‘Once you start chipping away … you’re running down a slippery slope…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Prominent Democratic presidential candidates have endorsed granting voting rights to criminals in prison—even violent, convicted felons like the Boston Marathon bomber.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was the first to openly support allowing criminals to vote, claiming that the Constitution says “everybody can vote.”
When asked at a CNN town hall on Monday whether he would support “enfranchising people” like Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is a “convicted terrorist and murderer,” Sanders said yes.
Critics maintain that the Constitution makes no such provision to guarantee voting rights—and even the Fourteenth Amendment, granting citizenship rights and equal protections to freed slaves, makes an exception for giving representation to those guilty of some unspecified crimes.
But Sanders contended that a “vibrant democracy” depends on the universal right to vote.
“If somebody commits a serious crime—sexual assault, murder—they’re gonna be punished. They may be in jail for 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, their whole lives. That’s what happens when you commit a serious crime,” Sanders said. “But, I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy.”
Democrats have pushed for broader voting rights on a number of fronts as their leftist fringe becomes more radicalized.
While the socialist ideas they have endorsed might be soundly rejected by mainstream American voters, leftists also have pressed for open-border policies that would ultimately provide them with a new voter base of lower-socioeconomic immigrants, who would grant them more political influence for enacting progressive wealth-redistribution policies.
President Donald Trump has long criticized the Left’s weak immigration policies, which he says are allowing dangerous criminals—including gang members and drug cartels—through the floodgates already.
But taking the debate to its logical conclusion, Sanders said that he would enfranchise even the most “terrible people” in society.
“Once you start chipping away and you say, ‘That guy committed a terrible crime, not gonna let him vote. Well, that person did that. Not gonna let that person vote,’ you’re running down a slippery slope,” Sanders said.
Already, several Democrat-led battleground states like Virginia and Florida have been aggressively moving on executive and legislative efforts to restore felon voting rights and provide themselves with a permanent majority.
But Sanders said he would take it a step farther by giving criminals voting rights even while in prison.
“I believe that people who commit crimes, they pay the price,” Sanders continued. “When they get out of jail, I believe they certainly should have the right the vote, but I do believe that even if they are in jail, they’re paying their price to society—but that should not take away their inherent American right to participate in our democracy.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., similarly said she’d welcome a dialogue about giving those currently incarcerated the right to vote.
“I agree that the right to vote is one of the very important components of citizenship and it is something that people should not be stripped of needlessly, which is why I have been long an advocate of making sure that the formally incarcerated are not denied a right to vote, which is the case in so many states in our country, in some states permanently deprived of the right to vote,” Harris said during her CNN town hall on Monday.
CNN anchor Don Lemon, who hosted the event, pressed her: “But people who are in—convicted, in prison, like the Boston Marathon bomber, on death row, people who are convicted of sexual assault, they should be able to vote?”
“I think we should have that conversation,” Harris replied.