Rand Paul has garnered his fair share of criticism from the left on his black voter outreach efforts. Now one outspoken member on the right is joining the chorus of critics, for entirely different reasons.
During a wide-ranging interview with Wall Street Journal editorial board member and author Jason Riley in connection with his controversial new book, ”Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed,” Riley told TheBlaze that while he credits Paul for his effort to reach out to black voters, he vehemently disagrees with Paul’s agenda.
Riley argues that Paul is simply wrong on the facts when it comes to Voter ID and drug laws — and the views of, and impact on the black community of such laws — and should not be siding with President Obama and Attorney General Holder in general when it comes to their view of our “racist criminal justice system.”
In the interview Riley stated [emphasis Riley's]:
“I disagree with Rand Paul vehemently on this. Rand Paul considers this black outreach by the way. He thinks that if conservatives adopt some of these views that Eric Holder and Barack Obama have about our racist criminal justice system, Republicans will receive more black votes. That’s his sort of gambit here.
Same thing with the Voter ID stuff he’s been talking about. “Oh why are conservatives harping on Voter ID. Let’s just stop talking about this. It’s not that big a deal. It’s turning off a lot of black voters.” Well first of all, it’s not. Ok, a majority — an absolute majority of blacks favor Voter ID laws…and a majority of the black caucus favored these harsher sentences for drug dealers when they were passed back in the ’80s. Folks like [New York Rep.] Charlie Rangel led the way in these sentencing disparities.
…But the other problem with Rand Paul’s arguments and others who want to blame drug laws for the racial makeup of our prison system is just they’re wrong on the facts. Blacks are about 37% of the prison population. If you were to send home everyone in prison of all colors tomorrow who’s there for a drug offense, blacks would still make up about 37% of the prison population. The incarceration rate among blacks is not being driven by our drug laws. Blacks are overrepresented among all violent crimes. And so it is not the drug laws that are driving this, and this idea that “But for these racist drug laws our prison would not be teeming with young black men,” is just false on the facts.”
During our conversation, which you can listen to below, we also touched on a number of other subjects ranging from the devastating impact of the left’s agenda on blacks in America, to the racist roots of the minimum wage, why leftists continue to oppose school choice and much more.
The exchange on Sen. Paul begins around 7:17.
Below you can find some of the more explosive takeaways from our interview in Riley’s own words.
On criminality in the black society
“If you are concerned about perceptions of black male criminality in society, because those perceptions are clearly out there…what should be done about it?…my response is not to focus on the rational behavior of most members of society, to simply avoid such individuals, and not take chances…the focus should be on changing the behavior that leads to those perceptions — not excusing that behavior, not changing the law to accommodate that behavior, but denouncing it as such. That is the responsible thing to do. The black left does not want to do that. They want to talk about the black incarceration rate, but they don’t want to talk about the black murder rate. They want to talk about what percentage of black kids get suspended from school for bullying, but they don’t want to talk about the preponderance of the bullies being black…there are racial differences in bad behavior.”
On the relationship between political and socioeconomic advancement
“Political advancement was not a prerequisite for advancing economically…This idea that political advancement is the key to rising economically is just not something that is seen in the patterns of other groups. But you know the left has done a brilliant job of convincing blacks that political advancement is the end all be all — that the government is the source of all good, and that a bigger government means more goodies. And so you have this over-dependence on government among blacks…whether that’s in terms of jobs…or an over-dependence in terms of handouts…And I think it’s a huge barrier to blacks rising. There’s going have to be a reckoning here…The reality is, if anything, political power tends to slow the advance of a group.”
On the racist roots of the minimum wage
“The minimum wage laws date to the ’30s and ’40s and were put in place as a response to blacks migrating North, and whites worried about jobs competition. And if you go back and read the Congressional record…race…was given as an explicit reason for putting these laws in place, to limit competition with white workers…Up until those laws were put into place…black labor participation rates and white labor participation rates weren’t all that different. And in fact, black labor participation exceeded white labor participation in many years, prior to these laws taking effect. And well into the 1950s or so, you saw similar unemployment rates, and similar labor participation rates among blacks and whites. So the laws have worked. They worked as originally intended…They worked in pricing a lot of blacks out of the labor market.”
On the left’s opposition to school choice
“You have the President putting the needs of his party ahead of the needs of these black kids — a president by the way who has never found a public school good enough for his own children, either before he was president or since. You have him denying school choice to less fortunate, less accomplished individuals in the black community. And it’s a real shame. It’s the only way to justify, or to explain coherently, some of the policies opposed by the left. You cannot defend, on academic grounds, a policy like “last-in-first-out,” where a teacher must be fired based solely on seniority, not whether or not she can teach. You cannot justify academically a policy that gives a teacher essentially a job for life after a couple of years in the classroom, and makes her almost impossible to fire. You cannot justify them academically. You can only justify them as job protection for adults. And that’s exactly what they are.”
On areas where the GOP can make inroads with the black community
There are a lot of black conservatives out there who simply don’t identify as such, but they are.
There’s a huge disconnect between what is said by the people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and the NAACP, and what the black rank-and-file believes. School choice is one issue…poll after poll after poll shows blacks overwhelming supporting school choice. Just like the black rank-and-file opposed busing in the 1970s. So you have to appreciate that disconnect, and then bypass those elites. By bypassing the elite and speaking to the black rank-and-file — you can make some progress. There are a lot of black conservatives out there who simply don’t identify as such, but they are.