Congressional Republicans / Racism / Voting Rights Act

Note to Republicans: On Race, Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Note to Republicans: On Race, Actions Speak Louder Than Words

The scandal over Steve Scalise raises a very difficult challenge for Republicans.  On the one hand, the party now has a lock on the white vote throughout the South but they bristle at the suggestion that they endorse racism.  The strongest way to communicate the message that they do not endorse racism would be in deeds not words.

Unfortunately, Scalise is not the only Republican in Congress with ties to white supremacist or who have openly opposed civil rights legislation.  Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) are prominent examples of this fact as outlined below.

Legislation to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act enforcement mechanisms in light of the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision was introduced with bi-partisan support..  It was last reauthorized in 2006 without a single Senate vote in opposition but has gone nowhere.  If the party wants to be credible on race, it can celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act by restoring its full authority.

If, however, the Republicans refuse to act and continues to wink and turn the other way at actions of its members like Scalise, the message will be clear that the GOP embraces both the sinner and the sin.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA) – House Majority Whip



  • 1984: As a U.S. Attorney sought to prosecute civil rights activists trying to register voters in under represented areas of Alabama.
  • 1986: During his confirmation hearings to be a federal judge it was revealed he called the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Operation PUSH and the National Council of were Churches “un-American organizations teaching anti-American values; said that he used to like the KKK until he learned they smoke pot and opposed the Voting Rights Act.  His nomination was rejected, but he was later elected to the Senate and now chairs the Subcommittee that rejected his nomination.