Furthest Right

We Live In a (Federal) Tammany Hall

Most people have no idea what has happened to American democracy, so let us rip off the bandaid and say clearly: it has been taken over by a political machine that, per the nature of such things, makes deals with its enemies.

Political machines follow a long American tradition of using immigrant votes to keep permanent power for a uniparty run by cronyism, starting with Tammany Hall in New York City:

Political machine, in U.S. politics, a party organization, headed by a single boss or small autocratic group, that commands enough votes to maintain political and administrative control of a city, county, or state.

The rapid growth of American cities in the 19th century, a result of both immigration and migration from rural areas, created huge problems for city governments, which were often poorly structured and unable to provide services. In those conditions, political machines—such as Tammany Hall, run by boss William Magear Tweed (1823–73) in New York City—were able to build a loyal voter following, especially among immigrant groups, by performing such favours as providing jobs or housing.

Political machines are characterized by a disciplined and hierarchical organization, reaching down to neighbourhood and block organizers, that enables the machine to respond to the problems of individual neighbourhoods, or even families, in exchange for loyalty at the polls.

Organizers who “deliver” the votes are often rewarded with patronage jobs. However, patronage can result in poorer service to the citizens because appointees may be neither qualified for their jobs nor interested in performing them. Control of both elective and appointed posts also gives a machine control of government salaries and revenues, which can be used to enrich the party at the public’s expense. For example, the machine may accept donations or kickbacks from businesses in return for such favours as tax or zoning concessions or the award of lucrative public-works contracts.

In cities whose neighbourhoods are divided along ethnic or racial lines, machine patronage may aggravate hostilities by awarding most jobs and services to those people of the same background as the city’s power elite.

The Left originally ran its political machines through the Irish vote:

Although they had been arriving in large numbers since the beginning of the nation, the 1845 Irish potato famine sped up the influx. By 1860, 200,000 people, nearly one-quarter of the city’s population, were Irish Catholics, many of them often illiterate and unable even to speak English, transforming what had been an overwhelmingly Protestant, Anglo-Saxon city. Other convulsions in Europe would bring waves of Italians, Eastern European Jews, Poles, Slavs, and others. Instead of renouncing or attacking them, Tammany recruited them.

Immigrants provided Tammany with an army. By the Civil War, most cities in the United States had at least one political machine. While some places, including Chicago, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati, boasted competing organizations from each party, the machine was primarily a Democratic institution. Republicans carried the taint of the anti-immigrant, Nativist, and Know-Nothing parties they had absorbed, and the GOP was made up largely of men who were geographically as well as temperamentally more difficult to pack into a machine: yeoman farmers, small businessmen, entrepreneurs.

These political machines both exist within parties and between them since they control who gets a shot at being in power, meaning that only those loyal to the Machine take any kind of public office or have an advanced title at their private industry jobs:

Tweed became a powerful figure in Tammany Hall—New York City’s Democratic political machine—in the late 1850s. By the mid 1860s, he had risen to the top position in the organization and formed the “Tweed Ring,” which openly bought votes, encouraged judicial corruption, extracted millions from city contracts, and dominated New York City politics. The Tweed Ring reached its peak of fraudulence in 1871 with the remodeling of the City Court House, a blatant embezzlement of city funds that was exposed by The New York Times. Tweed and his flunkies hoped the criticism would blow over, but thanks to the efforts of opponents such as Harper’s Weekly political cartoonist Thomas Nast, who conducted a crusade against Tweed, virtually every Tammany Hall member was swept from power in the elections of November 1871.

Because they are both gatekeeper and kingmaker, Machines quickly control every level of the political system from top to bottom:

Tammany Hall, the outgrowth of an 18th-century political society, had ruled New York’s Democratic Party (and the city itself) for over a century. In a time before public welfare, Tammany’s political bosses helped their hangers-on with everything from heating to health care, negotiating with landlords and sometimes paying in exchange for constituents’ votes. Party members provided strength in numbers, voting their candidates into office over and over again.

By the 1930s, Tammany had woven its way into every level of city politics—and it was controlled by the New York Mob. Graft and cronyism ruled many facets of city government, including the judicial system and police department. Elected officials handed out appointments to their friends, providing them with access to bribes and power, and most institutions prioritized helping Democrats who had shown their loyalty to Tammany instead of serving all constituents equally.

These Machines rely on the diversity vote, since the diversity votes against the majority, so all that must be done to win an election is to propose something other than the obvious working solution, since diversity demand civilization suicide:

Chicago’s large immigrant population made it easier for political machines to grow in power. Poor ethnic communities could be played off against one another and manipulated with petty gifts. In exchange for political support, ethnicities would be given virtual fiefdoms within city government; the Irish, for example, were given police work, and the Italians jobs at the transit authority.

