'Jim Crow': Symone Sanders accuses Republicans of waging 'an all-out assault' on Black people
Last Thursday's ouster of two Black Democratic lawmakers from the Tennessee State House of Representatives by its Republican supermajority has generated enormous public outcry and condemnation of the GOP's underhanded tactics.
Justin Jones (52nd District) and Justin Pearson (86th District) were expelled from the chamber days after they and State Representative Gloria Johnson (D-90th District) protested the GOP's unwillingness to consider gun control reforms following the March 27th mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville.
Johnson, however, was not ejected, and that prompted widespread suspicions that Jones and Pearson were removed from office because of their race.
On Sunday's edition of Meet the Press, NBC News moderator Chuck Todd lamented the eerie historical familiarity surrounding what happened in Tennessee:
It, look, it is loud echoes from, from our recent past in the South and in the Sixties. But this also feels like the inevitable, uh, moment that you have when you have these gerrymandered supermajorities that have become calcified. Because this is what it felt like. A whole bunch of people who just don't deal with dissent.
Symone Sanders, Vice President Kamala Harris' former senior advisor and chief spokesperson, concurred:
Absolutely. I mean, look. I was down in, in Nashville. I spoke with the Tennessee Three and state legislatures legislators there. What is happening in Tennessee and frankly across the South is in fact, Jim Crow. What Jim Crow was, was blocking Black people from the ability to have participation in their government. Disenfranchising lawmakers – and it's, again, it's not just Tennessee, look at what's happening in Mississippi – coming into Jackson and the state legislature stepping in. Look at what's, we, Governor [Greg] Abbott in Texas. Look at what's happening in Florida. This is an all-out assault.
Governor Abbott, you're the, the story – you're glossing, I know we wanted to be quick and I appreciate you doing that with time – but he's it looks like he's okay if, if there's a pardon of a, of a Travis County, a blue county, prosecution, a murder conviction, of a Black Lives Matter protestor.
He put out a statement and said, 'I welcome the pardon on my desk so I can sign it. And so it is an assault, and I think these young people, young state legislators who stood up, they have galvanized the movement.
Turning to conservative political strategist Brendan Buck – who worked for Republican United States House of Representatives Speakers John Boehner (Ohio) and Paul Ryan (Wisconsin) – Todd pointed out that the Tennessee Republicans' stunt is another blow to the GOP on a national level:
Brendan, um, not a single national Republican leader has supported what Tennessee has done. It is no doubt in my mind, the silence is, is at least sending a message of, 'Oh my God, that looks terrible,' but I don't think it's helping the party's image.
No, I mean, what, what do they do? I mean, this happened in, in, in Congress in 2016. We had a sit-in where Democrats took over the House floor, and we had members who wanted us to arrest them, wanted us to arrest John Lewis on the House floor. But you realize that's a bad look. But here's another situation where you have a state legislature who is defining the party. No one is in charge and there's no consequences for any of these legislatures. As you said, their, their districts are such that they're not gonna be voted out because they did this.
Todd exclaimed that "half of them didn't face any opponent!"
Watch below or at this link.
\u201cWATCH: The Tenn. House expelled 2 Black members.\n\n@SymoneDSanders: \u201cWhat is happening in Tennessee and frankly across the South is in fact Jim Crow.\u201d\n\n@BrendanBuck: In 2016 "we had members who wanted to arrest John Lewis on the House floor, but you realize that\u2019s a bad look.\u201d\u201d— Meet the Press (@Meet the Press) 1681048831
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