Thursday, April 28, 2022


Writing for The New York Times, Jazmine Ulloa tells us about the latest Republican craze: claiming that undocument immigrants are voting for Democrats. And she really believes it's the latest:
G.O.P. Concocts New Fake Threat: Voter Fraud by Undocumented Immigrants

Far from the U.S.-Mexico border, Ohio’s Senate primary shows how the Republican obsession with the fiction of a stolen election has spawned a new cause for fear of illegal immigration.

Six years after former President Donald J. Trump paved his way to the White House on nativist and xenophobic appeals to white voters, the 2,000-mile dividing line between Mexico and the United States has once again become a fixation of the Republican Party.

But the resurgence of the issue on the right has come with a new twist: Republican leaders and candidates are increasingly claiming without basis that unauthorized immigrants are gaining access to the ballot box.

... that fabricated message — capitalizing on a concocted threat to advance Mr. Trump’s broader lie of stolen elections — is now finding receptive audiences in more than a dozen states across the country, including several far from the U.S.-Mexico border.

... Both Republicans and Democrats — especially the G.O.P. in recent years — have historically played into bigoted tropes that conflate illegal immigration and crime and that portray Latinos and Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners in their own country or, worse, an economic threat.

But the leap from unsecure borders to unsecure elections is newer.
(Emphasis added.)

No, it's not newer. This has been a staple of Republican rhetoric for nearly twenty years.

Ulloa is fairly young -- she graduated from college in 2009 -- but does she know nothing about this period in American politics? Do her editors, who presumably have been doing this a lot longer than she has, know nothing?

Well into the piece, she acknowledges that this isn't a completely new conspiracy theory.
Mr. Trump himself made that false claim in 2017, asserting without evidence that between three million and five million unauthorized immigrants had voted for Hillary Clinton. But the idea that immigrants, and Latinos specifically, are illegally entering the country to vote Democratic has been a fringe right-wing trope for years, said Mike Madrid, a Republican political consultant and co-founder of the Lincoln Project.
What does "fringe" mean in this context? The word reassures readers that the Republican Party was, for the most part, nice and polite before that nasty old Trump guy showed up, and will probably be just fine again once he's no longer being such a terrible influence on the otherwise fine people of the GOP.

Is the Heritage Foundation a "fringe" group? Here's Hans von Spakovsky writing on the Heritage website in 2008:
Thousands of non-citizens are registered to vote in some states, and tens if not hundreds of thousands in total may be present on the voter rolls nationwide. These numbers are significant: Local elections are often decided by only a handful of votes, and even national elections have likely been within the margin of the number of non-citizens illegally registered to vote.

... Unless and until immigrants become citizens, they must respect the laws that bar non-citizen voting. To keep non-citizens from diluting citizens' votes, Immigration and election officials must cooperate far more effectively than they have to date, and state and federal officials must increase their efforts to enforce the laws against non-citizen voting that are already on the books.
Are Republican state attorney generals "fringe"? From an Arizona newspaper in 2011:
Attorney General Tom Horne accused the Obama administration Tuesday of trying to thwart Arizona’s voter-ID laws in a bid to get more illegal immigrants to the polls — presumably to cast ballots for the president and Democrats.

Horne acknowledged that a brief filed by the Department of Justice in a case to be heard next month by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals centers around the agency’s argument that Arizona’s law requiring proof of citizenship to register is pre-empted by federal law. But Horne, a Republican, told Capitol Media Services he sees something more sinister.

“I think the motive is that the more illegals that vote, the better the Obama administration thinks it will do," he said.
Is Rush Limbaugh -- honorary member of the Republican House freshman class after the 1994 election, close friend of Dick Cheney, 2020 Presidential Medal of Freedom winner -- "fringe"? Here he is in 2013 discussing a proposal to issue federal ID cards to all Americans:
What's that going to do to vote fraud? Well, we can't have photo ID at the polls. So does this mean Democrats will be exempted from the federal ID card? Probably so, I mean, if these people hold true to form. Only Republicans and legal immigrants will get the federal ID card. Democrats and illegals will be exempted.
Is Ann Coulter -- bestselling author and frequent Bill Maher guest -- "fringe"? Title of a 2012 Coulter column: "Democrats’ Ideal Voter: Illegal Alien, Single Mother, Convicted Felon."

Maybe you think Louie Go hmert is "fringe," though he's been in Congress since 2005. Here he is in 2014:
Speaking with Newsmax host Steve Malzberg yesterday about the influx of Central American children and families at the Southern border, Rep. Louie Gohmert implied that President Obama was orchestrating the crisis in order to recruit millions of people to cast fraudulent ballots for Democrats and seize Texas from Republican control.

“In the end, they have said that they want to turn Texas blue, they want to turn America blue,” he said. “And if you bring in hundreds of thousands or millions of people and give them the ability to vote and tell them — as [former Republican congressman] Quico Canseco said, he had illegals in his district that were told, ‘If you want to keep getting the benefits, you have to vote, and President Obama’s lawyers are not going to allow them to ask for an ID, so go vote or you’re going to lose the benefits you’re getting now.’ That drives people to vote and it will ensure that Republicans don’t ever get elected again.”
This idea has been widespread in the GOP for many years. It may be more central to Republican rhetoric than it was in the past, but it's not new. Why doesn't a New York Times political reporter know that? Is it because the mainstream press has ignored the channels where Republicans talk to one another for many years, on the assumption that the "presentable" Republicans on Sundaty talk shows are the real party?


UPDATE: The Times has removed the word "New" from the headline, though not from the subhead. I also don't see any changes to the story.

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