Of course, none of this was unique to Chicago. New York City had large immigrant populations and the notorious political machine at Tammany Hall.

Political Machines operate like gangs, cults, or mafias with unwritten rules based in loyalty to the machine and not the best interests of the community:

The Chicago Machine relies on unwritten rules to recruit new members and control existing ones. The machine’s unwritten rules are very similar to those of organized crime families and street gangs. Machine recruiters don’t hand new members a manual containing the rules. New machine members learn the organization’s customs and norms through their elders or by trial and error.

The machine relies on peer and social pressure to enforce its rules. The machine does not physically beat or murder those who violate the rules. Nonetheless, the machine metes out punishment including excommunication, loss of jobs, loss of contracts, public humiliation, or inspections that lead to hefty fines and loss of income. People who live in Chicago know why you “don’t fight City Hall.” If you dare challenge City Hall, the machine will apply its unlimited city resources to make you pay.

Machine members will tell you the machine doesn’t exist. It’s in the best interest of the machine to make you believe there is no such thing as a political machine. The machine doesn’t want voters like you to know there is a political organization manipulating your vote. The machine relies on votes from the unsuspecting public to manufacture patronage jobs, political power, campaign contributions, and income for members who make the machine’s candidates invincible at the polls.

It makes its money through influence peddling and kickbacks:

The machine doesn’t sell drugs or weapons. Its stock and trade is political influence and power. The machine has control of city, county, and state taxes and often uses the money it collects as its own. At the very least, the machine’s elected officials trade government services for campaign contributions, which is why Jay Stone has sought a ban on political contributions from companies and people who do business with the city.

Everything the machine does is designed to get its members reelected so the machine can hold on to its political power and control government jobs and the taxes it collects. The machine is easy to get along with provided you play the machine’s game. If you ask members of the machine for help with problems concerning city, county, or state government, you can have it provided you help enough influential political machine members get what they want.

Notoriously incompetent, just like in the third world, the members of the political system come to be chosen for their loyalty instead of ability, resulting in rule by stupidity:

Organizers who “deliver” the votes are often rewarded with patronage jobs. However, patronage can result in poorer service to the citizens because appointees may be neither qualified for their jobs nor interested in performing them.

Machines tend to go by the “warm bodies” standard, i.e. that more warm bodies is better than fewer, and frequently use diversity as a military weapon:

The 1860s brought the Civil War and a desperate need for soldiers, leading to greater acceptance of new arrivals who were willing to join the Union Army.

In order to swell their ranks and have larger armies, political machines support open borders:

There was also much fraud in naturalization, most notoriously in New York City, where the Democratic political organization, Tammany Hall, would routinely arrange mass naturalization “ceremonies,” if they can be called that, before tame local judges, often in close proximity to election day.

As known to the ancients like Aristotle, those who wish to rule in order to grow and maintain power at the expense of the community always opt for the support of a foreign bloc:

The guard of a legitimate king is composed of citizens: that of a tyrant is composed of foreigners.

It is a habit of tyrants never to like anyone who has a spirit of dignity and independence. The tyrant claims a monopoly of such qualities for himself; he feels that anybody who asserts a rival dignity, or acts with independence, is threatening his own superiority and the despotic power of his tyranny; he hates him accordingly as a subverter of his own authority. It is also a habit of tyrants to prefer the company of aliens to that of citizens at table and in society; citizens, they feel, are enemies, but aliens will offer no opposition.

In fact, as Plato notes, the tyrants prefer not just foreigners, but poor and low-IQ foreigners:

And who are the devoted band, and where will he procure them?

They will flock to him, he said, of their own accord, if lie pays them.

By the dog! I said, here are more drones, of every sort and from every land.

Political machines drew unwanted attention because they operated hand-in-hand with organized crime. Even during the 1980s, mafia-machine connections were becoming more prevalent:

So many connections have been made that some agents have had to draw up color-coded charts (Gambino, blue; Lucchese, yellow; Colombo, pink; Genovese, red; Bonanno, green) to help them keep track of the complicated web linking the hoods and the city’s political machine.

“The mob has always had some influence in politics, and in the past, they even had their own candidates in one or two key spots,” said Ron Goldstock, head of the state’s Organized Crime Task Force. “But now we are beginning to see evidence of a pervasive presence. It’s practically open. We’ve even begun to see partnerships in which mobsters and city officials were in business together.”

