Sen. Bernard Sanders‘ comments about wanting currently incarcerated felons to be able to vote from prison are receiving an appropriate amount of backlash.
His insistence that even terrorists and rapists should have a say in who governs us is an affront to the values that hold this nation together.
Voting is an important right of American citizens, but it’s predicated on the commitment we all make to the social compact. Just like freedom is only guaranteed when you don’t break the agreement, as defined by our laws. The moment you decide our laws, and the compact, do not apply to you, neither do certain rights accorded to law-abiding citizens, like personal freedom and the right to vote.
Mr. Sanders, a presidential candidate from Vermont, thinks differently, as do a number of other Democrats, highlighting how even they understand that people who respect this country and their neighbors have begun to reject the leftist narrative. What else can they do other than help to convince Americans that those who act against this country criminally should have a say in who leads us?
Make no mistake: This has nothing to do with democracy and principles and everything to do with expanding the Democratic voting base. And like most Democratic Party positions, the result will be a disaster for the country and our political process.
The question to Mr. Sanders at the CNN Townhall in New Hampshire came from a Harvard student.
Boston.com reported, “Sanders was asked about his stance on enfranchising people with felony records at a CNN town hall hosted by Saint Anselm College. ‘Does this mean that you would support enfranchising people like the Boston Marathon bomber, a convicted terrorist and murderer?’ Anne Carlstein, a Harvard student, asked the senator. ‘Do you think that those convicted of sexual assault should have the opportunity to vote for politicians who could have a direct impact on women’s rights?’ “
Mr. Sanders, after first commenting on the issue of voter suppression, then went on to say, “… But I do believe that even if they’re in jail, they’re paying their price to society, but that should not take away their inherent American right to participate in our democracy.”
He then went on to speciously argue that stopping maniacs in prison from voting was a “slippery slope” because “Republican governors all across the country” are trying to find ways, to “come up with all kinds of excuses why people of color, young people, poor people can’t vote.” In other words, you have to let terrorists vote because otherwise evil conservatives will stop young people from voting. Or something.
Moreover, one of the main concerns for all of us involves the behavior of politicians. During elections, politicians appeal to voting blocs of constituencies. Imagine a voting bloc of criminals in prison so large that politicians will necessarily try to appeal to them as they do other constituencies who have particular interests.
All of us should be concerned about what politicians, on both sides of the aisle, would feel compelled to promise and offer to those who have not had our best interests in mind and who have taken action to harm the people of this nation. What could go wrong when politicians try to win the support of terrorists, murderers, rapists and drug dealers?
The Department of Justice reported in January 2018 that of the 549 individuals who were convicted of international terrorism-related charges and are in U.S. custody, 295 of them are either U.S. citizens by birth or received U.S. citizenship. Mr. Sanders is fine with all of those people voting — including people like Tsarnaev, the Boston bombing terrorist who the senator was directly asked about and included in his support for voting.
Other people who Mr. Sanders and even fellow presidential candidate Sen. Kamala D. Harris think we should “have a conversation about” enjoying the rights you have to participate in our society’s decision-making would be: Dylann Roof, the white supremacist and Charleston church mass murderer; and serial killers such as Gary Ridgway, the Green River killer; Dennis Rader, the Bind-Torture-Kill maniac; and David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Sam.
Should Scott Peterson, the man who murdered his pregnant wife Laci and Connor their unborn son, have a say in who determines the future? Should Ted Kaczynski, the terrorist known as the Unabomber, enjoy one of the most important rights of law-abiding citizens?
Then there’s Eric Robert Rudolph, the Atlanta Olympic Park bomber. And James Alex Fields Jr., the Hitler acolyte found guilty just last year of murdering Heather Heyer when he plowed his car into protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. He, too, according to Mr. Sanders‘ position, deserves to enjoy participation in this society and is equal to you as a citizen.
Keep in mind, very often Democrats will propose a ridiculously extreme position, like allowing terrorists and serial killers to vote from prison, and then the “compromise” becomes the actual dynamic they were seeking. In this case, perhaps either allowing people in prison to vote who are not felons, or enfranchising felons who have been released from prison but are still on parole having not yet actually completed their sentence.
Democrats laugh when they suggest we take five steps toward the cliff and Republicans chime in, insist on “compromise,” arguing for taking just two steps toward the cliff. That’s a win, we’re told. Is it?