Sometimes you’ve got to wonder about Bernie Sanders – wonder to the point of thinking long and hard about revising one’s opinion of Hillary’s DNC stealing the 2016 Democrat Nomination from him. This is one of those times since Bernie made it clear that he wants the Felon Vote.
The question was stark: Would you support enfranchising incarcerated people like the Boston Marathon bomber or convicted rapists?
The answer Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont gave was starker: Yes.
“I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy,” Mr. Sanders said during a town hall-style event on CNN this past week. “Yes, even for terrible people.”
It was a response that seemed designed to appeal to criminal justice advocates, to say nothing of people of color, who are disproportionately incarcerated.
It also immediately touched off the latest policy debate of the Democratic primary: Among the candidates asked about the issue recently were Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Kamala Harris of California and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., all of whom signaled, with varying levels of intensity, that they did not agree with Mr. Sanders.— Bernie Sanders
Yes, that is Bernie’s Folsom Pledge – to grant convicted murderers, rapists, pedophiles, terrorists, and any all other felons the “right” to vote while they’re imprisoned for their various and sundry heinous crimes.
Then, Bernie has always had a problem with the Black Vote and this is the sort of implicit pandering that might be needed to get him some of it.
What Could Go Wrong?
Let’s forget for the moment that allowing the worst and most vile individuals who have been rightfully cast out of our society to have a say in our society is deeply offensive to America’s normative majority. Let’s also forget for the moment anything and everything about federal elections. While important, the impact of the convict vote on these things is secondary to other, more critical concerns.
No. Focus instead more firmly upon where and when these convicts – overwhelmingly (73%) Democrat – could have a real impact and cause real harm. Focus on the State, County, and Local elections.
Imagine, if you will, the great harm that incarcerated felons could do in those elections, especially ones for: Police Chiefs, Sheriffs, District Attorneys, Prosecutors, and/or Judges. Remember, these are elections with a much smaller electorate and, hence, the population of a prison there could and likely would greatly impact the outcome(s).
Bernie Needs To Stay In His Lane
Voting, be it for offices within each state or for elected federal offices is a matter that is wholly within the purview of each state. The federal government can only step in to prevent certain broad abuses, e.g., denying the “right” to vote based on race (15th Amendment), sex (19th Amendment), or advanced age (26th Amendment). As such, it is grossly inappropriate for any Presidential candidate to weigh in on this matter and to use it as a plank in his campaign’s platform.