities?
Dinesh D’Souza: Well, here are the main similarities. In 1860, an outsider was a favorite and was elected. That outside candidate happened to be a Republican, in fact, the first Republican president.
Lincoln won in a very narrow race that he wasn’t expected to win. The only reason he won is that the Democrats fielded two candidates and split the Democratic vote. The moment Lincoln was elected all hell broke loose. There were calls by the northern Democrats and some southern Democrats for Lincoln to be assassinated, which actually happened later.
The southern Democrats were so unwilling to abide by the results of the election that they were willing to break up the country.
Now, look at how similar that is to what we’ve been facing in this country for two years. When Trump was first elected I thought that much of the craziness was reflected in the immediate disappointment that inevitably follows a very close election, but that the disappointment, and even rage, would soon subside as people accepted, however reluctantly, the results of the democratic process.
But, no, we have seen for two years now uninterrupted efforts to either establish the illegitimacy of Trump’s presidency — he’s a racist, he’s a fascist — and use this as a pretext for ejecting him from office. So in an 1860 moment in America, the similarities in politics are not deniable. There is nothing going on now that resembles the Reagan era. You have to go all the way back to Lincoln to make sense of our current situation.
TNA: This comparison between President Lincoln and President Trump is generating an outcry on the left. President Lincoln is often named in polls as among America’s best presidents, and yet about half the country seems to loathe President Trump. What many people may be unaware of is that Lincoln was the first Republican elected president. What kind of reaction are you getting to this?
D’Souza: Well, remember that Lincoln, like Trump, was extremely controversial in his own time. The secular sainthood that is conferred on Lincoln only came after his assassination. He wasn’t perceived that way in his time. Number one, he was considered an extremist, and number two, he was considered a tyrant. Notice the close similarities between what people said about Lincoln then and what people say about Trump now.
TNA: One of the most surprising things revealed in the film is that the Democratic Party was behind slavery, was historically linked to the Ku Klux Klan, and has a long history of racism, yet Democrats and progressives today have accused Republicans of racism. What is going on here?
D’Souza: Most of the horrific crimes that we associate with racism from slave plantations through segregation/Jim Crow, racial terrorism, the Ku Klux Klan—all of this was done by Democrats, largely with the encouragement of the Democratic Party.
Now the Democratic Party has never acknowledged its role in any of this. Democrats and progressives today try to foist the blame onto the American Founders, and onto the South, and onto their own country itself, but never onto the one place where it truly belongs, namely themselves.
And so what we are seeing today is a big lie, an intellectual and political scam, which is blaming the very Republicans who fought against the Democrats all the way. Republicans are, in fact, the party of emancipation, opposing and shutting down the Ku Klux Klan, opposing segregation, and providing more support for the civil rights movement of the 1960s than Democrats did.
TNA: It seems from watching the movie that the cause of the Civil War was limited to slavery. Was there no more involved in the Civil War than the North and South lining up to settle the issue of slavery?
D’Souza: The Civil War was mainly, though not exclusively, about the issue of whether slavery should be permitted to spread into the new federal territories. Other issues like tariffs also played a role, but they were subordinate to the slavery issue. Secession when it came was over slavery, as Alexander Stephens, a Democrat and vice president of the Confederacy, admitted in his Cornerstone Speech.
TNA: While the film explores the Democratic Party’s historical support of slavery, the Left has made the argument in recent decades that Republicans and Democrats essentially switched positions over the years, especially during the battle for civil rights in the 1960s. You addressed this in the film. What is your response to this claim?
D’Souza: There is no basis for it. The truth of it is that when you list the Dixiecrats —a group that numbered between 100 and 200—we are talking about senators, congressmen, and in some case governors, these are either people who joined the racist Dixiecrat party or voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. You can ask how many of these Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and the answer is there are two.
In the Senate, one guy: Strom Thurmond. In the House, one guy: Albert Watson. All the other racist Dixiecrats remained in the Democratic Party. They died as Democrats. They were lionized at their deaths. There are buildings named after them in Washington, D.C.
In the case of one of them, Robert Byrd, Hillary [Clinton] called him her mentor and [President Barack] Obama eulogized him at his funeral. So the actual Dixiecrats all stayed in the Democratic Party, and the notion that they came over to the Republican camp is simply a fiction, but a fiction that is widely taught, and therefore, widely believed.
