Harris-Perry accused Republican presidential candidates who campaign on the 10th Amendment of sly racism. "States' rights becomes a cover for talking about the ability to remove the rights of some American citizens," she said on MSNBC's Politics Nation. Al Sharpton had asked her why Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have praised the 10th Amendment, and compared this presidential election to the 1860 campaign.
"But I think they also like 1860 because -- remember that back then it was the Republican Party who were the champions of the union," she added. "If they go back to the 1860s, they can lay claim to the segregationist past, but claim that they were above the fray." Harris-Perry distinguished the party of Lincoln from "the new-fangled Republican Party" of the 1960s and 1980s.
Dick Harpootlian, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, agreed, saying that Tea Partiers in his state were pushing Jim Crow policies. "This is Jim Crow -- we're going backwards in this state, and not forward, and that's because of [South Carolina Governor] Nikki Haley and the Tea Party folks that don't want to try to convince folks of color to vote for their candidates," he said, in criticism of voter ID laws.