While Trump has praised him for his accomplishments on jobs, tax cuts, infrastructure, and school funding, he has been targeted by Black activists for his record on voting rights protections, education for students of color, and his position on the death penalty.
Certainly his stance on the issues dovetail with his hard-line conservative views. In fact, Johnnie Morgan, a Black Republican delegate from California who voted to nominate Trump for president on Tuesday, told NewsOne in an interview outside the convention hall that a Trump-Pence ticket would be great for race relations because the team would help the nation’s economic recovery.
“People want to work,” he said.
Rochelle “Silk” Richardson, part of the Stump for Trump Girls (also known as Diamond & Silk), told NewsOne that the men would be great for African-American voters.
“With Donald Trump and his running mate, we get something different,” she said. “With Hillary Clinton, we get the same thing. African-Americans want to work just like everyone else and Donald Trump has pledged to do that.”
But few people in the halls at the convention are talking about Pence’s record as it relates to African-Americans in his home state.
The Rev. Dr. William Barber, the leader of the Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina that has spread to several states, led a campaign against the governor in 2014, including these three issues:
1. Indiana has tough voter suppression laws.
Pence has stated that he admires civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but Indiana appears to make it difficult for voters to get to the polls, according to Think Progress: “The state only kept polling places open until 6 p.m. during the May primary, although most states keep their polls open to 8 p.m. or even later. Indiana doesn’t have any laws that require employers to allow workers to leave work to go vote.”
2. Indiana reportedly fails Black children in education.
Calling it “extreme and immoral,” Moral Mondays activists have accused Indiana lawmakers of re-segregating and underfunding schools:
Since 1992, Black children have not made progress on the National Assessment on Educational Practice. Indiana led the way in establishing charter schools and vouchers for attendees while budgets for public education have been cut significantly. Charter schools are located in large urban communities in the State and are overwhelmingly Black in attendance, their test scores are no better than public schools. Indiana leads the country on suspensions of Black males (report on Disparities in School Discipline released last March) for minor infractions.
3. He supports the death penalty.
Although there has been a lot of movement in recent years in states across the nation to eliminate the death penalty – which disproportionately impacts people of color – after numerous wrongful convictions, Pence is still a strong supporter of the practice.
He expressed his support for the death penalty during a February 2014 CNN governor’s panel, Bustle reports. When asked if his home state would consider removing the death penalty from its law, Pence said: “I don’t see that prospect in the state of Indiana. I support the death penalty. I believe justice demands it in our most heinous cases,” writes the news outlet.
With his position on some of these issues, it’s hard to see why Black Republicans support the Trump-Pence ticket. What do you think? Sound off in the comments.