Question for Chuck Schumer: Does He Support NYC's New Law Allowing Non-Citizens to Vote?

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Posted: Jan 12, 2022 1:25 PM
Question for Chuck Schumer: Does He Support NYC's New Law Allowing Non-Citizens to Vote?

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been busy lately. He's insisted that Americans' right to vote is under attack, demanding a partisan "fix" to this alleged problem, via a federal takeover of our elections. Per David Harsanyi, what Democrats would like to pass is "an H.R. 1–type 'voting rights' bill, which would not only override hundreds of existing laws, but compel states to count mail-in votes ten days after Election Day, to allow ballot harvesting, to allow felons to vote, to ban basic voter-ID laws, and to create councils to redraw districts." Even if this sort of HR 1-style power grab is diluted, there are no Republicans who favor Democrats' preferred solution to a hyped-up non-problem. One step that could actually garner bipartisan support is making needed, clarifying reforms to the Electoral Count Act, to eliminate some of the ambiguity that contributed to the post-2020 election mayhem and the Capitol riot.

Schumer says he has no interest in that "offensive" approach, as it would distract from the "real" issue – which is, in fact, the Democrats' invented issue. The New York senator has now explicitly threatened that if Republicans refuse to pass the Democrats' bill on "voting rights," he will trigger a process to nuke the legislative filibuster. He says this will only be a "carve out" on this narrow issue, but everyone knows that would be untenable. Once it's gone, it's gone. Here's the problem for Schumer, aside from this whole issue being a manufactured moral panic, driven by egregious mischaracterizations of red state moves to return voting protocols to something resembling a pre-pandemic status quo (albeit still more generous, in places like Georgia and Texas): He doesn't have the votes. Democrats lack the votes to pass their slanted legislation, and they lack the votes to blow up the Senate rules in order to facilitate passage of their slanted legislation. In his gambit to pivot away from his party's failure to ram through a multi-trillion-dollar "Build Back Better" spending scheme, Schumer is ramping up expectations on another front, knowing full well that it's also a dead end. Two of his members have consistently stated their firm opposition to changing filibuster rules, and they're not the only ones reportedly anxious about the prospect: 

Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are the source of most liberals’ frustrations these days, with both publicly rebuffing changes to the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. But it’s not like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer starts a pivotal week — focused on changes to the very fabric of the Senate — with 48 iron-clad votes for a particular filibuster reform. [Arizona's Mark] Kelly is one of a handful of Democrats still weighing what to do about the party's drive to allow sweeping federal elections legislation to evade the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. And the range of views and Democratic hesitance reflect the gravity of the debate...Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who helped organize a bipartisan letter backing up the legislative filibuster in 2017, said he’s “seriously weighing” what to do...Some, like Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) like a talking filibuster but are “not crazy” about making an exception for voting rights. Meanwhile, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) says reform is needed but is promoting more modest changes.

California's Dianne Feinstein has also opposed altering the legislative filibuster in the recent past. The Politico story quoted above suggests that Democrats believe that if a 'nuclear' attempt is undertaken, "everyone but Manchin and Sinema will quickly fall in line." That's not a bad bet, considering Democrats' bottomless appetite to undermine institutions that stand in their ambitions, and the propensity of many Democratic "moderates" to do whatever leadership tells them to do when the chips are down. It's worth noting that Schumer himself previously referred to a GOP-proposed change to the filibuster as "doomsday for democracy" that would usher in an era of banana republic-style dictatorship. That is not an exaggeration of his characterization. The proposal in question went nowhere at the time...until Schumer's party embraced and implemented it when they regained power. When Republicans won control of the governing trifecta in Washington a few years later, Schumer reiterated his deep and abiding commitment to the legislative filibuster, urging the Senate to build a bipartisan "firewall" around this democracy "guardrail." Democrats lined up to sign a bipartisan letter on this front. They proceeded to engage in hundreds of filibusters while they were in the minority.

