And yet, after all of those battles with Democrats, Frank Marshall Davis hopped in bed with them — but only to use them, just as he and his fellow communists had long exploited the “progressive” label. In Hawaii, the Hawaiian Communist Party went underground, realizing it had no political viability. Davis and his comrades also oversaw the collapse of Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party, which they had hijacked. So, Hawaii’s communists changed their tactics, concentrating instead on infiltrating the mainstream Democratic Party, even running their members in local elections to seize delegate positions. One of those who not only urged this tactic but was himself elected to a Democratic precinct was Frank Marshall Davis.
Davis’s declassified 600-page FBI file records this move. It reports that “members of the subversive element in Honolulu were concentrating their efforts on infiltration of the Democratic Party through control of Precinct Clubs and organizations.” These communist subversives were pushing “their candidates in these Precinct Club elections.” According to the report, on April 6, 1950, one such candidate, Frank Marshall Davis, was elected “assistant secretary and delegate” to the Territorial Democratic Convention in his particular Precinct Club — the Third Precinct of the Fifth District. Davis, in fact, attended that convention on April 30, 1950.
The infiltration of the Democratic Party was on.
And it would be as a “Democrat” that Davis would one day influence another Democrat: a future Democratic Party president — Barack Obama. It was the start of a long march to transform the Democratic Party from the party of Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy to the party of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.
Ironically, Frank Marshall Davis wrote of the need for “fundamental change” by “strong radicals” (July 6, 1946 column, Chicago Star). Here was the start of fundamentally changing the Democratic Party.
Finally, Davis’s turn to the Democrats reveals another interesting parallel to Obama. In my book, I quote at length the testimony of Dr. John Drew, who knew a young Obama at Occidental College. Drew was a leading campus Marxist organizer when Obama was introduced to him as “one of us” — that is, a fellow Marxist. Drew was struck by Obama’s dedicated belief in what Drew called the “Frank Marshall Davis fantasy” of “imminent revolution.”
Did Obama leave those Marxist roots? According to Stanley Kurtz, Obama in January 1996 formally joined the New Party, which envisioned a “progressive” Western European-style socialist state in America — a big deal in and of itself.
Well, if that was the case, Obama eventually left that party, too, migrating into the mainstream Democratic Party, where he could get elected and launch his “fundamental change” therein.
In short, then, Barack Obama’s possible path from Marxist to New Party to the Democratic Party is remarkably similar to his mentor’s path from Communist Party to the Progressive Party to the Democratic Party. Is that coincidental? Perhaps. Nonetheless, it is a fascinating parallel, and it again tells us not only much about Obama, and about his mentor, but about the modern Democratic Party.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and author of the new book, The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.