Sullivan Calls Out Schumer & Biden’s Outrageous “Jim Crow 2.0” Smear

Senator notes Schumer & Biden’s own states don’t measure up to Republican-led Alaska on voting

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) spoke on the Senate floor last night, calling out President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for falsely accusing Republican-led states of instituting “Jim Crow 2.0” voting laws at the same time their own Democrat-led states lag behind in several key areas. Sullivan drew the comparison between voting laws in states represented by Democratic senators and his own state of Alaska, including on automatic voter registration, no-excuse absentee voting, and early in-person voting.

Sullivan also noted the hypocrisy of Democratic senators calling for eliminating the legislative filibuster just a few years after adamantly calling for the preservation of the filibusterwhen Republicans held a majority in the Senate.

Below are excerpts from Sen. Sullivan’s speech.

On Leader Schumer and President Biden’s charge of “Jim Crow 2.0”:

“The Jim Crow era, we know, was a horrible blight and stain on our country. Some of the most heinous laws were passed to prevent African Americans from voting. It was a horrible era. But it is remarkable how casually the President of the United States and the majority leader now throw out their ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ insult at Republicans, at Republican states. The President and the majority leader do this when their states don't even closely measure up to mine on critical voting rights issues and laws. It is pretty remarkable, pretty hypocritical.” 

On Senate Republicans resisting pressure to scrap the legislative filibuster when they held the majority during the Trump administration: 

“In 2017, 61 U.S. Senators, in this letter, wrote the majority leader, then Senator McConnell, and the minority leader, Senator Schumer—33 Republicans and 30 Democrats—saying, in essence, don't get rid of the filibuster. These were 30 Democrats, four years ago, who wrote this letter, saying don't get rid of the filibuster. Now, that is when the Republicans were in the majority, and there was a Republican in the White House. There was pressure, I will tell you, on Republicans like there is now on Democrats, from certain elements in the White House and other places, to get rid of the filibuster, and we didn't do it. We did not do it for all of the reasons that we have been discussing.”

On Republican-led Alaska’s voting rights laws relative to prominent Democratic-led states:

“My Republican state, the great State of Alaska, has voting laws that are significantly more expansive than the laws of New York, than the laws of Delaware, than the laws of Connecticut, than the laws of Massachusetts and the laws of New Hampshire, just to name a few. That is a fact.”

On voter registration:

“My state, in essence, has automatic voter registration—probably one of the most forward-leaning of any state in the country. As I speak right here on the Senate floor, there is no automatic voter registration in Pennsylvania, in Minnesota, in Arizona, in New Hampshire, in Delaware—President Biden's state—or in Wisconsin. None. None. None of these States have automatic voter registration. Are these states ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ relative to Alaska, my Republican state? I wouldn't say that, but, again, by President Biden's logic, they are.”

On no-excuse absentee voting:

“…in my State, there is no excuse [absentee voting]. If you want to vote absentee, you can. In these [Democratic] states, you have to have an excuse. But here is the deal. In New York or Connecticut or Massachusetts, age is not an excuse. It is not an excuse. You can be 90 to 95 years old; fought in World War II; maybe it is hard for you to get to the polling place—nope, not in New York, not in Connecticut, not in Massachusetts. That is no excuse. Sorry, World War II veteran who can barely walk.”

On New Yorkers having the opportunity to update their own state’s voting laws:

“New York actually doesn't want to change their own voting laws to be more expansive of voting rights like we are in Alaska. How do I know this? New York just had a statewide referendum to have same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting like my state. Guess what. The people of New York voted against that. The people of New York had an opportunity to meet the level where we are in Alaska, a Republican state, and the people of New York rejected it. I don't know what is going on in New York, why the good people there rejected these provisions, but it is going to be interesting. We will see if Leader Schumer is consistent and accuses his own constituents of supporting ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ as he has millions of his fellow Americans. Is he going to do that?”

On federalizing all state elections: 

“I am not trying to say that every other state should be like Alaska…I am proud of where my state is, and I am certainly not going to let any smug argument on the other side somehow accuse my Republican state of [having] ‘Jim Crow 2.0.’ Meet the standards in my state before you make those arguments...The point is, we are not all going to be the same. I have a state that is one-fifth the size of the Lower 48. We have very unique voting issues. And the Founding Fathers strongly believed that election laws, for that reason, should be crafted state by state.”

On President Biden’s “invitation” to Republicans:

“My invitation to the President and other members who are demanding that we fundamentally alter this body by getting rid of the filibuster: Save your smug ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ insults. Go back to your own states. Undertake voter rights legislation as expansive as my state. Take care of your own states first before you come here and tell us that you need to fundamentally reorder this body and this country by getting rid of the filibuster—an issue that almost everybody agreed on just a few years ago was not a good idea for the Senate or for America.”

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