Krystal Ball Says GOP Has Replaced Jim Crow as Enemy of Black Americans

MSNBC’s Krystal Ball slammed the Republican Party in a tongue-in-cheek monologue at the end of Tuesday’s The Cycle, declaring that the GOP is the new Jim Crow. But in the process, she also drew attention to the problem of complacency among Democratic voters, seemingly resorting to an offensive stereotype that they are generally lazy, disinterested in public policy, and need to be driven by fear.

Much of Ball’s rant was focused on how new Republican-imposed voter ID laws in many states have increased the desire to vote among traditional Democratic constituencies. She concluded by blasting the GOP as the new purveyors of Jim Crow laws:


"Fifty years ago, the March on Washington focused on ending Jim Crow, a disgusting villain that hid behind the law to deprive people of their votes and sometimes their lives. Fifty years later, we have no Jim Crow and without a villain to focus on, it's hard to get people fired up. Congratulations, Republicans. You have taken the place of Jim Crow. You are now the people conspiring to keep folks from voting."
 

That’s incredibly insulting to the vast majority of Americans that polls show want to prevent voter fraud through common-sense voter ID measures, including some two-thirds of black and Hispanic voters. Sadly, you can expect this kind of propaganda from Krystal Ball, who is one of the many partisan Democrats with a regular role on MSNBC. But in the earlier portion of her monologue, she perhaps unintentionally hit on the problem of Democratic complacency. She implied that Republican policies had inspired so many liberals to march on Washington last Saturday:
 

"[W]ere it not for your Stand Your Ground laws... we may have taken a nap instead of marching. Were it not for your backsliding on immigration... we may have gone to the beach instead of marching. And were it not for your blatant attempts to keep young people and minorities from voting... we may have had a picnic instead of marching."
 

Ball also credited Republicans for getting liberals interested in voting:
 

"Getting people to vote has always been like pulling teeth. You have to beg them, remind them of the date, get them to fill out little postcards to themselves pledging that they'll actually do it. Yet somehow you have almost effortlessly made voting cool, important, and worthy of sacrifice... Thanks, GOP. You've accomplished something that no well-intentioned advocacy effort ever could have really accomplished."
 

Complacency and low voter turnout are problems in both parties, to be sure. But Ball’s words make you wonder if liberal Democrats have any unifying principle other than opposition to Republicans -- an opposition predicated not on civil disagreement with their policies, but a visceral disdain driven by left-wing fearmongering. Left-wing pundits often claim that opposition to President Obama is the only unifying force in the GOP right now, but it may also be true that Democrats are driven by nothing more than their disdain for the GOP. Otherwise, why would they need Republican policies to motivate them to be politically active?

Below is a transcript of the full monologue:

MSNBC The Cycle
08/27/13
3:52 p.m.

KRYSTAL BALL: I was blown away this weekend by the number of people and the amazing energy at the March on Washington, and I give enormous credit to Reverend Sharpton and his organization, the National Action Network, for a phenomenal job of organizing and inspiring. People don't just spontaneously show up at an event like that. It takes a lot of work.

But there's another group that's been working overtime to galvanize people, to get them engaged, to make sure they don't rest on their laurels and become complacent. This group – well, I wouldn’t say they go unnoticed but they aren't often given the credit they're really due. No, I think it's high time we express our deep gratitude to the Republican Party. So I'd like to thank the GOP directly for making the March on Washington such a success. After all, were it not for your Stand Your Ground laws and similar legislation pushed into passage in more than 30 states across the country by gun manufacturers, we may have taken a nap instead of marching. Were it not for your backsliding on immigration with Steve King calling immigrants drug mules and the House finding any excuse possible to keep reform from passing, we may have gone to the beach instead of marching. And were it not for your blatant attempts to keep young people and minorities from voting, efforts so thinly disguised as voter fraud prevention that even your own people keep admitting it's really just about disenfranchisement, if it wasn't for that, we may have had a picnic instead of marching. Really. It's impressive.



Getting people to vote has always been like pulling teeth. You have to beg them, remind them of the date, get them to fill out little postcards to themselves pledging that they'll actually do it. Yet somehow you have almost effortlessly made voting cool, important, and worthy of sacrifice. It's a nice little bit of reverse psychology. Nothing makes people want to vote more than telling them they can't. And we're not just voting and marching and working to roll back the GOP's onerous laws. You've also inspired us to fix and standardize our long-broken and disorganized election system. Thanks, GOP. You've accomplished something that no well-intentioned advocacy effort ever could have really accomplished. And I fully believe that you're not going to stop there. Why, if you keep it up, you could even upend historic midterm election trends and overcome gerrymandered House districts to ensure a Democratic majority in the House in 2014. No really, you're that good. I had my doubts but who could have predicted that you’d toy with shutting down the government and ruining our nation's credit rating. Really, you guys are going above and beyond.

Fifty years ago, the March on Washington focused on ending Jim Crow, a disgusting villain that hid behind the law to deprive people of their votes and sometimes their lives. Fifty years later, we have no Jim Crow and without a villain to focus on, it's hard to get people fired up. Congratulations, Republicans. You have taken the place of Jim Crow. You are now the people conspiring to keep folks from voting. I'm just amazed that you're willing to destroy your party's brand -- the party of Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, a party that fought to end Jim Crow -- all just to help us get our folks onto the ballot box. And then Ted Cruz in 2016? Am I dreaming? It's all too much, you guys. You really shouldn't have.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.