News & Politics

Say What? Civil Rights Act Critic Rand Paul Tapped to Launch African American Outreach Project in Michigan

His selection is odd given his record on civil rights and his staunch opposition to a federal bailout of Detroit.

Photo Credit: SenRandPaul YouTube channel

The Michigan Republican Party will launch its new African American Engagement Office in Detroit next month, aiming to improve on the mere two percent of the vote their presidential nominee received in the city last year. To headline this event, the party has enlisted Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) — though Paul has been an outspoken critic of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The Huffington Post reported Friday that Paul will be the star of the December 6 kickoff event. His selection, the article notes, is odd given his record on civil rights and his staunch opposition to a federal bailout of Detroit.

While Paul has since denied ever making the comments, he has repeatedly criticized the Civil Rights Act of 1964′s bans on whites-only lunch counters and discrimination by private employers. “The hard part of believing in freedom,” he has argued, is that it requires believing companies should be free to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation — even though he personally opposes such discrimination.

Watch Paul explain his views:

In August, Paul told an audience in Louisville that he does not believe “there is any particular evidence of polls barring African Americans from voting,” despite mounting evidence of voter suppression. Because America has an African-American president, he argued, we no longer need the Voting Rights Act. He has also endorsed photo ID requirements for voters, whichdisproportionately disenfranchise minority voters.

After Paul’s disastrous attempt at the historically-black Howard University in April to convince the African Americans to vote for the GOP, Paul seems unlikely to win many of the 97.5 percent of Detroit voters who backed President Obama last year, regardless of their race.

JOSH ISRAEL is a senior investigative reporter for at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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