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Rand Paul Doesn't Understand Why Republicans These Days Get a Low Share of the African-American Vote

Alana Goodman:

Rand Paul staffer has history of neo-Confederate sympathies: A close aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) who co-wrote the senator’s 2011 book spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist, raising questions about whether Paul will be able to transcend the same fringe-figure associations that dogged his father’s political career. Paul hired Jack Hunter, 39, to help write his book The Tea Party Goes to Washington during his 2010 Senate run. Hunter joined Paul’s office as his social media director in August 2012.

From 1999 to 2012, Hunter was a South Carolina radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger.” He has weighed in on issues such as racial pride and Hispanic immigration, and stated his support for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. During public appearances, Hunter often wore a mask on which was printed a Confederate flag. Prior to his radio career, while in his 20s, Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which “advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.”… The League of the South maintains that it is not racist and does not discriminate in terms of membership….

In one 2004 commentary, Hunter said Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth’s heart was “in the right place.” “Although Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth’s heart was in the right place, the Southern Avenger does regret that Lincoln’s murder automatically turned him into a martyr,” he said in 2004. He later wrote that he “raise[s] a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday.” He also compared Lincoln to Saddam Hussein and suggested that the 16th president would have had a romantic relationship with Adolf Hitler if the two met.

Many of Hunter’s monologues touched on racial issues, and his contention that white people are subject to a “racial double standard.” “Black Americans are encouraged to celebrate their racial identity by appealing to their shared experience of injustice and African roots,” wrote Hunter. “Hispanics indulge in an even more nationalistic form of racial identity by flying Mexican flags, listening to a foreign music that both black and white Americans have never even heard of and turning everywhere they settle into northern outposts of their Mexican homeland.”… “That Americans, white or otherwise, don’t want Spanish-speaking people dominating their airwaves, neighborhoods, or country is no more racist than Mexico’s lack of interest in Seinfeld,” he wrote. “Native Americans had no illusions about how their land would change as boatloads of white men landed on their shores and modern Americans aren’t wrong to deplore the millions of Mexicans coming here now. A non-white majority America would simply cease to be America for reasons that are as numerous as they are obvious – whether we are supposed to mention them or not.”

In 2005, Hunter’s anonymous commentary caught the attention of a local Charleston newspaper. “Some call it hate speech, while others call it comedic genius,” wrote the Post and Courier in a profile on the radio pundit. “But [the Southern Avenger] swears that every word that issues from his lips, no matter how controversial or politically incorrect, actually represents how he feels about that particular issue.”…

Hunter defended his pro-secessionist views as recently as 2009. “In my early 20s, I was a full-blown, right-wing radical. As a member of the Southern secessionist group the League of the South, I argued seriously for the states of the old Confederacy to break away from the rest of the Union,” wrote Hunter in a Charleston City Paper column. “I thought it might be better to tone down the radicalism and at least try to appear more respectable. But when I came across an old column of mine last week, I realized that I never really changed. I’m still just as radical or crazy, depending on your perspective. In fact, I might be getting worse.” He later described his support for secession as “a brand of politics I still subscribe to today.”