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The Dangerous Anti-Democratic Threat of Trump and Mike Johnson’s Focus on Non-Citizen Voting

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Vanessa Cárdenas: “Promoting the lie that elections are rigged and bolstering the false grievance that the votes of ‘real Americans’ are being discounted is fodder for challenging any election and stoking political violence.”

Washington, DC — Tomorrow, Donald Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) will hold a joint press conference at which they will “promote a bill … aimed at preventing non-citizens from voting,” per USA Today. As the article rightly notes, “Non-citizens are already not allowed to vote in federal elections in the United States, and it’s not a common occurrence.”

This is yet another dangerous reminder about the connections between Trump’s relentless anti-immigrant fusillade and his larger threats to democracy.  

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“Donald Trump and the GOP are trying to undermine trust in each other and our institutions, weaponize fear, and delegitimize our democratic process all in pursuit of political power. By citing a nonexistent problem of noncitizen voting, they aim to advance a pretext for efforts that restrict the legitimate votes of American citizens. Let’s be clear: we should be making it easier for citizens to vote, not harder.

Promoting the lie that elections are rigged and bolstering the false grievance that the votes of ‘real Americans’ are being discounted hearkens to the white nationalist replacement theory and is fodder for challenging elections and stoking political violence. The mainstreaming of this and similar lies endangers our democracy, and our political process.”

Also read the recent Univision op-ed from Vanessa Cardenas: “How Trump’s relentless anti-immigrant focus is tied to his threats to democracy,” (available in Spanish HERE), excerpted below:  

“Donald Trump’s relentless attacks on immigrants and related lies and conspiracies are best thought of as not really about immigration. Trump and his allies are weaponizing the issue to stoke divides and energize the MAGA base, but also to lay the groundwork to undermine trust in our democracy and our electoral process.

…While the myth of noncitizens voting has existed for decades, it has usually remained on the fringes, largely because there is no evidence that non-citizen voting is a problem. Further, the penalties of voting for non-citizens are particularly harsh—fines, prison, and revoking legal status and deportation

The intention – and danger – in promoting these ideas now when there is a high level of concern about immigration is twofold: First, using the excuse of this non-problem, GOP-aligned groups want to put into place voting restrictions that would have a disproportionate effect on young people, the elderly, African-Americans, naturalized citizens, and Latino voters. Second, should Trump lose, his followers will logically blame non-citizens. The ‘replacement’ theory and fake non-citizen voting concerns help lay the groundwork for delegitimizing the democratic process, promoting the lie that elections are rigged and bolstering the false grievance of MAGA supporters that the only way to address a supposedly corrupt democratic process is through political violence.”