TNA: Beyond these revelations about the Democrats, the film also explores the impact that the party’s policies—including those that resulted in the decimation of Native Americans in the 1800s—had on Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party’s rampage, which led to the Holocaust and the deaths of millions of Jews and others during World War II. Some of the film’s critics have called this argument into question, saying it goes too far. What would you say in response to them?
D’Souza: Well, I just read an article in the Washington Post, an attack on the movie. The headline said, “Dinesh D’Souza claims Hitler was a liberal.” Now, this calls for a qualification of what I said.
No reasonable person who saw my movie would conclude that I think Hitler was a liberal. Here is what I do say, that Hitler and the Nazis got some of their most hideous and even murderous schemes from American progressives and from the American Democratic Party. Now this is an indisputable fact.
Not only do I dramatize it in the movie, I extensively discuss it in my book with citations, chapter and verse. A case in point, there is a scene in the movie where the Nazis were drafting the Nuremberg laws, the laws that made Jews into second-class citizens. They were sitting around a table and they had in their hands the Democratic laws of the Jim Crow South.
Now someone watching the movie might say, ‘Dinesh, where are you getting this?’ And the answer is I’m getting it from Yale [Law School] legal scholar James Whitman and his book Hitler’s American Model.
Now, interestingly Whitman puts the blame on America, not the Democrats, even though all the segregation laws of the Democratic South were passed by Democratic legislatures and signed by Democratic governors.
This isn’t something America did. This is something the Democrats did. Well, the Nazis knew about it, and so they have these laws in their hands and essentially what they are doing is making the laws, the Democratic laws, the model for the Nuremberg laws. They are crossing out the world “black” and writing the word “Jew.”
The Germans are getting this from their Democratic counterparts. This is unquestionable in the historical record. No one can challenge it. If the Washington Post accused me of that [falsely claiming that Germans based anti-Jewish laws on Democrat laws] they would have no reputation. They would have to admit I was right, so they don’t do that. They pretend like I’m saying Hitler is a liberal, so prima facie they make it seem like I’m a kook, but that’s not what I’m saying and in fact my arguments are very well documented. They have no answer, and that’s why they have to lie about it.
TNA: A key theme running through the film is what Hitler described as the “big lie.” What is the “big lie,” and how have Democrats and progressives employed this political strategy to their advantage in the battle for hearts and minds, and votes, in America?
D’Souza: Well, when Hitler talked about the “big lie,” he was not saying that he, Hitler, was telling big lies. He was blaming the “big lie” on Jews, but nevertheless, he had something insightful to say about lies in general.
Hitler says that if you have a small lie it’s easy to check out. For example, if someone were to say something to you like, “Your wife is cheating on you.” Well, you would say, “How do you know? Who told you that? Did you take any photographs? Show me.” In other words, you’re able to verify whether this lie is true, whether you are being lied to. You can check it out.
But Hitler’s point is if someone makes a big lie it’s difficult to get your head around it and, therefore, difficult to refute it. Let’s take something like: Fascism is right-wing. It’s a right-wing phenomenon. If you tell that to the ordinary guy, or even the educated guy, he wouldn’t know how to go about making sense of that or refuting it.
In fact, how do people get to know such things? I’ll run into educated people and they go, “Everybody knows that fascism is right-wing.” And I’m like, how do you know? And they will say something like this: “Well, you know, I was at Barnes & Noble and I saw a book about it. I turned on NPR, and I heard something about it. I was watching this thing on the History Channel, and there it was: Fascism is right-wing. So, I’ve been hearing it from here and hearing it from there, so it’s got to be true.”
Now, the important thing to realize is that all these sources have been shaped by progressive historiography. In other words, a professor somewhere wrote a book about how fascism is right-wing, and his colleagues, who are also on the left, said, “Great book.” And then The New York Review of Books reviewed it and said it’s an “Excellent book.” And then NPR came and interviewed the guy and featured him on their program All Things Considered. And then the History Channel interviewed him for their account of World War II.
