Hillary Clinton’s recent Jim Crow remark has reignited tensions between Democrats and Republicans after the presidential hopeful slammed Alabama Republicans for the state’s decision to close 31 driver’s license offices and require proof of citizenship to vote, CNN reports.
Clinton made the Jim Crow remark during a speech to the Alabama Democratic Conference on Saturday.
“Here in Alabama, without the right kind of ID, it’s nearly impossible to vote. It’s hard to believe we are back having this same debate about whether every American gets a chance to vote. This is a blast from the Jim Crow past.”
To those unfamiliar with Jim Crow, here’s how Wikipedia defines the term.
“Jim Crow laws were state and local laws enforcing racial segregation in the Southern United States. Jim Crow laws mandated the segregation of public schools, public places, and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains for whites and blacks.”
Jim Crow was in effect from the 1880s into the 1960s, NPS.gov wrote, and a majority of American states enforced segregation through “Jim Crow” laws (so called after a black character in minstrel shows). From Delaware to California, and from North Dakota to Texas, many states (and cities, too) could impose legal punishments on people for consorting with members of another race.
Former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton stirred up the crowd of about 700 people during her first public appearance in Alabama as a 2016 presidential candidate. She encouraged the Democratic black population of Alabama, promising to advocate for voting rights and accusing Republicans of tearing down generations of racial progress.
“We have to defend the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote,” Clinton expressed to the crowd. “No one in this state, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”
Hillary Clinton criticized the governor of Alabama, Republican Robert Bentley, for closing driver’s licenses offices in 31 counties, many of them with an African-American majority. Alabama requires photo identification to vote, and the state has a voter ID law, and a driver’s license is the most common form of ID used to vote, Alabama.com reports.
Clinton also ridiculed Republican presidential hopefuls Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush for opposing the restoration of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act repealed by the Supreme Court in 2013, and spoke out against Ohio Governor John Kasich’s limiting early voting in his state.
“What part of democracy are these Republicans so afraid of?” asked Clinton. “I’ve won elections, and I’ve lost elections, but I sure feel better when as many people as possible show up and vote.”
As pointed out by the Associated Press, the event gave Hillary an opportunity to advocate for voting rights to an important constituency. In her speech, Clinton also praised President Barack Obama’s management of the economy, and made it clear that she wasn’t “running for her husband’s third term or President Obama’s third term.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the 67-year-old former Secretary of State delivered a powerful speech in Texas on immigration and guns while promising to fight for Latinos. With 38 electoral votes, Texas ranks second behind California (55), and a Democratic win here would be a surprise that nobody expected and a real setback for Republicans.
“I know you have heard a lot of politicians asking for your support at election time. And then they disappear the rest of the time,” Clinton told the predominantly Latino audience. “But that is not me. That has never been me. Your fights are my fight, they always have been and they always will be. I am standing with you today just as firmly and proudly as I ever have.”
[Image via Erich Schlegel / Getty Images News]