In a CNN town hall this week, the Democrat socialist Sanders argued for allowing all convicted U.S. citizens to vote from prison—regardless of their crimes.
Sanders statement was prompted by a question by a Harvard student whether he “would support enfranchising people like the Boston Marathon bomber, a convicted terrorist and murderer.”
The socialist senator confirmed that people convicted of any crimes—whether in jail or out—should be allowed “to participate in our democracy.”
Cher expressed outrage at Sanders’ statement.
“Does Bernie Sanders Really Believe [People] In Prison Who Are Murderers, Rapists, Child Molesters, BOSTON [Marathon] BOMBERS …STILL DESERVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE,” the 72-year-old singer and actress wrote on Twitter in a since-deleted post on April 23.
Donald Trump Jr. weighed in on Cher’s post.
“Crazie Bernie’s ideas are so bad he actually managed to #redpill Cher,” Trump Jr. wrote.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 24, 2019
America Talks Live host John Cardillo wrote in a tweet that after Cher posted her scathing criticism of Sanders, she “retracted and backpedaled after the leftist mob attacked her.”
Cher’s Tuesday tweet was the second of its kind this month. In an earlier message, she blasted the idea of sending illegal aliens to sanctuary cities, tweeting: “I Understand Helping struggling Immigrants, but MY CITY (Los Angeles) ISNT TAKING CARE OF ITS OWN,” Cher said in a tweet.“WHAT ABOUT THE 50,000+????????Citizens WHO LIVE ON THE STREETS. PPL WHO LIVE BELOW POVERTY LINE,& HUNGRY? If My State Can’t Take Care of Its Own(Many Are VETS) How Can it Take Care Of More?”
I Understand Helping struggling Immigrants,but MY CITY (Los Angeles) ISNT TAKING CARE OF ITS OWN.WHAT ABOUT THE 50,000+🇺🇸Citizens WHO LIVE ON THE STREETS.PPL WHO LIVE BELOW POVERTY LINE,& HUNGRY? If My State Can’t Take Care of Its Own(Many Are VETS)How Can it Take Care Of More
— Cher (@cher) April 14, 2019
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, there are more than 1.6 million convicted criminals in local, state, and federal prisons across the United States. This includes about 183,000 convicted murderers and 164,000 convicted rapists.
Federal data concludes that about 25 percent of the federal prison population consists of non-citizens who anyway would not have the right to vote.
If federal data on incarcerated non-citizens is similar to state and local level, this could mean that under Sanders’ plan, around 1.2 million potential convicted criminals (75 percent of the total population of convicted felons) would have the right to vote, which translates to around 137,000 convicted murderers and 123,000 convicted rapists.
‘Running Down a Slippery Slope’
Sanders defended extending the right to vote “even for terrible people,” in his town hall speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, on April 22.
He was asked by Harvard college student Anne Carlstein whether he “would support enfranchising people like the Boston Marathon bomber, a convicted terrorist and murderer. Do you think those convicted of sexual assault should have the opportunity to vote for politicians who have a direct impact on women’s rights?”
Sanders responded by saying: “I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people, because 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.”
— CNN (@CNN) April 23, 2019
The Vermont senator buttressed his position by saying the Constitution says “everybody can vote” and that “some people in jail can vote.”
Sanders said denial of the right to vote should not be part of the punishment for crime.
“If somebody commits a serious crime—sexual assault, murder, they’re gonna be punished,” Sanders said. “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.”
“I believe that people who commit crimes, they pay the price. 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,” the senator said.
He labeled efforts to deny those convicted of criminal offenses as attempts “to suppress the vote” by “cowardly Republican governors.”
Sanders topped the list of contenders for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2020 presidential election in a poll conducted by Emerson College between April 4 and 11.
The Emerson poll showed Biden performing best in a head-to-head contest with President Donald Trump, with 53 percent of the respondents picking Biden and 47 percent favoring the incumbent.
The Trump campaign is focused on exposing a dramatic shift toward socialism among the Democratic candidates while spotlighting the successes of the president’s administration.
“We thought that debate ended in the 1980s. We thought it ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but here we are today with Democrats wanting to take us the way of Venezuela,” Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary for the Trump 2020 campaign, told The Epoch Times earlier this month.
“So we’re all very keenly focused on socialism—every single one of us in the campaign.”
Epoch Times reporter Janita Kan contributed to this article.