Schumer shuts down government for immigrants, but not for Rust Belt’s working class

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., listens Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to reporters during a news conference about a bill regarding military sexual assault cases on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

If political chatter is any indication, support for Senator Chuck Schumer is falling precipitously following a federal government shutdown that stems from Schumer’s ‘procedural objection,’ effectively filibustering a vote on the budget.  Schumer is demanding that immigration laws are liberalized before he allows a vote to be taken that would reopen the government.

Among Schumer’s working class constituencies in Rust Belt cities like Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, and Utica — hit hard by free trade and the collapse of American manufacturing — he is a very unpopular guy.  Rather than focusing on something that could revive the Rust Belt — like infrastructure might, if it sufficiently preferences industrial legacy cities in the Nation’s interior: Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Pittsburg, and Buffalo, primarily.

Elections have consequences, and these voters expect that something of substance be delivered to them.  After all, they delivered Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Now where are our economic consequences, they wonder?

That the undocumented community holds such a preferred perch in the Democratic Party’s pecking order is a slight that hardly goes unnoticed in this working class, underemployed, economically stagnant region.

While Schumer is not facing reelection this year, there could be electoral consequences for the State’s junior Senator, Kirstin Gillibrand, who is seen as Schumer’s closest lieutenant. She, too, is seen as often pandering to New York City’s immigrant communities — while ignoring the plight and economic interests of Upstate New York.

To many Buffalonians, Schumer’s shut down is a slap in the face; and the city remains on edge, waiting to hear what the purportedly ‘Upstate Senator’ Gillibrand has to say about it.

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