Welfare goes hand-in-hand with political machines, which like to buy allegiance with charity:

Coughlin and his partner, Mike “Hinky Dink” Kenna, also took a financial interest in—meaning they collected protection money from—saloons throughout the First Ward. Soon, the two men had a foolproof system going. Anyone out of work or down on his luck—say, a man who had fallen into the bottle—could show up at one of their saloons and find cheap lodging at one of their bathhouses. Come election day, the grateful lodger would be trotted out to the local polling place with an already-filled-in ballot hidden in his pocket. There, he would accept a clean ballot from a poll worker, slip the already-completed one into the box, and return to the bathhouse, where he’d be paid 50 cents or even a dollar for the clean ballot. The fresh ballot was then filled in by bright young lads like my grandfather, who were eager to move up the ranks of the machine, and handed back to the bathhouse legion. Then off the lads would go to another polling place, to repeat the process for as long as the polls were open.

Even more, they tend to be liberal:

New York’s Tammany Hall, the first, mightiest, and most feared of the political machines, went online on May 12, 1789—less than two weeks after George Washington took the oath as president in the same city.

The Society of St. Tammany was named for Tamanend, a legendary chief of the Delaware who had obligingly signed much of his people’s land over to William Penn. Tammany always had a populist tinge. It was founded as a counterweight to the Society of the Cincinnati, a club started by Washington’s officers that many feared would serve as the seedbed of a hereditary American nobility. Tammany, by contrast, adopted many of the trappings of the French Revolution, with the Phrygian cap and admonitions such as “no slave nor tyrant enters” carved over the portals of its clubhouses.

They quickly learned to embrace foreigners:

But “the organization”—as machine leaders preferred to call it—began its recovery on April 24, 1817, when the future arrived in the form of a mob of Irish-Americans, who literally stormed Tammany’s meeting hall and smashed up the place. The Irish were enraged that the society had refused to endorse the popular, Irish-born orator, Thomas Addis Emmett, for Congress. From the start, Tammany had limited its membership to “pure Americans,” meaning native-born citizens. But now that changed in a hurry. The machine had just been crashed by a perfect growth opportunity: immigrants.

Although they had been arriving in large numbers since the beginning of the nation, the 1845 Irish potato famine sped up the influx. By 1860, 200,000 people, nearly one-quarter of the city’s population, were Irish Catholics, many of them often illiterate and unable even to speak English, transforming what had been an overwhelmingly Protestant, Anglo-Saxon city. Other convulsions in Europe would bring waves of Italians, Eastern European Jews, Poles, Slavs, and others. Instead of renouncing or attacking them, Tammany recruited them.

Our current Leftist government in fact celebrates political machines for their progressive politics:

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Irish Americans became a powerful political force in U.S. cities. Building on principles of loyalty to the individual and the organization, they helped build political machines capable of getting the vote. Though remembered most for their perceived corruption, these political machines created social services long before they were politically mandated by national political movements.
Dick Croker leaving Tammany Hall, 1900

Political machines held sway in several major American cities, from New York to San Francisco. New York’s Tammany political machine was under Irish American control for more than fifty years. William R. Grace became New York City’s first Irish American mayor in 1880. Four years later, Hugh O’Brien won the same position in Boston.

In fact, many of these political machines had an Irish character and bought votes with progressive-style entitlements:

For immigrants and the poor in many large U.S. cities, the political boss represented a source of patronage jobs.

Jim Pendergast was a Kansas City alderman who for 18 years reached out to his fellow Irishmen and to various other immigrant groups. During the peak of his power, he not only hand picked his own mayor, James A. Reed, but every other key office at City Hall. In 1900 the Pendergasts elected their first mayor and replaced Republican city workers with their supporters. This allowed Jim’s brother Tom to become the Superintendent of Streets, which allowed him to hire 200 workers and buy material and equipment for the street-paving program

Tom Pendergast became very popular in Kansas City, because he fed the poor and provided thousands of jobs, and those people he helped often repaid him by voting “early and often” on election day. From his Democratic club headquarters, Tom Pendergast promoted a wide-open town where every form of vice was well organized and easily obtained.

The headlines from that day could be from the news in a few months:

A short time later, after the Kansas City election of 1936, the Kansas City Star published detailed evidence of illegal registration of voters; and Federal Judge Albert L. Reeves charged a grand jury to investigate election procedures. The U. S. District Attorney Milligan began prosecution of machine workers charged with election frauds. In a series of 19 trials, 287 persons were convicted in Federal court without a single acquittal. Governor Stark thereupon appointed a non-political election board for the city, which succeeded in removing some 60,000 illegal registrations from the poll-lists.

Political machines and organized crime worked together to dominate communities through gang-style enforcement:

“The creation of modern-day organized crime,” Robert M. Lombardo (2013) noted, can be located in the “interdependencies between machine politicians, vice entrepreneurs, and criminal gangs” in the late 19th and early 20th century urban landscape: Criminal groups provided financial and electoral support for elected officials, who reciprocated with political protection and patronage.

