Rand Paul may peel Democrats tire of inaction on core issues
It is true that Rand Paul has a past civil rights problem. It is true that Rand Paul’s team has had white supremacists on his team. But the reality is that Rand Paul could actually get elected President of the United States. When I wrote the piece “Don’t laugh but Rand Paul could be our next president” many sneered and said that belief was naïve.
Rand Paul does not need to blow up the Obama coalition to win. He simply needs to skim the fat. His little excursions into the liberal base can do just that. His base is much more committed to winning and voting than our base. The Florida-13 election was probative.
It would be irresponsible if liberals do not start taking serious steps now to be inoculated on the populous flank. This will help not only in the presidential race but in every district.
The biggest fear is that if there is a coronation of a select few, many potential candidates remain undeveloped. Worse is the inability to recover from an unknown. The fact that Ronald Reagan and George Bush were elected presidents of the United States means it is not farfetched that Rand Paul could be our next president.
Yesterday Rand Paul wrote a fairly good op-ed that should give every Democrat (and Republican) pause. The op-ed, “We must Demilitarize the Police” used the Michael Brown killing to woo a segment of the Democratic base even as he kept his Right Wing flank with the narrative he presented.
When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.
Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.
This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown.
Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.
That message will resonate with many. Black men have been under attack for decades by a police that treat their lives as inconsequential. Right Wing Conservatives believe that the government is overreaching. Rand Paul has put these two together to build on his narrative. His recent outreach to all communities has been more so than many Democrats.
Many Democrats falsely believe being a real Democrat is an existential threat. This will open the door for the ‘Rand Paul’s and many others to continue triangulating themselves to power.