So, here is my point, the person who thinks he is getting seven independent sources of knowledge is not actually getting seven independent sources of knowledge. It’s the same bullet ricocheting from one wall to another, and since it’s coming at you from all these different directions, you think, “Oh, wow, it’s being confirmed from one source to the other and therefore it must be true.”
So coming back to Hitler, what Hitler is basically saying is it’s easier to sell a big lie than it is a small lie, and I think that the progressives recognizing this had sort of taken a page from that handbook and realized that: “You know what, even though there was close collaboration between the left and fascists prior to World War II, not a whole lot of people know that, and if we don’t put it in the textbooks, if we don’t talk about it in our classrooms, and we don’t make any movies about it, and we don’t write any Broadway plays about it, no one is going to find out. In fact, no one is even going to think that this occurred because we have essentially not left any footprints for people to know this,” and so that’s how I think these big lies become consolidated. It’s easy to sell big lies when you are dominant in academia, the media, and the entertainment industry—all three.
TNA: The midterm elections are coming up, and then in 2020, Trump will run for reelection. In your films, you’ve explored the danger America faces if progressives and Democrats retake the White House and Congress. In this latest film, you’re essentially warning that Democrats and progressives helped inspire the Nazis and all kinds of terrible things in history. What are your concerns about these upcoming elections and the dangers that Democrats pose to America?
D’Souza: I think the greatest danger has been averted, and that is, had Hillary won the presidential election, a lot of this disruption, a lot of this mobilization of the Left and the state against opponents, all of this would have been swept under the rug. We wouldn’t even know about it.
So with Trump’s election alone, a change is under way. Now Trump, of course, has been startlingly effective in achieving his agenda. Some people thought at the beginning that he was just a blowhard who might write pungent tweets, but not know how to get things done. Trump is getting a lot of things done.
Now, the Democrats want to stop him and, certainly, if they take either branch of Congress, they will be able to slow him down. If they don’t get the Senate, which I don’t think they will, they won’t be able to stop him from tilting the balance of the Supreme Court and certainly he remains completely in charge of foreign policy, so they will not be able to stop him on that either.
So the Democrats are a long way from taking the country, possibly for a decade or more. And they would have to be considered the underdogs in being able to defeat Trump the second time around so that I’m not, when I use the title Death of a Nation, by no means am I suggesting that America is finished; it’s time to give up. Nonsense.
It’s the opposite. Look, by us being aware and knowing what is going on and deconstructing these false narratives and big lies, we become really powerful and dangerous Americans—dangerous in the good sense of being dangerous to tyrannical forces that want to sort of control and run our lives. And so, I’m trying to motivate people, educate them, inspire them, fire them up, and get them to be more active and more involved in restoring America rather than seeing America go down.
TNA: Ultimately, the film asks whether President Trump and this nation’s citizens can come together and save America for a second time. Considering the reaction that you’ve gotten so far to the film, what do you think?
D’Souza: I think the jury is out on that one. I think that Trump continues to be a massively divisive figure, as Lincoln was. The country was only unified in 1865 when one side was defeated.
There was not a meeting in the middle, but a complete annihilation of one side by the other, leading to unification of the country on Northern Republican principles, rather than Southern Democratic principles.
I think that Trump’s approach is not to ask (for compromise), but to strike back when he’s attacked. I think this is actually the correct approach. There are Republicans who are squeamish about it. They want to live in the Reagan era of gentlemanly politics. I want to live in that era also.
But that is not the America we have now. If we let groups like Antifa keep acting out, they are going to do what they keep doing. And if we allow the Democrats to use the weapons of the state—the IRS, the DOJ, the FBI—against their political opponents with impunity, they will keep doing it.
That’s why I support a more aggressive approach to stopping them because the only way to prevent them from doing it to us is to show a willingness to do it to them, to show a willingness to fight back and uphold the rule of law, and to hold people accountable.
I think the way we get to a more unified, stable, law abiding, and civil environment in this country is, paradoxically, for Republicans not to hide under their desks or run for the exit, but rather to resist the Democrats by patiently but firmly recognizing that ultimately only a taste of their own medicine will bring them to their senses.
Read more at The New American.
Lincoln united his party and saved America from the Democrats for the first time. Can Trump—and we—come together and save America for the second time?
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