NY state ballot proposals demonstrate how badly Dems have misjudged public sentiments

AP Photo/Ben Gray

It’s safe to say that Democrats are learning a lot of hard lessons from their disastrous showing in yesterday’s voting, though whether or not they will make any adjustments remains to be seen. But there were more failures lurking for liberals and progressives than simply losing some closely watched races for various offices. One of the bigger talking points among Democrats this year on the national level has been the “urgent need” to pass voting reform legislation, or at least what they’re choosing to call “reform” in this matter. They are seeking to overhaul the way America votes, including doing away with voter ID laws everywhere, normalizing mass mail-in voting, and removing almost all limits on the voter registration process. We’ve heard these proposals being described by mainstream media talking heads as “very popular” but “opposed by Republicans.”

But are they really all that popular or have the Democrats once again misread the mood of the nation? I would suggest that we can find a fairly solid answer to that question in the results of several ballot proposals that New Yorkers found on the reverse side of their ballots yesterday. Five proposals were up for consideration, though they weren’t attracting much national attention. Two of them, proposals 2 and 5, weren’t all that controversial. Proposal 2 would establish a constitutional right “to Clean Air, Clean Water, and a Healthful Environment.” (All that’s really going to do is open up a lot of lawsuits, but it polled well.) Proposal 5 simply expanded the jurisdiction of the New York City Civil Court to handle larger-value lawsuits.

The other three proposals, however, targeted some of the Democratic priorities I mentioned above. (You can read the full details of all the proposals here.)

Proposal 1 would change the way that the redistricting process is handled, effectively shutting out the minority (the Republicans) from the process and allowing the majority Democrats to gerrymander the maps to their heart’s content in perpetuity. Proposal 3 would eliminate the current requirement for all voters to register at least ten days prior to an election and institute same-day registration, adding to the already chaotic nature of New York’s elections. Finally, Proposal 4 would permit unlimited, “no-excuse” absentee voting. This would make permanent the chaos we experienced in the 2020 elections with mountains of write-in ballots clogging the system and leading to massive delays in determining some election outcomes.

As I said, these are all Democratic priorities that are being pushed by liberals across the nation. They insist that these policies are “very popular” and opponents of such plans are trying to “make it harder for people to vote.” Well, the Dems had an eye-opener in store for them in the very blue state of New York. All three of those proposals went down in flames.

Proposal 1 – the gerrymandering scheme – was defeated by an incredible 80-19 margin. You can’t blame that one on the Republicans showing up in droves. (Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York with more than 60% of the generic registration count anyway.) That is simply a tidal wave of rejection.

Proposal 3, attempting to remove the ten-day registration window, did slightly better. But it was still defeated by a 57-42 margin. The Democrats clearly couldn’t even get all of their own voters behind it. And the final measure, proposal 4, instituting permanent mass mail-in voting, went down by a similar measure, 56-43.

None of those votes were even close. And as I already pointed out, Democrats comprise more than 60% of the registered voters in New York who indicate registered party affiliation. If even half of the unaffiliated, independent voters sided with them, they should be able to pass anything they want without a single ounce of GOP support. And yet these priority measures being pushed by the Democrats nationally all sank like stones.

These are not popular policies with the American people. And they do not “reform” the election process. They warp it. People aren’t stupid enough to fall for this, even in the bluest of states. And if the Democrats keep beating this drum all the way through the midterms, there may be some even harsher lessons to be learned in their future. Let’s see if they take anything away from yesterday and tone back on the crazy.