Op-Ed: Why book bans and voter suppression go hand in hand
Lena Wolanin | Special to USA TODAY
Show Caption Hide Caption ‘They go together’: Trump supporters heckle Dem presidential candidates at a rally More than 100 Trump supporters heckled a Hillary Clinton rally in Philadelphia on June 12. Video by USA TODAY
The Democratic National Convention this summer was supposed to be the biggest and most exciting ever for African-American voters. But it came in for a harsh criticism after a number of incidents led to hundreds of protesters being turned away.
Among the reasons: There were security concerns at the Wells Fargo Center after white nationalist groups showed up wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. The protests were about the GOP nominee, and their presence was seen as a threat to minority voters.
Those who didn’t get in to protest the first day were told they couldn’t come back the next two days. Many were sent home before the second day of the convention when police were ready to take them in and question them.
Many of those who went back to the convention were turned away again.
This is a familiar chapter in the history of minority voters, who have been at the center of some of the most contentious political issues of the last couple of decades.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to prevent states from requiring voters to show photo IDs at the polls also left African-American voters in the lurch and prevented them from casting ballots.
This is another example of how “they go together,” said Michael McDonald, executive director of the National Urban League.
“These groups will always be a threat to the party — and to the very functioning of our democracy,” McDonald said. “The party has to take care of itself and that’s why we have a system of campaign finance and lobbying in terms of the party.
“Our elections are not just a referendum on how Americans think the party should be.”
In the days leading up to the convention, Republicans were quick to point out that they and the Democratic Party had to compete with each other and do everything they could to win the black vote. And that they were trying to do so by building on the themes of black empowerment and unity that were central to their 2016 platform.
The GOP plan of record and what Donald Trump promised during the presidential campaign was