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Rand Paul tries to outrun history at Howard

Give Rand Paul some credit for attempting to do what several decades of elections have shown is a tall order: Get African-Americans to vote Republican. But in order to make his point today at Howard University, he asked the crowd to not only look past his own brief opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but to willfully ignore the fact that the law fundamentally remade American political parties to the point that they bear little resemblance to their 1950s versions.

In a jam-packed auditorium at the historically black college in Washington, D.C., Paul gave the hard sell, arguing that the Republican message of smaller government, school choice and individual freedom should appeal to minorities who have been victims of state-sponsored oppression, crumbling schools and general subjugation.

But most of his speech was a history lesson, as he spent the first 20 minutes insisting that Democrats, and not Republicans, are responsible for every ill that has befallen blacks in the United States, from the preservation of slavery to Jim Crow. "The story of emancipation, voting rights and citizenship, from Fredrick Douglass until the modern civil rights era, is in fact the history of the Republican Party,” Paul said. "The horrible Jim Crow in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s was all Democrats."

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