The Republican Senator from Kentucky told WFPL News — a Louisville radio station — that there is no evidence to suggest that blacks are being purposefully barred from voting in areas where stringent voter ID laws have been initiated:
“The interesting thing about voting patterns now is in this last election African-Americans voted at a higher percentage than whites in almost every one of the states that were under the special provisions of the federal government,” he says. “So really, I don’t think there is objective evidence that we’re precluding African-Americans from voting any longer.”
Paul’s argument boils down to the fact that the percentage of black voters who turned out to vote in 2012 in places where voter ID says were adopted was higher than in previous years. Indeed, the percentage of blacks who voted outnumbered the percentage of whites (64 versus 62 percent).
I guess Paul forgot this MIT study showing that black voters had to wait an average of 23 minutes to vote while whites waited 12 minutes.
Ian Millhiser points out the other discriminatory aspects of voter ID laws that Paul casually leaves out of his assessment:
If Paul is not aware of the evidence indicating widespread efforts to prevent African Americans from voting, then he must not be looking very hard. During the 2012 election, black and Hispanic voters waited nearly twice as long to cast a ballot as white voters. In Florida, lines of up to six hours led an estimated 201,000 people to become frustrated and leave the polls. These lines existed largely because of a voter suppression bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) which reduced early voting hours in the state. After the election, top Republicans admitted that the purpose of cutting early voting was to reduce Democratic turnout. One Republican operative conceded that early voting was cut on the Sunday proceeding Election Day because “that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves.”
Paul also happens to oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which among other things bans employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters. So, his position here shouldn’t be particularly surprising.
(Photo: Mark Taylor)
The truth is that while Morsi and the Brotherhood derailed any hope of a Democratic transition from Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military is as much — if not more — to blame for the bloody massacres taking place all across that country.
It seems now that the cultivation of Islamic extremism was the military’s plan all along. For the past couple of months, they’ve made it nearly impossible for members of the Muslim Brotherhood to achieve any sort of recourse in government, almost begging them to turn to extremism and violence to get their points across. But wouldn’t incentivizing violence and extremism be a bad idea, long term? After all, terrorists don’t tend to just pick up their things and move away. Well, if the Egyptian military wants to present itself to the west — the United States — as a bastion against Islamic radicalism, what better way to do so than brew some good old fashioned radicalism right at home? How could the United States turn its back and take away the piggy bank then? It’s a cretinous, savage, barbaric mindset, but we’re talking about the Egyptian military.
Juan Cole aims his ire at the military-junta in particular:
The country is ruled by an intolerant junta with no respect for human life. Neither the Brotherhood nor the military made the kind of bargain and compromises necessary for a successful democratic transition. It is true that some armed Brotherhood cadres killed some 50 troops and police, and that some 20 Coptic Christian churches were attacked, some burned. But the onus for the massacre lies with the Egyptian military.
The only sane thing for the United States to do now is to pull any and all support for the military junta now running Egypt. But we won’t. As savage and perverse as the junta’s plan is (making the military a “bastion” against a terrorist threat they themselves bred), it provides the U.S. with an excuse to continue its ties to whoever is in control of the country.
Mubarak was never deposed. He lives on.
Mirroring the drop in his overall approval rating, Gallup finds that only 35% of Americans approve of how the president is handling the economy:
One would except such low numbers during an economic recession or debt-ceiling fight, but the U.S. economy is actually growing again — though not as fast as we would have liked thanks to Republican led sequestration — and the state of the U.S. economy is miles better than anything we’re seeing in Europe right now, or any other developed country for that matter. But i’m not so idealistic to think that many Americans consider those things when they offer their thoughts on the economy. The public’s approval rating of Washington’s leaders is at an all-time low (less than 10%); it’s not surprising then that Obama, as the head of the Washington leadership, would be considered under the same level of disapproval. It’s undeserved, mind you, but that’s probably the reason for the low percentage nonetheless. As long as Republicans run the House, blocking every single piece of positive, pragmatic legislation, while also allowing the country to face a sequester that hampered growth and ballooned the deficit, Obama will never be able to execute his economic policy.
And look, as cretinous as the Republican platform sounds, they’re really just doing what they’re supposed to do. It’s obstructionism on crack, yeah, but the opposition party is supposed to be obstructionist. Do enough damage to the economy so Obama gets the blame; make sure people know that it’s because he can’t bridge the partisan divide; gerrymander the living hell out of white districts to make sure you dominate the white vote; and assure 2016 voters that psuedo-conservative economics is the way of the future.
But the U.S. economy is growing (slowly); the deficit is falling faster than we imagined; unemployment is … well … shitty, but getting better; and future prospects are looking good, assuming we don’t go backwards — or don’t go Republican.