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Yes, Mitch McConnell, African Americans Are Americans Too

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

On the matter of whether he knows that African Americans are Americans too, let’s give Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell the benefit of our doubt.

Yet he seemed to express some confusion on the matter Wednesday after Republicans, assisted by Democrats Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, blocked a Democratic-backed voting rights bill.

Asked what he would say to Black voters, among other minorities, who were concerned about access to the polls during the midterm elections, McConnell responded that they shouldn’t worry.

“The concern is misplaced,” he said, “because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”

Oops, say what?

Surely he meant to include another clarifying word like “other” in-between “as” and “Americans.”

 

But, after their disappointing loss, made possible by two defecting Democrats, die-hard supporters — particularly in the Congressional Black Caucus — were in no mood to show any mercy.

“African Americans ARE Americans,” tweeted Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush, helping the hashtag “#MitchPlease” go viral.

“After centuries of building this nation, Republicans still don’t consider Black voters to be Americans,” tweeted Rep. Ayana Pressley of Massachusetts. “We cannot pretend that the days of Jim Crow are behind us.”

In fairness, Sinema and Manchin also helped to kill the proposal by opposing changes to the Senate’s filibuster rule to bypass Republican opposition. As Manchin said in September after opposing a budget reconciliation package he thought was too pricey, “elect more liberals.”

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