Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered revisionist history during an appearance on Fox News when he claimed that Democrats created Jim Crow laws. The short answer to this is that Southern Democrats defended slavery in the 19th century and proposed the racist laws that were on the books for decades well into the 20th. The monopoly that Southern Democrats held in the southern states fractured––and they would later became today’s Republican Party––as support for degsegreation and civil rights reforms took center stage.
These facts didn’t stop Senator Paul from making the claim during his appearance, beginning with his assertion that opposition to Georgia’s new draconian voter laws (criticized by citizens and activists alike) is overblown.
Georgia’s Republican legislature last month passed legislation that significantly curbs voting rights, including limiting absentee ballots and imposing stricter identification requirements. It also includes a measure that makes it a misdemeanor to offer food and water to voters waiting in line.
“I’m still having trouble fathoming the hysteria that came from Coca-Cola and Delta and Major League Baseball over the Georgia bill,” Paul said. “We passed virtually the same bill in Kentucky. It was signed by a Democrat governor and it was lauded as actually expanding access because we expanded early voting in the same way they did in Georgia.”
“To hear all these Democrats shouting Jim Crow, Jim Crow — do they not realize the history of the Democrat [sic] Party was Jim Crow,” he continued, “that not any god-fearing Republican voted for Jim Crow. That Jim Crow throughout the South was done by Democrat [sic] legislators, that the people who were beating up John Lewis and pummeling him on the bridge in Selma were all Democrats?”
“I, for one, am sick and tired of Democrats,” Paul added. “They need to apologize for their history. They need to apologize for foisting Jim Crow on the country. And they need to read the bill in Georgia and realize it has nothing to do with keeping people from voting.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.