minorities

Why Republicans should follow Rand Paul’s lead

The Republican Party seems poised for a successful mid-term election. There has even been talk of a building “Republican wave,” should voter dissatisfaction intensify and solidify, though its far too early to say for sure what will happen.

But if a “Republican wave” does indeed happen this fall and the party takes control of the Senate, a goal that has proved to be out of reach in the past two cycles, GOP leaders and talking heads should be cautious in overstating what it means.

Yes, President Barack Obama is plagued by low approval ratings and rejection of Obamacare, his signature domestic achievement. Voters aren’t too thrilled about the state of the economy or his handling of foreign policy.

But Republicans must realize that electoral success this doesn’t mean that voters have embraced the party, as polls almost universally show. In a two-party system at a time of malaise, the party not in control is the beneficiary of voter anger. This was true in 2006 when Democrats won control of Congress. It was true in 2010 when Republicans gained 63 seats on their way to winning the House of Representatives.

There is no denying that the Republican Party has a very real messaging problem, and party leaders realize it. That’s why the Republican National Committee released a report, The Growth and Opportunity Project, to try to figure out what went wrong in the 2012 election as well as try to find solutions to expand its reach.

Though that “autopsy,” so to speak, raised some excellent points, it alienated many of the grassroots activists that compromise part of the Republican base.

Rand Paul testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about mandatory sentencing

Rand Paul on mandatory minimums

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had the opportunity to testify yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about mandatory minimum sentences. Sen. Paul offered an array of examples that illustrate the brutal impact of both mandatory sentencing and the failed war on drugs.

In 2004, then candidate for the U.S. Senate Barack Obama criticized the ongoing war on drugs as “an utter failure.” While running for president, Obama advocated for a less repressive national drug policy but once he took office, President Obama changed his tune.

According to Sen. Paul’s statement and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one third of African-American males are not allowed to vote today and that’s due to the U.S. war on drugs and its disproportionate impact on minorities. Reports published by the Huffington Post show that African-Americans represent 62 percent of drug offenders while they constitute 12 percent of the country’s population.

 

Should a libertarian support voter ID laws?

Since 2003 a number of states have passed laws requiring some sort of ID to be shown when a person goes to vote.  Proponents of the laws present them as a way to stamp out voter fraud; opponents decry the laws as a way to prevent minorities or the poor from voting, as they are most likely to not have acceptable ID.  The battles have waged not only in legislatures but in courthouses as well.  Wisconsin’s law was just struck down by a judge and Texas’ law is being challenged by the DOJ.

For a libertarian, it seems like both sides of the argument have been a little disingenuous.  Voter fraud has yet to be shown to be anywhere near as widespread as Republicans would like us to think, though this could be because it has heretofore gone undetected.  And showing a form of basic ID, often provided at no cost to the voter, is a very low bar and one that is gladly accepted when doing numerous other activities - even buying alcohol or getting into a bar.

So we are left to sit outside and try to figure out which side to take.  On one hand, for those libertarians who believe in voting, the integrity of elections is very important.  We need to ensure that elections accurately represent the will of voters.  On the other hand, though, it is important that no one is prevented from voting for illegitimate reasons.  If the laws are an underhanded attempt to disenfranchise certain groups, as opponents say, they are problematic.

Washington Post stumped by Rand Paul because he’s shattering media narratives about the Tea Party

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) outreach efforts to minorities and young people with a heavy focus on criminal justice reform, police militarization, and civil liberties has perplexed the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake.

Over at Washington Post’s The Fix, Blake declared that the “Tea Party” label — which, as he notes, has been overused since the peak of the movement in 2010 — is “far too simple” for Paul. He points to the Kentucky Republican’s piece in Time on the startling scenes from Ferguson, Missouri and police militarization:

Given Paul’s political rise — he defeated an establishment-aligned Republican in a 2010 primary — it was natural to label him a tea partier. We have done it too — repeatedly. It’s the easiest short-hand for a GOP outsider. But more and more, it’s looking like that label doesn’t really fit. While Paul is certainly aligned with the tea party on a lot of stuff, the label doesn’t describe him as well as it does someone like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). An op-ed Paul wrote Thursday in Time magazine was just the latest example of that. The things Paul said in it are not the kind of things you would expect from a tea partier.
[…]
The trouble with Paul is that no well-known labels seem to fit him well. While his dad, Ron Paul, is a pretty straight-line libertarian, that’s not really who the younger Paul is. He’s not an establishment Republican, a neo-conservative, an arch-conservative or a moderate Republican.

We still don’t know what label would be better than “tea party,” but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that this label doesn’t really fit. Maybe he’s just a Rand Paul Republican.

Here’s the Republican presidential contender who could be a complete nightmare for Democrats

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) outreach efforts to millennials and minorities as well as his focus on issues that aren’t typical of Republican politicians have not gone unnoticed by one of President Barack Obama’s closest political strategists.

White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer says that Paul, who is actively building up a campaign-like structure in early primary states, may be the biggest threat to Democrats’ hopes to keep the presidency in 2016:

Speaking to reporters, counselor to the president Dan Pfeiffer said the Kentucky Republican is “one of the most intriguing candidates” in the field because of his appeal to younger voters of both parties.

