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The Democrat (Honolulu, Hawaiʻi)
The Democrat was published daily (except Sunday) in Honolulu in English by Henry Arthur Juen from October 25 to November 8, 1910. Edited by Edward P. Irwin, the ten issues, each four pages in length, endorsed the Hawaiʻi Democratic Party during the 1910 race for Delegate to Congress. It sought to counter the “lies, abuse and mudslinging” coming out of O‘ahu’s Republican-controlled newspapers and to “truthfully place before the people the Democratic side” of the issues being debated in the campaign.
In 1902, Hawaiʻi ’s pro-American Republican Party won its first congressional race when it split the majority Native Hawaiian vote by inviting Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole to run against incumbent Robert Wilcox, a member of the pro-Hawaiian Home Rule Party. With Wilcox expected to win again in 1902, Republicans recruited Kū hiō, heir to the throne of the dismantled Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, in hope of attracting a significant portion of the Native Hawaiian vote. The plan succeeded, and Kūhiō defeated Wilcox.
In 1910, the Democrats nominated Lincoln McCandless--a former member of the Republic of Hawaiʻi’s House of Representatives and the Territorial Senate--to run against the incumbent Kūhiō. However, the Republican Party had the solid support of the sugar industry and three of Hawaiʻi ’s most prominent newspapers: the Pacific Commercial Advertiser (now the Honolulu Advertiser), the Evening Bulletin, and the Hawaiian Star (the latter two later merged to form the Honolulu Star-Bulletin ). After an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the Evening Bulletin to include “the Democratic side” in its pages for a fee, Editor Irwin launched the Democrat with the sole purpose of presenting the Democratic platform and candidates. In the inaugural issue, he attacked the three Republican-controlled papers for being too “subservient to the special interests to have any independence.”
Each issue of the Democrat featured the party’s territorial and county tickets, photographs of the candidates, meeting announcements, and editorial essays attacking Kūhiō and the Republican platform. Immigration, race, and plantation wages were by far the biggest issues in the campaign. The Democrats advocated curbing the inflow of immigrants from Asia and Europe and raising plantation wages enough to give the “present citizen labor of Hawaiʻi a chance to earn a decent living.” Their motives on this issue were not altogether altruistic, however; Irwin and other Democrats felt immigrants were “contaminating” the islands. Irwin authored an extended editorial titled “Importing a Population” that spanned six issues and presented Hawaiʻi as overrun by “outsiders” bringing in foreign diseases and taking jobs and land from the Native and “white” populations. Irwin blamed the sugar industry for the “constant stream of the ignorant, the diseased and the morally infected” by way of “assisted immigration” and advocated legal reforms that would make it easier for “white” Americans to migrate to Hawaiʻi .
The last issue of the Democrat was published on Election Day, November 8, 1910. Despite the Democratic Party’s efforts to win over voters, Kū hiō won the election and would remain Hawaiʻi ’s Delegate to Congress until his death in 1922.
Provided by: University of Hawaii at Manoa; Honolulu, HI