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Preaching to the converted

With Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza continues his unwavering assault on the Democratic Party and unswerving devotion to the Republican Party, as demonstrated in his documentary features 2016: Obama’s America (2012) and America: Imagine the World Without Her (2014).

Hey, if Michael Moore can rouse the left wing, then D’Souza can likewise rouse the right wing. Turnabout is fair play, one supposes.

As the new film opens, we see D’Souza being sentenced in 2014 for making illegal political contributions, which he attributes to his constant criticism of the Democratic Party (he did plead guilty, incidentally). He doesn’t blame the Democrats for his divorce or resigning his position as president of The King’s College shortly thereafter, at least. Actually, he doesn’t mention either.

When he’s not calling Hillary and Bill Clinton “depraved crooks” or comparing them to Bonnie and Clyde, D’Souza and co-director Bruce Schooley offer a blanket condemnation of the Democratic Party and a blanket endorsement of the Republican Party. Hey, the Democrats killed Lincoln, after all!

But what D’Souza and Schooley fail to admit – or, more likely, opt not to – is that the Democratic and Republican parties are not the same entities as they were during the Civil War, or even since the turn of the 20 th century. Like many things in life, political parties evolve over time. Not according to this film. D’Souza and Schooley are unwilling to concede anything decent that was ever perpetrated by the Democrats, and certainly not of the Clintons or Barack Obama. (The film was made before Donald Trump emerged as the Republican front-runner, but D’Souza has reportedly endorsed The Donald.)

Hillary’s America is not without its amusing moments, particularly during scenes that re-create D’Souza’s incarceration in a San Diego halfway house or re-enactments of the Civil War and various Democratic politicians, as theorized by the filmmakers. Neither newcomer Mikaela Krantz (“younger”) or Rebekah Turner resemble Hillary Clinton in the least, and although newcomer Don Taylor does resemble Abraham Lincoln, he’s just about the blandest Lincoln ever seen on screen.

In the end, as D’Souza – our “hero” – is seen silhouetted against a setting sun and as “God Bless America” trills on the soundtrack, he says that due to his conviction he’s not allowed to vote, but that we can – and that we should vote Republican. He beseeches the “party of Lincoln and Reagan” to ride to the rescue, conveniently leaving unmentioned the Bushes and any number of prominent Republican candidates of late. It’s a cinematic treatise of selective memory and unsubtle opinion.

This being a free country, D’Souza is of course entitled to voice his political rhetoric and propaganda, but of course observers – and critics – are equally as entitled to assess and consider the artistic merits of his work, be they positive or, in this case, otherwise. !

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