Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) compared President Barack Obama winning elections to Jim Crow laws and Japanese internment on Thursday, arguing that they all grew out of "majority rule" thinking.
On the Fox News show "On The Record", host Greta Van Susteren asked him about Obama. "He is quoted back in January 23rd, 2009, right when he became president first term. He said, 'I won, so I think on that one I trump you.' I mean, this is sort of -- this has always been the viewpoint he has communicated to Republicans on the Hill," she said.
Paul responded, "Well, you know, the danger to majority rule, to him sort of thinking, the majority voted for me now I'm the majority, I can do whatever I want and that there are no rules that restrain me -- that's what gave us Jim Crow. That's what gave us the internment of the Japanese -- that the majority said, 'you don't have individual rights and individual rights don't come from your creator and they are not guaranteed by the constitution.' Just whatever the majority wants."
He went on, "There is a real danger to that viewpoint. It's consistent with the progressive viewpoint. It's been going on for 100 years. Progressives believe in majority rule, not constitutional rule. They don't believe that rights are inherent to the individual. They think your rights are whatever the government says they are, whatever the majority says."
But Paul's comment that Jim Crow grew out of majority rule does not jibe with history. Blacks were absolute majorities in Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina -- and made up more than 40 percent of the population in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Virginia -- during the 1880s, just after Jim Crow laws began. Presumably, if there was majority rule, then Jim Crow would not have been enacted.
Japanese internment began after then- President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order that the Supreme Court upheld in Korematsu v. United States.