Uninterested in persuasion or education, this third documentary by Dinesh D’Souza is designed to aggressively reinforce prejudices and hostilities among true believing conservatives as it offers a “history” of the deliberately evil, completely corrupt, America-hating Democrats. D’Souza knows his audience well; they are not just celebrating this contrived work of propaganda as accurate but are also insisting that if only everyone watched it, they’d be forced to change their beliefs. Mostly, Michael Moore’s politics and mine line up, but I would never expect anyone to be persuaded by his contrived cinematic essays.
Early on the film relates the troubling and controversial history of the Democrats, the pro-slavery party before the Civil War and then, for the next century, racist advocates of segregation and Jim Crow laws. D’Souza by omission, distortion, and selective inclusion pretends that this is a “history,” while it is in fact an extended editorial ascribing every kind of crime, oppression, and abuse of power to the Democrats.
Unfortunately there is so much intellectual dishonesty in this film that, as tempting as it would be to detail and counter the distortions, there simply isn’t room. Although in his last film, America: Imagine the World Without Her, he denied that there was a Native American genocide, here he allows for it, but only under Democrat President Andrew Jackson. Ignoring that many Republicans were involved in the creation of Planned Parenthood, he distorts its purpose and history. Evidently only Democrats had political machines and exploited immigrants and the poor in inner city ghettos.
In 2014, D’Souza pleaded guilty to having made illegal political campaign contributions. Revising history in both his last documentary and this one, he celebrates his own martyrdom, portraying the case as a politically motivated attack on him by the Obama administration.
When entering prison, the admitting guard notes that usually those convicted of similar crimes were sent to country club prisons. Instead D’Souza has been assigned to a prison populated by vicious career criminals, obviously at the direction of the administration. The conceit of the prison scenes is a documentary realism, with staged re-creations shot as though cinema verité. D’Souza befriends a tough inmate who teaches him all about how crime works. As the lesson unfolds, D’Souza realizes this is exactly how the Democratic Party operates.
Except the whole sequence is a lie. D’Souza never went to prison, but was instead assigned to a halfway house. In order to damn the Democrats and the administration, D’Souza laments over an unfair treatment that never happened.
Researching the history of the Democrats, D’Souza slips into a hidden back room at national Party headquarters to access the secret files. Later at Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters, he does the same thing. Except these are detective-film fictions designed to suggest that the Democrats and Clinton, well aware of their moral corruption, have hidden the evidence, which only D’Souza is courageous enough to dig out.
There is a certain damning Democrat history, as before the Civil War they were the pro-slavery party, while during the hundred years following the North’s victory in the Civil War, the South was a one-party region, politically dominated by conservative racist Democrats. These so-called Dixiecrats championed segregation and Jim Crow and helped birth the Ku Klux Klan while doing everything they could to disenfranchise blacks.
D’Souza states that full civil rights were achieved when the Republicans lead by Lincoln passed the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, ignoring that these were at best lightly enforced for a century. Suggesting that the goals of the mid-20th century civil rights movement had actually long been achieved. This is the film’s most dishonest claim. First LBJ’s role in passing the landmark civil rights legislation is minimized by having him only offer reluctant support out of concern about the emerging black vote. His crucial role in passing the legislation, even though he was well aware that by doing so he was handing the South politically over to the Republicans, would have undercut D’Souza’s casually offered big lie which followed. Despite all the historic evidence to the contrary, D’Souza claims that the long acknowledged transformation of Southern political leadership from racist Dixiecrat Democrats to conservative Republicans in the wake of that legislation never happened. Instead the new Republican domination came about because the South had become so much less racist.
He saves his greater vitriol for Bill and Hillary Clinton. There is not a charge against them he does not celebrate as fact. Damning Hillary for any and all transgressions, she is portrayed as a wicked witch.
Dishonest in almost every way, the film argues for an America where one party has long been intentionally evil and corrupt while the other is beyond saintly in its goodness. Arguing that those with different beliefs are evil, corrupt, and aggressively un-American is really the most un-American position one can take.
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