This blog continues the discussion that we began with Epic Journey: The 2008 Elections and American Politics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009).The latest book in this series is Defying the Odds: the 2016 Elections and American Politics.
Paul’s flirtation with Sharpton is not just a matter of ignoring the past. Paul’s minuet is also a matter of disregarding what Republican voters are thinking in the here and now, the here and now being December 2014. The latest NBC/Marist and Pew Polls show the Republican rank and file squarely behind the police, and rightly or wrongly embracing the proposition that police treat blacks and whites alike.
Numbers speak for themselves. According to NBC/Marist Poll, 73 percent of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in the police doing a good job in enforcing the law, seven-in-10 Republicans believe that the police treat blacks and whites equally, and two-thirds disagree with President Obama’s reaction to the Ferguson and New York City grand juries’ decisions not to indict policemen. Pew reports that “Republicans widely support the Ferguson grand jury’s decision (76 percent right vs. 12 percent wrong).”
Against this backdrop, Paul breaking bread with Sharpton may be too much for Republican primary voters to watch or stomach. Unlike Barack Obama or MSNBC, the GOP hasn’t forgotten that it was Sharpton who proclaimed that Tawana had told the truth, or that Sharpton owes more than $4 million in back taxes.