Rep. Jason Smith (R-8) has decided to go all in on Donald Trump’s “signature issue” for the midterm and has sent out a press release decrying “the evils of immigration.” In the process he also copied Trump’s modus operandi by resorting to lies and conspiracy theories:
Cities in California, Illinois, and Maryland are taking the extreme step of disregarding their state constitutions and registering illegal immigrants to vote in elections.
This is the latest push by the radical left to give illegal immigrants the rights and privileges reserved for American citizens, without any respect to the rule of law and our immigration process.
What Smith’s on about is automatic motor-voter registration laws. Unfortunately for Smith, the conservative claim that these laws will permit non-citizens to vote has been thoroughly debunked. For instance, in reference to California – which has experienced difficulty in duplicating the seamless implementation that characterized the process in states like Oregon – non-citizens are neither automatically registered nor empowered to vote:
The false story, on dangerous.com and circulating on Facebook in recent days, is the latest in a series of such claims, which misrepresent a law designed to increase voter registration among U.S. citizens in California. Users of the social media site flagged the story as potentially false and rightfully so.
While it’s true that undocumented residents living in California can obtain driver’s licenses, the state has not passed any laws that also provide them the right to vote. The New Motor Voter Act was passed in an effort to improve voter turnout, and while this law does automatically register citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver’s licenses, that action only applies to citizens who have already attested and/or documented an eligibility to vote.
Smith’s diatribe is full of such dishonest assertions – he basically hits all the low points that Republicans are using to try and muddy the current sad state of our immigration policy in the U.S. – policy that the GOP, which controls the legislative and executive branch of the government, could have the changed to fit their preferences at any time in the past two years. Somehow, despite any evidence, Rep. Smith manages to conflate Democrats desire to enact a humane and functional border policy with advocacy for “open borders.”
But, of course, these specious claims have another truly evil purpose: to present Democrats as irrational radicals, Trump’s “angry leftwing mob,” perhaps even, as lyin’ Donnie would have it, evil. Democrats who are repelled by images of babies torn from their mothers’ arms are characterized as cynical and casual lawbreakers by a cadre of demonstrably cynical scofflaws with whom Rep. Smith has chosen to identify himself.
Will dishonest attacks on Democrats pay off? Will demeaning and lying about Democratic lawmakers and their efforts to solve the problems posed by desperate brown people trickling over the Southern border divert attention away from GOP failures over the past couple of years? Maybe – but there’s a good case to be made that the obvious racism that shores up the GOP immigration stance and the brutality that it attempts to justify might backfire come November. After all, most Americans are neither cruel nor stupid.