Now most of them want to uproot the guardrail and cancel the firewall. Because they can't get what they want in a 50/50 Senate. It's absolutely shameless. But even if they manage to cobble together 48 votes, that's still two shy of 50, and both Manchin and Sinema have dug in on the question, on numerous occasions. So Schumer may force vulnerable members to walk a plank for absolutely no reason while putting every one of them on the record in a politically-uncomfortable way. Has he been taking lessons from the Pelosi school of leadership? Weirdly, Schumer's threat is something that Mitch McConnell would like to see come to fruition: A pointless and self-destructive exercise by the opposition. Let's say Republicans win the Senate back in November, and the GOP ticket prevails in 2024. That's not exactly a far-fetched scenario. Will these exact same Democrats once again reverse themselves? Of course they will, but the gesture will be empty to the point of farce: 


Moving on to the question posed in my headline. Schumer's home city has just installed a new law (now even favored by the city's new "moderate" mayor) that will allow 800,000 non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. This push mirrors similar efforts in other deep blue cities. So while Democrats wring their hands about "voting rights" and alleged "voter suppression," their fellow travelers are moving toward a regime of non-citizen voting. What are the chances that non-citizens internalize a newfound right to vote, and attempt to vote in federal elections? Would local officials, who can't run efficient elections in California or New York to save their lives, be able to (or want to) manage this muddle and reject sometimes-eligible voters from casting ineligible ballots? Is there any question that the endgame for many of these activists is to extend the franchise to illegal immigrants, too? While framing any opposition to any of this as racist, etc.? In major Democratic cities, Democrats are leaning into cartoonish left-wingery, and Republicans will and should eagerly point to these developments as warning signs of coming attractions under continued national Democratic governance. Allahpundit

“Dems want to lose the midterms,” said Amanda Carpenter... “This is going to do lots of damage nationally.” Indeed. It’s of a piece with “defund the police,” protracted school closures, and CRT, all of which reinforce voters’ suspicions that putting Democrats in charge means radical experimentation with local institutions. Adams was supposed to be the antidote to that. Blue cities like San Francisco might be out of control, beset by smash-and-grab looting in broad daylight, but New York was bringing back common sense and a firm hand. Now here he is outdoing even SF in his willingness to condone radically progressive changes to the electoral system...Given how casually most Americans follow the news, it’s a cinch that many will hear about New York’s policy and assume that even illegal immigrants there are allowed to vote now. Not so, but who could fault any voter for believing that that’s next on the left’s agenda?

Yep. They want non-citizens of all stripes to vote in elections of all sorts. This is just a step in that direction. CNN's Jake Tapper asked Mayor Adams why allowing non-citizens to vote doesn't amount to "a mockery" of citizenship itself. That's how many normal Americans will feel about this. These Americans believe that illegal immigration is unacceptable, and should not be incentivized or rewarded. They also believe that legal immigration is a good thing, but that there are certain privileges that must only be conferred upon full citizens, including the right to vote for the leaders shaping our policies. AP summarizes the mainstream view on this question: "If you’re going to have a say in the political direction of your community, you should prove first that you have a long-term interest in it. Requiring citizenship to vote serves the same purpose, demanding a commitment of full allegiance to the United States for a say in shaping its policies."

What does Schumer think of all of this? The Chairman of the House Democratic caucus hails from New York City and has fully endorsed the move. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is widely seen as a likely fixture in the next generation of House leadership, once the current elderly crop stands down. Does Schumer – who claims he's very, very concerned about the integrity of elections and "voting rights" – similarly favor handing ballots to non-US citizens? I'd imagine he'd rather not talk about it, but if embracing the idea protects his left flank from a primary challenge, he'll do or say whatever it takes. He'd almost certainly swear up and down that this would never apply to federal elections, and would absolutely not be applied to "the undocumented." But why should anyone believe a word he says? He called changing one aspect of the filibuster a literal "doomsday for democracy," then voted for that exact doomsday scenario as soon as it benefited his expedient interests. He then expressed "regret" over doing so when the shoe was back on the other foot, demanding no further erosion of the filibuster. Until, of course, the moment that further erosion of the filibuster would benefit his agenda, and he's now back in favor of it. His words mean nothing. The only way to ensure that his weather vane "principles" are irrelevant is for voters to return Schumer and his party to minority status. More embarrassing hackery, for the record: 


Those are rank-and-file members, flailing and flopping around. They've averred how much they regretted their previous filibuster power grab, but now they're hungry for an even bigger one – or are at least willing to swallow it if that's what the tribe requires. That's what Harry Reid ordered them to do back then, and it's what Schumer may order them to do now (albeit without the votes). Imagine what Senate Democrats would do with an even slightly larger majority. Those are the stakes of 2022. And as we've already established, the leaders are even bigger unscrupulous, dishonest hypocrites: 


Durbin claimed he wanted to undo Democrats' previous nuclear option on judges. Now he wants to nuke the legislative filibuster. Again, their words mean nothing and their Word is useless. I'll leave you with the president's own position on this hypocrisy train, much of which we addressed this morning.   

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