Whenever politicians say things like “our party needs to reach out to African-American voters,” I cringe. Not because they’re saying that they need to focus more on helping the African-American community, but because you shouldn’t have to make a conscious effort to “push your party” toward policies that don’t discriminate against people. Because if that’s what you’re having to do, well, that pretty much tells you why African-Americans aren’t voting for your politicians.
And when it comes to appealing to African-American voters, Republicans fail miserably. So it shouldn’t really come as any surprise to see probable 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul doing his best to pander to African-American voters hoping that might give him an edge in securing the GOP nomination in two years. He’s already desperately been trying to do it with younger voters, so the next logical steps would be women and African-Americans.
But to see him make a shameless trip to Ferguson, Missouri is just disgusting. And if you don’t think this trip was all about politics, you’re sadly mistaken. He claims it’s because he was in the area already, but that’s nonsense. Paul has made it clear he plans to pander to whomever he needs to if it will win him the GOP nomination.
Sure, during this meeting with African-American leaders in Ferguson, Paul said a lot of great things about increasing the voter turnout in their communities. And while he’s sometimes spoken out against these voter ID laws being passed by many Republican-led legislatures, he’s mostly remained silent since he got into trouble with his party a few months ago when he criticized some of these laws on Fox News.
If only someone had asked him what he thought about the GAO study that showed these new voter ID laws have proven to disenfranchise African-American voters.
That’s why Republicans have to “make an effort” to reach African-Americans – because their party is built upon racism. A candidate has two choices:
- Push for policies that help African-Americans, ticking off a big part of the GOP base of voters who are racists. – or –
- Continue to pander to the racists, casting aside almost all support from African-American voters.
And Paul’s realized that in 2016 his best chance to win the GOP nomination isn’t going to be by simply “playing to the crowd,” he’s going to have to get a chunk of voters who don’t traditionally vote for Republicans to support him.
Even during this visit he tried to talk about increasing voter turnout in African-American communities – while still basically supporting the very voter ID laws his party supports that have proven to lower the voter turnout in their communities.
But another area where Paul is an absolute hypocrite besides just voting rights is in his recent calls to “demilitarize” the police. Considering about a year and a half ago he said he would support the use of a drone strike to kill a hypothetical armed individual who had just robbed a liquor store of $50.
At that time, Paul said:
“Here’s the distinction: I have never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an act of crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”
So, he wants to demilitarize our police – but has no issues with a drone strike killing someone (without trial mind you) who’s suspected of robbing a liquor store of $50.
I’m not sure how someone can say they want to demilitarize the police, when they support using a drone to kill someone over $50.
Am I reading a little too much into this visit? Possibly. But something about this just didn’t feel right to me. A Republican Senator heading to Ferguson in what I think was a blatant attempt to exploit a tragedy, all to pander to the African-American community.
Especially while Republicans all across the country seem to be doing everything they can to ensure fewer African-Americans actually get to vote.