Republicans have attempted to thwart allegations that the “anti-voter fraud” planks of their platform are rooted in discrimination by including people of color on their roster of speakers at the convention. Tuesday night alone featured remarks by Ted Cruz, the Cuban-American GOP senatorial candidate from Texas who wants to reinstate deportation of young immigrants currently protected under President Obama’s deferred action policy; Nikki Haley, the Indian-American Republican governor of South Carolina who believes legal immigrants should be forced to carry documentation of their immigration status at all times; and Artur Davis, a black former congressman who, after realizing that he couldn’t get elected in Alabama as a Democrat, made the politically calculated decision to become a Republican and completely reverse his position on voter-ID laws from condemnation to full-throated endorsement.
But the GOP’s ability to find and give a platform to those few, powerful people of color who willfully ignore their party’s attempts to silence their own communities does not invalidate or distract from the blatant discrimination that drives these voter-ID and restricted-voting laws. It simply reinforces the hypocrisy of a party that is busy making a show of its own fair, democratic process in a state where it is working hard to make sure no such thing takes place on Nov. 6.
Attempting to stop people from casting the votes to which they are entitled is the last-ditch effort of a party that has run out of ideas. If a party’s platform is so regressive and discriminatory that the only way to win elections is to make sure those who disagree have no voice, perhaps it is time for the party to reexamine its views instead of spending countless hours and millions of dollars suppressing the rights of American citizens.
I’d like to think that the Republican leadership will realize they’re playing a losing game, but the truth is that if we want to stop these disenfranchisement efforts in their tracks, we have to do it ourselves. Vote.ColorofChange.org is a campaign committed to monitoring attacks on our right to vote and taking action to eliminate them; we need your firsthand reports to make sure that we capture real stories of race being used as a wedge issue during this election. We also urge voters to visit Watch the Race, a campaign tool that you can use to track instances of race-baiting, voter suppression and Election Day errors.
Holding our leaders accountable for these policies and collecting proof of the harmful impacts of voting restrictions will help us dismantle voter-suppression tactics and ensure that our community gets its fair share of our democracy. We can’t wait for party platforms to catch up with what’s right; if we want a voice in our political system, we have to speak for ourselves.
Rashad Robinson is executive director of ColorOfChange.org. With more than 800,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest black online civil rights organization.
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