“He’s the only Republican I think who has articulated a message that is potentially appealing to younger Americans,” Pfeiffer said at a breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor. “Every other Republican running is basically just Romney-lite when it comes to younger Americans.” Rand has made reaching out to non-traditional voters a signature component of his political agenda, most recently delivering a speech Friday to the National Urban League.

Pfeiffer also noted that Paul faces a tough Republican primary, a preview of which has been offered by way of attacks from his likely opponents, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who are trying weaken him before the 2016 horserace begins.

Today in Liberty: Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Democrats dealt a big blow, Bergdahl doesn’t want doctors to call him “sergeant”

“No branch of government should ever be able to combine the power of the sword with the power of the purse.” — George Mason

— Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Democrats dealt a big blow: State Sen. Phillip Puckett (D-Russell) gave Republicans control of the upper chamber and the upper hand in an ongoing budget battle with Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Sunday night by resigning his seat in the legislature. “Puckett’s stunning resignation throws Democratic budget strategy into chaos and opens the way for Republicans to seize control of the chamber and reorganize its committees with GOP majorities,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. “The resignation also may clear the way for the Senate to confirm Puckett’s daughter for a full six-year term as a juvenile court judge in Southwest Virginia.” McAuliffe, who was elected last year, has made Medicaid expansion the centerpiece of his agenda, but Republicans in the legislature have pushed back. The Senate, controlled by Democrats until now, had blocked the budget passed by the House of Delegates because it lacked Medicaid expansion. The stalemate could lead to a government shutdown at the beginning of July. Puckett’s resignation could allow the Senate to pass a budget that excludes Medicaid expansion, which would make McAuliffe responsible for a shutdown if he vetoes it. Republicans, by the way, have a good shot of keeping Puckett’s seat. The Virginian-Pilot notes that his state Senate district has “pulled the lever for GOP candidates by roughly 2-to-1 margins in the past two statewide election.”

Rand Paul: “I sense a wave election coming on”

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has a good feeling about the upcoming mid-term election. Before he dropped in on the quarterly Republican National Committee meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, the Kentucky senator told Fox News that he believes a Republican wave election building due to voter dissatisfaction with Obamacare.

“I sense a wave election coming on,” Paul told America’s Newsroom host Martha McCallum. “I think the American public are unhappy about not being told the truth. We were told that we could keep our doctor, but now we’re told, you know what, if you get cancer or you need to go to MD Anderson, or you get cancer and you need to go to Sloan-Kettering, or you need to go to Harvard or deaconess, you’re told you can’t go.”

Rand Paul: Republican has to undergo “a transformation”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) fears that the Republican Party will not win another presidential election unless it undergoes “a transformation” by developing a message that can reach young people and minorities:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made a bold prediction about the remaining presidential elections in his lifetime during an interview with Glenn Beck that aired Thursday.

“I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime … unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party,” Paul said evenly. “And it has to be a transformation. Not a little tweaking at the edges.”
[…]
The primary goal, Paul said, is to present the “ideas of liberty” to everyone.

“There are many people who are open among all these disaffected groups, who really aren’t steadfast supporters of Obama or an ideology,” Paul asserted. “I think they’re open to listening, but we have to have a better message and a better presentation of it.”

“There is a struggle going on within the Republican Party,” Paul admitted. “I tell people it’s not new, and I’m not ashamed of it. I’m proud of the fact that there is a struggle. And I will struggle to make the Republican Party a different party, a bigger party, a more diverse party, and a party that can win national elections again.”

Judge says New York City’s “stop-and-frisk” tactic is unconstitutional

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was handed yet another big court defeat yesterday, this time by a federal judge who ordered reforms to the city’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” practice.

U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the “stop-and-frisk” practice, which allowed city law enforcement officials to stop someone without any probable cause, violated the Fourth Amendment:

In a repudiation of a major element in the Bloomberg administration’s crime-fighting legacy, a federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities in New York, and called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms.

In a decision issued on Monday, the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, ruled that police officers have for years been systematically stopping innocent people in the street without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing. Officers often frisked these people, usually young minority men, for weapons or searched their pockets for contraband, like drugs, before letting them go, according to the 195-page decision.

These stop-and-frisk episodes, which soared in number over the last decade as crime continued to decline, demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, according to the ruling. It also found violations with the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

Supreme Court strikes down part of Voting Rights Act

In a decision that is being viciously derided by the Left, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act because the standards by which the federal government reviewed changes in certain states’ election laws were out of date.

The case, Shelby County v. Holder, asked the Court to review two specific sections of the Voting Rights Act, which was enacted by Congress in 1965 as a response to pervasive Jim Crow laws in the South. These laws, which were a scourge on our history, mandated racial segregation and discouraged minorities from voting.

Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act set determined the states that were subject to pre-clearance requirement in Section 5 based on the number of minority voters they had registered. While this section of the law was undoubtedly needed in 1965, the screening forumla is out-of-date. Moreover, the process for approval is arduous and costly for states.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts explained that the criteria needs to be updated to reflect current conditions in order to justify pre-clearence for states with a track record for racial discrimination.

“Congress could have updated the coverage formula at that time, but did not do so, noted Roberts. “Its failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare [Section] 4(b) unconstitutional. The formula in that section can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to preclearance.”


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