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Demagogue Al Sharpton: The Democratic Party's New 'Civil Rights' Leader

The Democratic Party no longer fights for actual civil rights for African Americans. It has become beholden to race hustlers and demagogues, those who inflame passions based on memories of the real racism that existed decades ago but which is no longer relevant to the present-day American experience.

You will find no better evidence for this assertion than the news last week, as reported in the Washington Post and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Missouri paper explains:

The official autopsy on Michael Brown shows that he was shot in the hand at close range, according to an analysis of the findings by two experts not involved directly in the case.

The accompanying toxicology report shows he had been using marijuana.

Those documents, prepared by the St. Louis County medical examiner and obtained by the Post-Dispatch, provide the most detailed description to date of the wounds Brown sustained in a confrontation Aug. 9 with Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson. 

Evidence shows that Brown was struggling to get officer Wilson’s pistol inside Wilson's car, which is why Brown’s blood was found in the car. Moreover, eyewitnesses also testify to seeing that fight. Judy Melinek, a forensics expert in San Francisco, explains:

The autopsy did not support witnesses who have claimed Brown was shot while running away from Wilson, or with his hands up. [Melinek] said Brown was facing Wilson when Brown took a shot to the forehead, two shots to the chest and a shot to the upper right arm. The wound to the top of Brown’s head would indicate he was falling forward or in a lunging position toward the shooter; the shot was instantly fatal.

What will happen when a grand jury concludes there should be no indictment of Officer Wilson? The scores of protestors in Ferguson have been demanding an indictment, arguing that he represented white racism at its worst, having murdered an innocent young black man in cold blood. Now that claim has been crushed.

The Left has started to challenge the new facts. In Slate, Jamelle Bouie writes a particularly lame and unconvincing retort claiming that the autopsy report only “seemed to support” the account that Wilson was innocent. As he sees it, we still have conflicting reports that prove nothing at all. Predicting “a new round of protests” if the grand jury does not indict, Bouie adds that this explains why the governor has ordered a commission to study “the social and economic conditions that led to the initial August protests.”

The real bug in the ointment, however, is our leading rabble rouser, Reverend Al Sharpton. In this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal, Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has a devastating takedown exposing the real facts about the good reverend. (Subscription required -- but I strongly urge readers to pay for the article. It’s that important.) Titled “The Democratic Embrace of Al Sharpton,” the article traces how the man who was kept at arm’s length during Obama’s 2008 campaign, isolated as unrepresentative of the black community’s views, has now become the single would-be “civil-rights leader.” Sharpton is now the person to whom all Democrats, centrist and liberal alike, kowtow and from whom they seek to gain support and endorsement. Once he “inflamed racial hatred and courted violence,” Mac Donald writes. Now, “he has been rehabilitated into the Democratic Party’s civil-rights leader of choice.”

Rather than keep him out of his circle, Obama himself has embraced him -- most likely on the advice of Valerie Jarrett, who conferred with Sharpton after the Ferguson shooting. Also joining in the praise of Sharpton is Governor Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Reps. Charles Rangel and Jerry Nadler, both from New York City and mainstays of the liberal/left.

As Mac Donald notes, New York City’s left-wing mayor, Bill de Blasio, set in motion the effort to remake Sharpton as a national leader. “The mayor’s alliance with the racial provocateur,” she writes, “is now creating the biggest crisis of his mayoralty.” De Blasio’s own words praising Sharpton are so over the top that they exceed that of any other public figure who is rushing to make him relevant.

The record of Sharpton’s perfidy and illegalities, all outlined by Mac Donald, is so vast that one simply recoils  from shock that such a charlatan has been elevated to national political power. Ms. Mac Donald relates that almost immediately after being elected mayor, de Blasio hired Sharpton’s public relations adviser, Rachel Noerdlinger, to a $170,000 a year job as his chief of staff, a move that “put an Al Sharpton confidante at the center of city power.” Moreover, it was found out that Ms. Noerdlinger, Mac Donald reveals, had failed to disclose in her background check that she was living with an unemployed ex-convict who had served time for killing a man in a fight over a jacket, as well as for drug dealing.

Mac Donald concludes:

Despite Mr. Sharpton’s current mainstream patina, his stock-in-trade has changed little from his Tawana Brawley-Crown Heights days, as the disintegration of his inflammatory narrative about the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., demonstrates. Apart from rare forays into the rhetoric of personal responsibility, he still peddles the dangerous lie that police officers are the greatest threat facing young black men and that racial discrimination is the main force holding blacks back.

Sharpton’s power is based on the use of racial grievance to “elevate those politicians who accede to it," Ms. Mac Donald writes, “while distracting attention from the family and social breakdown afflicting the black community.” As we all know, when black teens murder other black teens, likely in gang-related or drug activity, one never hears a peep from those black citizens who protested after the death of Michael Brown.

The mainstream media is also to blame. They gave untrammeled coverage to the protests in Ferguson, and most commentators argued that it was a legitimate protest against the murder of an innocent and unarmed black youth. Most of them have worked hard not to emphasize that Brown had just robbed a store, was high on marijuana, and was clearly anything but an angel.

Conservative columnists and writers have done a superb job confronting the hard truths. The editors of National Review nail the real issues as does David Horowitz, and in our pages, so has Victor Davis Hanson. Where are similar editorials from the dwindling group of centrist liberals? Remember that Bill Clinton distanced himself from black leftists in his first campaign, in his “Sister Souljah moment.”

Given that the Democrats have evidently decided to endorse the antics of the demagogic Al Sharpton, I don’t think we will be seeing any such statement in the following days. It is yet more evidence of the decline of centrist liberalism.