Ben Carson has compared the delegate election process in Colorado to the racially-oppressive voting rules of the Jim Crow era.
The former neurosurgeon and former Republican Presidential primary candidate made the remarks in response to an open memo sent out by RNC Chief Strategist and Communications Director Sean Spicer, who was himself retaliating against repeated harsh criticisms against the Republican National Committee by Donald Trump in what he calls a “rigged” Republican primary delegate system, which he blames for his loss to Ted Cruz in Colorado.
“The rules surrounding the delegate selection have been clearly laid out in every state and territory,” read the open memo from Spicer. “[A]nd while each state is different, each process is easy to understand for those willing to learn it.”
“Yeah, well, you know, during the Jim Crow era, those were the rules too,” replied Ben Carson in response to Spicer’s statement on an MSNBC interview on Friday. “They were written, everybody knew about them. Didn’t make them right.”
“And I’m not saying this is the same,” Carson clarified. “[B]ut you know, I think you get the point. Just because rules are there, just because they’re written by somebody doesn’t mean that they’re right.”
Jim Crow laws were oppressive state and local laws set in place after slavery was abolished in the American South to keep black Americans segregated from whites, and to keep them from voting. The laws were set in place after the post-Civil War Reconstruction period and continued in force until 1965.
Carson isn’t the first popular conservative pundit to draw this comparison this week. Alex Jones, favored champion of libertarians and the alt-right, said during an interview on his show Tuesday that the delegate-selection process in Colorado “makes Jim Crow look like a blessing.”
Other GOP pundits have been pushing back on Trump’s narrative however, highlighting the controversial and often divisive effect of the Trump candidacy within the Republican establishment. Longtime party favorite Rush Limbaugh asked in response to the Trump camp’s outrage over the Colorado primary results why his campaign didn’t do anything sooner about the way the election process currently exists.
“Why not complain about this two months ago?” asked Limbaugh. “Why not call attention to it last month, two weeks ago, two months ago? Why wait until after the results to start complaining about how it was rigged?”
“It’s not as though they changed the rules in the middle of the process during the weekend,” Limbaugh continued.
Colorado Trump supporters are gathering on Friday at the state capitol to voice their outrage over an election process which awarded Texas Senator Ted Cruz all 34 of the state’s delegates, effectively shutting Trump out of all but a handful of alternate slots.
The main objections voiced by Trump and his supporters are regarding the decision by state party leaders not to hold a preference poll at the caucuses in March. Precinct caucus attendees instead selected representatives for higher-level gatherings, where the delegation to this coming summer’s GOP convention was elected. Trump released a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece on Thursday blaming this system for his loss and for depriving voters of a voice in what he calls a “voterless victory” for Cruz.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]