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Ben Carson: ‘During the Jim Crow Era, Those Were the Rules, Too’

There was a time when Republicans as a whole and conservatives in particular used to really object to willy-nilly comparisons of the controversy du jour to the Jim Crow Era.

Apparently that time ended. 

“You know, during the Jim Crow era, those were the rules, too,” Ben Carson told MSNBC today, while discussing the caucus rules of the Colorado Republican Party. “They were written. Everybody knew about them. Didn’t make them right. I’m not saying this is the same, but you know, I think you get the point. Just because rules are there, just because they’re written by somebody, it doesn’t mean they are right. It doesn’t mean that you can’t review the system.”

Sure, anybody’s free to argue the rules of the Colorado Republican Party aren’t right. You can say the ought to be reviewed. (If they’re going to be changed, it ought to be in response to objections from Colorado Republicans, not those outside of the state upset their guy didn’t win.) But you can’t say, as Trump wrote today, “A planned vote had been canceled.” Tens of thousands of Colorado Republicans showed up and took part in precinct caucuses March 1. The only thing the state party “canceled” compared to previous cycle was a nonbinding straw poll — a “beauty contest” that never had any actual influence on who the state’s delegates were. It’s genuinely unclear if Trump or Carson knows these facts. 

Trump continues to argue those precinct caucuses — recorded on video! Covered by local media! — didn’t happen. He writes the rules were “used to block Coloradans from voting.” He insists Ted Cruz won a “voterless victory.” He insists Coloradans were “disenfranchised” and shamelessly claims, “Voter disenfranchisement is not merely part of the Cruz strategy—it is the Cruz strategy.” (Remember, there’s no evidence that a single Colorado Republican was barred from participating in the precinct caucuses; they were extensively covered by state media before March 1, on election night, and afterwards.) I guess once you’ve gone this far, throwing in a comparison to Jim Crow is just standard.

Ben Carson goes on to suggest the Electoral College should be ended as well. I had no idea he was such an Al Gore fan.


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