These mafia-machine-entrepreneur nexuses eventually set their sights on the presidency:

Through their control of liquor and vice-markets in southern Manhattan, Tammany’s stronghold, the Italian-American Mafias and Jewish-heritage gangs that made up the New York Mob had developed growing power in Tammany affairs over the preceding years.

The Mob leadership now saw a huge strategic opportunity at the Democratic National Convention to leverage that power into something even bigger: influence over the next occupant of the White House.

We have no reason to think that anything has changed. In particular, the strategy for dealing with these clowns — to stand back and appoint a special investigator — remains consistent:

Roosevelt responded to the split by issuing a statement denouncing civic corruption, while carefully noting that he had not seen adequate evidence to date to warrant the prosecution of sitting Tammany leaders, despite an ongoing investigation run by an independent-minded prosecutor, Sam Seabury.

Seabury quickly exposed significant Tammany graft in the New York administration. The city sheriff had amassed $400,000 in savings from a job that paid $12,000 a year. The mayor had awarded a bus contract to a company that owned no buses – but was happy to give him a personal line of credit. A judge with half a million dollars in savings had been granted a loan to support 34 “relatives” found to be in his care. Against the backdrop of Depression New York, with a collapsing private sector, 25 percent unemployment and imploding tax revenues, this was shocking profligacy and nepotism.

Organized crime had flexed its muscle through political machines before, but began to influence on a national scale:

In 1983, Teamsters president Roy Williams, Teamsters Central States Pension Fund broker Allen Dorfman, and Joseph Lombardo (Chicago Outfit) were convicted of conspiring to bribe US Senator Howard S. Cannon to help shelve a trucking deregulation bill (PCOC 1983; United States v. Williams). The New Orleans crime family, during Carlos Marcello’s reign from 1947 to the late 1980s, exerted enormous influence in Louisiana politics. For decades, the Outfit controlled the First Ward in downtown Chicago. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Patriarca family exercised strong influence over politics and government operations in New England. Buddy Cianci, who was mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, from 1975 to 1984, when he was sent to prison, and again from 1991 to 2002, when he was again sent to prison, had a close relationship with the Patriarcas (Trotter 2014). Cosa Nostra had a strong presence in New Haven from the 1950s to the 1980s. First, the Colombo family was dominant and then the Patriarcas. Youngstown, Ohio, was notoriously entangled with Cosa Nostra from the 1950s to the 1990s; there was a close relationship between organized crime figures and city politicians.

Starting in the 1980s, organized crime in this country began to take on a Chinese character, as we know from law enforcement sources at the time:

“Asian organized crime will end up being the No. 1 organized crime problem in North America in the next five years,” said Jon D. Elder, Chief of Police in Monterey Park, a town where a local supermarket is built to resemble a Chinese palace and the streets are lined with shops like the Golden Shark Restaurant, Ma’s Acupuncture and East-West Real Estate.

“In my humble opinion,” Mr. Elder said, “they’ll make the Sicilian Mafia look like a bunch of Sunday school kids.”

From 1970 to 1980, according to the Census Bureau, the number of Chinese in the United States jumped 85 percent, to 806,027 from 435,062. In 1984 alone, nearly 50,000 ethnic Chinese from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan settled in the United States, making them the second largest group of legal immigrants after Mexicans, figures from the Immigration and Naturalization Service show.

As this demographic rose in numbers, it also rose in power since with numbers comes money and the ability to be self-referential, meaning that it supports its own members instead of adopting whatever the majority does.

This creates a niche market, and political machines love niche markets, much as they did with the Irish and later Southern, Eastern, and Mediterranean Europeans.

We know that Chinese money got the Clintons started and that the Clintons, at least peripherally, are connected to whatever political machine unites Pelosi, Obama, Biden, and various co-opted members of the Republican party.

Political machines, like all tyrants, operate only to gain power and keep power, which requires that they suppress any competition, a category which includes both alternatives and dissidents.

They make deals with anyone who offers them the right money and the ability to stay in control, much like some societies once made tribute payments to the Mongols under Genghis Khan.

As we try to explain what has happened to America, it makes sense to look at the convergence between political machines, large investment firms like BlackRock, progressive politics, organized crime, and foreign powers with an interest in weakening America.

We are now ruled by a national political machine, headquarted out of the “Deep State” (permanent bureaucracy created by the administrative state) in the Washington Beltway area. It operates just like Tammany Hall did but on a larger scale.

If history holds true to pattern, as it tends to do, this group will operate with impunity until a special prosecutor, military investigation, or law enforcement agency does an investigation and starts splitting off the members of the conspiracy by finding their misdeeds.

Since the Clintons have controlled the DOJ starting in the 1990s, this leaves fewer options than in the past, and explains why the Clintons are so central to the nationwide political machine.

For more information on political machines like Tammany Hall, see our ongoing series of articles here, here, here, here, and here.

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