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Senate Democrat Candidate Taking on Rand Paul in Kentucky Shoots Ad Wearing a Noose

Senator Rand Paul’s Democratic challenger in Kentucky has already dropped one of the most vicious and partisan of the 2022 campaign season. It’s only June.

Paul’s opponent, Charles Booker, had the audacity to shoot an attack ad while wearing a noose, while arguing: “In November, we will choose healing. We will choose Kentucky.” Watch the disturbing video below:

“The pain of our past persists to this day,” Booker says. “In Kentucky, like many states throughout the South, lynching was a tool of terror. It was used to kill hopes for freedom. It was used to kill my ancestors. Now, in a historic victory for our Commonwealth, I have become the first black Kentuckian to receive the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. My opponent? 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. The choice couldn’t be clearer. Do we move forward together or do we let politicians like Rand Paul forever hold us back and drive us apart? In November, we will choose healing. We will choose Kentucky.”

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Booker’s campaign also ran the ad on Twitter:

“Lynching is a tool of terror,” Booker said. “It was used to kill hopes for freedom. In Kentucky, it was used to kill three of my uncles. In this historic election, the choice is clear. Rand Paul may want to divide us, but hate won’t win this time. It’s time to move forward, together.”

The Courier-Journal published an article on Booker’s video that shreds its disgustingly partisan and dishonest nature.

The certain-to-be-controversial ad, which Booker’s campaign released Wednesday morning, includes a content warning for “strong imagery.”

It does not mention that Paul went on to co-sponsor a new (and bipartisan) versionof that legislation. The Senate unanimously voted this March to pass the updated Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which is now law.

The author of the story goes on to explain the context of Senator Paul’s vote.

Paul placed a hold on the original Emmett Till Antilynching Act in 2020 and later sought unanimous consent from the Senate for an amended version of the bill that he indicated would ensure it didn’t apply to crimes that resulted in relatively minor injuries like bruises and cuts….

At the time, Paul said lynching is “a tool of terror that claimed the lives of nearly 5,000 Americans between 1881 and 1968” and defended his stance on the bill, saying: “I seek to amend this legislation, not because I take it or I take lynching lightly, but because I take it seriously — and this legislation does not.”

Paul’s amendment was blocked, and the original bill didn’t advance in the Senate either.

Paul introduced his own proposal, the Marie Thompson Antilynching Act, last year. That legislation, named after a Kentucky woman lynched by a mob in 1904, did not advance in Congress either.

This year, he co-sponsored a new version of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act that Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., introduced.

He told The Courier Journal he negotiated with Cory Booker on a compromise that addressed his concerns, and he supported the legislation that has since become law.

Senator Paul wrote an op-ed at the Courier Journal in March explaining his position. It was called, “The Emmett Till Antilynching act was worth taking the time to get it right.” This is what Paul had to say:

Officially designating lynching a federal crime is a powerful statement. But, when Congress creates new federal crimes, it has a responsibility to ensure that the law is just.

That is exactly what I attempted to do when, over a year ago, I offered an amendment to strengthen an earlier version of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act. That version of the bill would have labeled a conspiracy to commit a vast array of different hate crimes, including those unrelated to physical harm to a person–such as defacing a church–a lynching.

At the same time, protests across the United States were erupting to protest the killing of George Floyd. That summer, protestors calling for racial justice defaced St. John’s Church in Washington, DC. Ironically, had that version of the antilynching bill become law, those protestors could have been the first to have been federally prosecuted for committing a “lynching.”

That real-life example demonstrates why Congress must carefully craft legislation that creates new federal crimes. My amendment, which I named in honor of Marie Thompson, would have ensured that the crime of lynching would be severely punished, while those accused of lesser crimes are punished in a proportionate manner.

Taking the time to get the bill right was, for some, an unpopular decision. Consideration of my amendment would inevitably slow the process of enacting the law, and some people, who were not inclined to give me the benefit of the doubt, hurled vile accusations at me on social media.

Paul also discussed his work with Democratic Senator Cory Booker (NJ) on the legislation:

Sen. Cory Booker recognized my sincerity and agreed to work with me to make the bill stronger. Sen. Booker and I have collaborated to fight other injustices, such as mass incarceration. Our partnership worked because of a profound mutual respect for one another and a shared goal to right historic wrongs without inadvertently creating new victims.

All too often, news coverage portrays our nation as hopelessly divided and our government as broken. The intense debates, the contentious votes, and the partisan signing ceremonies may get the most attention from news organizations. But what the cameras cannot capture is the careful deliberation and cooperation that is required of public servants to faithfully fulfill their charge.

And so, a Republican and a Democrat from different backgrounds, different parts of the country, and different perspectives, sat down and did the hard work entrusted to us by our constituents. Our exchange of ideas was at times passionate, but always respectful and with our common goal sharply in mind. In short, we came up with a compromise. That compromise took over a year to finalize. But the result of that compromise will be a historic law that finally recognizes lynching as a federal hate crime.

If this is what Americans can expect from 2022 political ads, it’s going to be a long midterms campaign season. But since the Democrats have no record of success to point to — on the contrary, it’s been a sheer, unmitigated disaster on their watch — these kinds of nasty dirty tricks is all the party has left.

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.