Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told CNN’s “State of Union” Sunday that he would never consider leaving the GOP and becoming a Democrat because he is proud of his party’s “rich history” of fighting for civil rights.
“Do you see yourself at any point in the future being anything other than politically a member of the Republican Party?” asked CNN host Candy Crowley.
“You mean — you’re implying a third party or some other party?” Paul said.
“Or if you wanted to become a Democrat — there are lots of parties out there,” she said. “Just wonder if you see yourself being anything other than a Republican?”
“No. I’ve always been a Republican, and I’m one of those people who actually is a real lover of the history of the Republican Party from the days of abolition to the days of civil rights. The Republican Party has a really rich history,” he said.
“In our state, I’m really proud of the fact that the ones who overturned Jim Crow in Kentucky were Republicans fighting against an entirely unified Democratic Party, so I am proud to be Republican. I can’t imagine being anything else,” he added.
Abraham Lincoln, who invented income tax, also fought for the abolition of slavery.
“If Abraham Lincoln were alive today he might not even recognize the Republican Party,” said Lincoln scholar Augustin Stucker, who has studied the 16th president for almost his entire life.
Jim Crow laws popped up after the Civil War to keep free blacks segregated from whites. In 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed Kentucky’s Jim Crow law to require residential segregation as unconstitutional.
During the Civil Rights era, South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond left the Democratic party and became a Republican because of liberal support for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which ended segregation.