Kentucky Democratic Senate nominee wears noose in campaign ad, smears Rand Paul as racist

by sam

Samuel Case, FISM News


In a provocative midterm election ad, Kentucky U.S. Senate Candidate Charles Booker (D), discusses the state’s history of lynching while wearing a noose around his neck.

Booker, who is the first black man to receive the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, uses the strong imagery as an attempt to smear his opponent, sitting Senator Rand Paul (R), as racist for blocking a federal anti-lynching law in 2020.

The campaign ad, titled “Pain of our Past,” begins with a content warning, informing viewers that the video contains “strong imagery” and that “viewer discretion is advised.”

“Kentucky, like many states throughout the South, lynching was a tool for terror. It was used to kill hopes for freedom,” Booker says in the ad. “It was used to kill my ancestors.”

“My opponent?” Booker says, referring to Paul. “The very person who compared expanded health care to slavery. The person who said he would have opposed The Civil Rights Act. The person who single-handedly blocked an anti-lynching act from being federal law.” 

While Booker does not tell any lies in his ad, he purposefully hand-picks facts without providing much needed context to promote a sensational narrative that is misleading at best.

In 2020, as racial tension simmered following the death of George Floyd, Paul held up a bill that would have designated lynching as a federal hate crime. He did so over concerns that the bill’s language could “conflate someone who has an altercation, where they had minor bruises, with lynching.” Paul said at the time he wanted revisions to “make the language the best that we can get it.”

This year, Paul cosponsored a revised version of the same law, which passed the Senate unanimously.

Paul’s deputy campaign manager, Jake Cox, said in a statement that Booker’s ad is “a desperate misrepresentation of the facts.”

Regarding The Civil Rights Act, in 2010 Paul said told the Courier-Journal that he likes the 1964 legislation “in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains, and I’m all in favor of that,” but said he believes it tramples on rights of private business owners. 

However, in a 2013 speech at Howard University, Paul clarified his position saying ,“I’ve never been against the Civil Rights Act, ever, and I continue to be for the Civil Rights Act.”

He added, “I do question some of the ramifications and the extensions but I never questioned the Civil Rights Act and never came out in opposition to the Civil Rights Act or ever introduced anything to alter the Civil Rights Act.”

Booker’s ad also references remarks Paul made in 2011 at a Senate HELP Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging when he said believing in “a right to health care” means “you believe is slavery.” 

“With regard to the idea whether or not you have a right to health care you have to realize what that implies. I am a physician. You have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery,” Paul said.

Booker ends his ad asking “Do we move forward together? Or do we let politicians like Rand Paul forever hold us back and drive us apart?” After removing the noose from his neck Bookers concludes saying, “​​In November, we will choose healing.”