Clinton-Kaine echoes history: A new chapter in epic N.Y.-Virginia relationship

tags: Hillary Clinton, election 2016, Obama, Trump

Manisha Sinha is the Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and author of “The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition. ”

The Democratic Party nomination of Hillary Clinton of New York for President and Tim Kaine of Virginia for vice president is historic — and not just because a woman for the first time in American history heads the ticket of a major party.

The political alliance Clinton-Kaine represents is as old as the American Republic itself: The Empire State and the Commonwealth of Virginia have played starring roles in American history since the country’s founding. ...

Everything we know about the Democratic Party and the Republican Party today should simply be flipped for the age of the Civil War. The Democratic Party became the party of conservatism and the South, while the party of Lincoln was a progressive, anti-slavery party whose base lay in the North. It took another hundred years for the Republican Party to be transformed into the party of big business and the Deep South, where Lincoln did not receive a single electoral vote, and for the Democratic Party to emerge as the party of civil rights, labor unions and government intervention in the economy.

Today we are confronted with a Republican presidential candidate, a narcissistic ignoramus whose disrespect of American political traditions and its constitutional order is unprecedented. How apt, then, that the Democratic Party ticket represents the revival of the old New York-Virginia nexus, which not only paved the way for the adoption of the Constitution, but also bequeathed a long-lasting and functioning electoral democracy.

The signal difference is that the current New York-Virginia alliance embodied in the Clinton-Kaine ticket is as broad and inclusive as its previous incarnations were exclusive. It represents everyone’s democracy against one of the gravest threats to the American Republic in modern times.

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