Schumer Misleads and Mischaracterizes About 'Voter Suppression' and 'Voting Rights'

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Posted: Jan 19, 2022 10:15 PM
Schumer Misleads and Mischaracterizes About 'Voter Suppression' and 'Voting Rights'

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

On Wednesday night, the U.S. Senate voted on and failed to pass legislation that Democrats claim to categorize to be about so-called "voting rights," but would in actuality amount to a federal takeover of elections. When that predictably failed, the Senate also voted on and failed to change Senate rules when it comes to the filibuster.

In between the votes, multiple Senators took to the floor to make remarks about the legislation before them, the filibuster, or both. Many were Democrats who engaged in fear mongering that we've heard before, about the right to vote, and the need get rid of the filibuster.

This included Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who was the last to speak. From the first words out of his mouth, the majority leader misled about what was at stake. 

He began by quoting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had said that "the denial of the sacred right to vote is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition." Schumer offered context as to how Dr. King had been asking Congress to "give us the ballot," and went on to claim that "today, the American people are saying the same thing." 

In his closing, Schumer also framed it as "let us choose in favor of our democracy, let us stand up and defend the precious right to vote."

Despite what Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media would like voters to believe, though, there are no legislative efforts being considered at the federal or at the state levels that amount of "the denial of the sacred right to vote." What they take issue with is voter integrity legislation that states around the country have been passing.

The majority leader went on to lament that the legislation would have passed with a simple majority, since with votes from all 50 Democrats, Vice President Kamala Harris would have provided the tie-breaking vote. However, those are not the rules of the Senate, which was another matter before the body late into Wednesday night.  

Schumer continued on with his point about changing the filibuster by asking fellow senators to choose between supposedly "protecting voting rights" and keeping the current rules to do with the filibuster in place.

"But even for those who feel that the filibuster is a good thing and helps bring us together, I would ask this question: isn't protecting voting rights the most fundamental wellspring of this democracy, more important than a rule in this chamber?" He repeated the question for emphasis, also adding that it wasn't just about "protecting voting rights," but also about "preventing their diminution."

Despite how Schumer in the clip tweeted above by CSPAN referenced "voting rights" as a reason to change the filibuster, earlier and later in that same speech he referred to "ending dark money" and "ending partisan gerrymandering" as well.

It's a slippery slope on a path to a Democratic power grab, and Schumer knows as much. 

Further, while Democrats may see such legislation as their most important issue, polls indicate that voters care more about other issues. 

A CBS/YouGov poll, which was released on Sunday and which I also highlighted earlier in a VIP piece, showed that a plurality, at 39 percent, believe that Biden and Democrats are focusing on issues that these respondents "don't care about." 

Out of six issues that the poll asked respondents which was most important, "voting rights and access" came in fourth, at 16 percent. The issues respondents regarded as more important included "the coronavirus outbreak (26 percent)," "economy and jobs (22 percent)," and "inflation (20 percent)."

The Wednesday vote to keep the filibuster rules in place came down to 52 in favor and 48 opposed, as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) voted with all 50 Republicans. 

There used to be more in favor of keeping the filibuster. Many Democrats have previously signed onto legislation to keep the filibuster or issued warnings about getting rid of it. 

In 2005, Schumer himself passionately insisted that getting rid of the filibuster would be a "doomsday for democracy."