"They're all saying the same thing. Thurmond, James Eastland and well, Mitch McConnell, 64 years later."
MSNBC's Chris Hayes Wednesday night likened Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to "avowed" segregationists, simply by using his own words.
Hayes showed clips of McConnell talking about voting rights legislation and clips of literal white supremacist segregationists, like Senator Strom Thurmond and Senator James Eastland – all saying the same thing, all giving the same reasons why they don't support legislation to protect the right to vote, namely, they all claimed, falsely, that it's "unnecessary."
"It has been against the law to discriminate on the basis of race in voting since 1870," Hayes reminded viewers, "when the 15th Amendment was ratified, saying, quote, 'the right of citizens of the United States to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.' It says it right there in black and white in the US Constitution. Says that you cannot racially discriminate in voting."
"And so you can imagine a version of Mitch McConnell in, I don't know, 1920 Kentucky saying literally the exact same statement: 'Oh, well why would we need a law to enforce voting rights, it's already illegal,' or, say, avowed segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond, in the middle of filibustering the 1957 Civil Rights Act, saying, quote, 'There are mainly three reasons why I feel, feel the bill should not be passed. The first is that it is unnecessary. Every state has enacted some legislative version, making it unlawful to intimidate a voter or to hinder him in the exercise of his voting rights penalties have been provided for such violation.'"
"We don't need new laws to protect the right to vote, certainly not to protect against discrimination or race those already exists in the Constitution," Hayes said, mocking Thurmond.
"Those were the type of arguments segregationists made, Jim Crow authoritarians decade after decade after decade after decade in this country. As they flogged multiracial democracy to death, underneath the table as they gave those speeches. 'We are not discriminating, the law says we can't. Anyone can vote.'"
"This is how Senator James Eastland a Mississippi notorious segregationist, the 'voice to the white South,' put it to Mike Wallace," Hayes told viewers.
"Well, we have no voting qualifications, based on race," Eastland told Wallace. "We, not at all, and anybody who's qualified can vote,"
Mocking him, Hayes said: "Mississippi Senator. 1957. 'We have no voting qualifications based on race, of course, why would we? It's in the Constitution, we can't.' The Constitution, ratified in 1870. When Mississippi was under federal occupation. They're all saying the same thing. Thurman, James Eastland and well, Mitch McConnell, 64 years later."