Bernie Sanders has campaigned long and hard for incarcerated criminals to have the right to vote. Sanders took a tongue-in-cheek shot at Trump in his latest op-ed, saying that even felons like Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen deserve the right to vote.
Sanders has come under fire recently for his comments advocating voting rights for the incarcerated. He believes that every American over the age of 18 deserves the right to help shape our democracy – and that includes incarcerated felons.
Many other Democrats support a much less controversial policy. Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro have both suggested that they would support voting rights for non-violent offenders, but that criminals like the Boston Marathon Bomber should not be eligible.
But Sanders believes that “[…] the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people.” Even if those terrible people include felons like Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, two of Trump’s cronies who have recently been convicted of crimes.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 27, 2019
In a USA Today op-ed, Sanders doubled-down on his proposed policy changes. “If we are serious about calling ourselves a democracy, we must firmly establish that the right to vote is an inalienable and universal principle that applies to all American citizens 18 years and older. Period.”
“Even if Trump’s former campaign manager and personal lawyer end up in jail,” Sanders added, in a jab at the current administration’s legal troubles, “they should still be able to vote — regardless of who they cast their vote for.”
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 30, 2019
I am so here for this headline https://t.co/6V9ct0ZiLJ
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) April 30, 2019
Many Twitter users did not agree with Sanders’ controversial views on inmate voting.
Sorry, Bernie. pic.twitter.com/NdIC0mIoPz
— Mike (@PITT1pap) April 30, 2019
If committing a serious crime shouldn’t, then what on earth should?
— RealFurgas (@RealFurgas) April 30, 2019
The murderers lost their rights to citizenry when they took away other people’s rights by killing them. Is @BernieSanders that hard up for votes ??
— Mary-Ann Hornbaker (@mahornbaker) April 30, 2019
“It goes without saying that someone who commits a serious crime must pay his or her debt to society,” Sanders said. “But punishment for a crime, or keeping dangerous people behind bars, does not cause people to lose their rights to citizenship. It should not cause them to lose their right to vote.”
Rules made to satisfy bigots & Hitlerian minds, there was a time when slavery was also a rule, and we changed it, so we will do so again. Just because something is a rule does not make it right. pic.twitter.com/6qhrZe7woX
— Jason Zane Smith (@omega_enigma) April 27, 2019
In other words someone who is black and got 5 years for smoking pot is not a human being, but scam artists, bankers, big Pharma CEOs, & white collar criminals are because the law didn’t convict or catch them? That exemplifies exactly why it’s wrong. pic.twitter.com/X1hEChwosJ
— Jason Zane Smith (@omega_enigma) April 27, 2019
“Our present-day crisis of mass incarceration,” Sanders said, “has become a tool of voter suppression.”
It’s sobering to look at the history of our country and realize how much oppression has occurred and still continues. It’s a stark contrast to the principles of democracy and the USA that I was taught in grade school. https://t.co/WKjYvqMnMR
— Chris Koivisto (@KoivistoChris) April 30, 2019
It's very American to let everyone vote
States only started disenfranchising felons once Black people could vote
— OC2PS (@theoc2ps) April 30, 2019
If we're concerned that inmates being able to voting from prison will somehow be able to outnumber the rest of society, maybe we should talk about why we have so many people in prison in the first place… — Phillip Graveshttps://t.co/8ivPfS03Y4
— John Paul Stroup, Jr (@jpsok) April 30, 2019
We imprison far too many people — especially people of color, and among those especially Black people — for far too little. That’s a huge problem that desperately needs to be fixed.
— Helen Noble (@BoobPunchTina) April 30, 2019
Sanders pointed out that states such as Vermont and Maine already allow inmates to vote. “This is not a radical idea,” he said. “Voting rights for all citizens is a basic principle of democracy.”
Bernie knows what he believes. He's thought it through carefully. Bernie has the courage of his convictions and it enables him to act on it. #TheRealDeal
— Joan Turri (@JoanTurri) April 28, 2019
Now that is an example of how to properly frame and win an argument with Republican'ts…
— Ken in MN (@TheRealKenInMN) April 30, 2019
“I have been attacked in recent days by President Trump and others for my conviction that people who are incarcerated should be given the right to vote,” said Sanders. “I make no apologies for that position.”
Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort should thank him.