Rand Paul launches campaign in US Senate, talks about culture wars


US Senator Rand Paul said on Tuesday he was running for a third term and, with his statement, instantly embarked on one of the most complicated and controversial issues in US politics: race.

“I’m running again,” Paul said in Somerset on Tuesday, “if there’s going to be an official announcement at some point, we’re pretty much running.”

The Republican traveled to southern Kentucky on Tuesday as part of a three-day tour of the state, making the type of official appearances an incumbent usually makes when running for reelection.

He did launch his campaign by tackling race headfirst.

America’s original sin of slavery and the continuing struggle against racism is a centerpiece of American politics and, with former State Representative Charles Booker, D-Louisville, as a frontrunner for face Paul in 2022, he has the potential to become a defining issue. of Paul’s re-election campaign in 2022.

Booker, who is black, gained national notoriety during his candidacy for the U.S. Senate for 2020 following the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted in Louisville and across the country following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He’s the kind of politician who doesn’t hesitate to speak out about things like systemic racism in a state that is almost 88% white.

U.S. Senate candidate Charles Booker greets supporters during a campaign stop in Pikeville, Ky., Monday, June 22, 2020. Ryan C. Hermens [email protected]

Paul, who is white, spoke about the race twice on Tuesday in a speech at the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, which is 96.3% white. He first spoke about race in a broader critique of government spending by saying repairs shouldn’t be seen as infrastructure, and then saying Americans were told “whites are terrible.”

“We are now being told that the whole country is crumbling, we should teach how terrible white people are,” Paul said. “How Coca-Cola says you have to bow down and say ‘I’m white and I’m sorry…’ but it all comes down to that kind of tale that this is a bad place. We are not a bad place. I think we are a good people.

Paul was probably referring to two burning controversies among conservatives: a program to teach schools about Project 1619, a New York Times Magazine Pulitzer Prize-winning project that attempted to explore the legacy of black Americans, starting with them. first slaves. came to the country in 1619; and Coca-Cola’s decision issue a statement denouncing a new law in Georgia which imposed stricter voting rules.

When asked which part of the infrastructure bill deals with repairs, Paul said he was referring to Democrats expanding the definition of infrastructure to include things like the National Science Foundation and care for people. home. He said he did not support the repairs.

“I don’t think one generation can be responsible for another generation in any form. It wouldn’t make sense, ”he said. “Is half of Barack Obama’s family supposed to pay the other half?”

Senator Rand Paul speaks and answers questions from the public at an event at the Lincoln County Judicial Center in Stanford, Ky., Wednesday, May 5, 2021. Senator Paul has confirmed he is running for re-election. Silas walker [email protected]

Paul said he supported police reform bills, but most of his life felt like race relations had improved. He said there was a distorted perception that “America is a terrible place” because the focus is on the problems that are occurring.

“I think if Martin Luther King were alive to watch a lot of this revival he would be disappointed how much we don’t watch your character content, all we’re talking about is race again,” he said. Paul said. .

Last month, a US House committee voted to advance a bill that would form a committee to study slavery reparations for black Americans. Booker called for a “truth and reconciliation commission” to tackle the country’s history of racism and said “reparations are rightly due.”

“Rand Paul’s whole mission is to create controversy out of thin air,” Booker said. “As Kentuckians, black, white or brown, we know structural racism is real. We know that underlies the policies, the economy and the budget decisions that shape our country. ”

If Booker won the Democratic primary, he would be the first black Kentuckian to win a Democratic nomination for a statewide race. Kentucky has already elected two black Kentuckians in the past six years: former Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton and Attorney General Daniel Cameron, both Republicans.

“If there is a race issue, I don’t think we can paint Kentucky as a state not open to people of various walks of life,” Paul said. “In fact, I would say on the Republican side we are less race conscious and we elect people because they are good.”


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