Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Is ranked-choice voting racist?
Depends on which of the black mayoral candidates running to run New York City you ask.
According to Eric Adams, it disenfranchises black people, while according to Maya Wiley, “women and minorities win with ranked-choice voting”. In a city where every debate is settled by shouting “racist” at your enemies as loudly as possible, the debate over the disastrous experiment that turned a simple election into an endless slog with 5 choices and results that wouldn’t be known for weeks is all about racism.
Adams, who won the majority of the black vote, and is the city’s likely next mayor, had thoroughly mastered the art of shouting “racism” loudly enough to deafen all of New York.
Adams compared a ranked-choice alliance between rival candidates Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia to Jim Crow and “America’s dark past.” “That last-minute attempt to derail me on June 19!” he ranted, invoking Juneteenth and slavery. “While we were celebrating liberation and freedom from enslavement, they sent a message, and I thought it was the wrong message.”
“They’re saying we can’t trust a person of color to be the mayor of the City of New York,” Adams complained. Yang, being Asian, was not considered a proper person of color.
Meanwhile, Wiley argued that, “London Breed became the first Black female mayor of San Francisco and Jean Quan became the first Asian female mayor of Oakland in an RCV system.”
What the debate is really about is bloc voting.
Exit polls show that 25% of black voters voted for just one candidate as opposed to 10% of white voters. Adams supporters, which included much of New York City’s black Democrat establishment, not to mention Ashley Sharpton, Al’s daughter, hate ranked choice voting because they believe it undermines bloc voting. And far more black voters than white voters stuck to bloc voting as their preferred strategy in the election.
Black voters tend to be relentlessly loyal to their candidates. Black voters dragged a senile Joe Biden through the Democrat primaries at a time when white and minority voters were leaning toward Bernie Sanders. Ranked-choice voting is built around playing the field. But black voters, a group consisting of mostly older black women, don’t fool around or play the field.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had pushed ranked-choice voting, now argues that it might or not be racist depending on whether black people used it or not. The election’s status as the new Jim Crow is also Schrodinger’s Cat and we’ll have to count all the votes to find out if it’s racist.
“I like it if there was relative equality in how people utilize their ballots. In other words: if in more privileged and less privileged communities you saw consistent voting one through five, or as close to that as possible, everyone maximizing the power of their ballot,” Bill de Blasio argued. “If it turns out, conversely, that we see a real skew, then I think it’s time to reassess, because what I don’t want to see a system that enfranchises some people and not others.”
There are more obvious reasons to reassess the massive disaster of ranked-choice voting, like the 135,000 test ballots that were wrongly added to the total or the endless wait for results.
But in 2021, a 135,000 ballot error or an election that takes weeks to wrap up are not legitimate reasons to throw out an insane election process. The only legitimate reason is racism.
Whether ranked-choice voting is racist or not depends on whether black people embraced it or stuck to bloc voting. The same system that Bill de Blasio and his leftist allies had advocated might turn out to have retroactively been racist because black people didn’t embrace it.
If black people choose to use ranked-choice voting, it’s on the right side of history. And if they stick to bloc voting in sufficient numbers to create racial disparities, then ranked-choice voting is retroactively racist even though there’s nothing inherently racist about the stupid leftist ploy.
This same absurd argument underlies most voting debates in which racial disparities, real or hypothetical, in turnout or in voting are treated as the new Jim Crow. Asking voters for their IDs, or even expecting them to ask a relative to hand in a ballot, rather than a community organizer harvesting ballots for leftist radicals, are all denounced as new forms of voter suppression.
New York City’s mayoral election, in which a black candidate denounced his Asian opponent as the new Jim Crow for using ranked-choice voting exactly the way that leftists intended it to be used, is the end result of declaring that any process that results in racial disparities is racist.
This is the iron logic of anti-racism in which all racial disparities are the fault of white people.
Or as Ibram X. Kendi put it, “when you truly believe that the racial groups are equal, then you also believe that racial disparities are the result of racial discrimination” and “racial discrimination is the sole cause of racial disparities in this country and in the world at large.”
A mayoral election whose likely outcome is New York City’s second black mayor must, by the definition of critical race theory, be racist because it led to racial disparities.
And the perpetrators of the racial disparities are Bill de Blasio and his leftist allies.
But Bill de Blasio and his leftist allies have more practical reasons for questioning ranked-choice voting because while a black candidate may have won, it was the wrong black candidate.
False accusations of racism are just a means to an end.
The mayoral election pitted the city’s black establishment, represented by Eric Adams, against its AOC leftist establishment, and while the latter scored lots of victories, it lost the big one.
Bill de Blasio’s talk of racial disparities in ranked-choice voting is every bit as cynical as Eric Adams accusing an Asian man of being the new Jim Crow and reviving segregation.
But you can’t blame Adams for adopting the insane racist rhetoric of a political party that spends all its time crying, “Jim Crow” when an election doesn’t swing its way. Democrats define any election they lose as racist voter suppression. Adams accusing a fellow Asian Democrat of being the new Jim Crow is no more insane than the attacks on Texas or Georgia voting laws.
And no more insane than Bill de Blasio suggesting that his own ranked-choice voting system might be racist because a black man who wasn’t backed by AOC and the DSA won.
Ranked-choice voting was officially billed as helping black voters. But most black voters didn’t take the bait and allow Maya Willey and AOC to steal the election from Eric Adams.
Now the same leftist machine that pushed ranked-choice voting has to reassess its tactics.
The Democrat backing for H.R.1 and assorted election schemes have the same cold calculations behind the frenzied accusations of racism which is whether a tactic, ballot harvesting or Voter ID, will benefit Democrats and, more specifically, the Left.
New York City’s mayoral election shows that it’s not about electing black candidates, but about electing the right black candidates, and it’s not about turning out black voters, but channeling their voters in the way that benefits the larger leftist coalition exploiting them for their own use.
The new Jim Crow is everywhere and nowhere. It’s in Texas, Georgia, and New York City. It may have helped elect a black mayor, but Jim Crow is sneaky that way. If Andrew Yang had won, the consensus would be that he was the new Jim Crow. If Eric Adams wins, then the new Jim Crow will be a black man. In a system that believes in systemic racism, racism always wins.