Jared Kushner is a Know Nothing – not just because he has failed on so many fronts - 2020-05-30
Now a self-designated expert in American history, his attempt to echo the party's first platform is an abrupt effort to smooth over Trump's alienation of large numbers of voters, to airbrush the president's offensive and lethal incompetence, and to justify it all by reference to the origins of the Republican party. He is abusing the past to distort the present, in order to control the future. But the past is not as malleable as Fox News.
The symmetries between the past Kushner seeks to exploit and the discreditable present are striking. If there is any resemblance of the Trump mutation of the Republican party to any actual party in the election of 1856 it is not to the Republicans. Nor is it to the Democrats. Rather, it is to the third party in that campaign, the American party, also known as the Know Nothings, who also had a concise platform.
The original American party sought to protect the purity of white native-born Protestants from the first great wave of immigration to the United States, which consisted mostly of the Irish and Germans, and to stigmatize a subversive religion.