It Took Kamala Harris Less Than 24 Hours To Sell Out Long-Time Supporters on Contentious Prisoner Voting Initiative


It has been surmised by some, based solely on the commentary of prominent Democrats, that the only real principles and values held dear on the left are obtaining and holding political power, and using that power to advance their ideological agenda. Everything else is secondary to those priorities.

This was revealed once again by Democratic 2020 presidential contender and California Sen. Kamala Harris, who proclaimed herself to have been a longtime advocate of extending the right to vote to convicted felons, only to reverse herself and say the opposite less than 24 hours later.

The Daily Wire reported that the latest controversy began at a CNN town hall-style special event on Monday that featured several top Democratic presidential candidates, including Harris and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Sanders was asked if he supported allowing convicted prisoners to vote — even including rapists, murders and terrorists, such as the Boston Marathon bomber — and he replied that even “terrible people” who were currently incarcerated deserved the right to vote.

Not to be outdone in the incessant race to the left by all of the candidates, Harris seemed to sign on to that ludicrous policy later in the evening when asked about Sanders’ response.

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Host Don Lemon asked Harris, “(Sanders) was asked specifically about people like the Boston Marathon bomber, also people who are convicted of sexual assault. And he said, this is a quote, ‘The right to vote is inherent to our democracy, yes, even for terrible people.’ Do you agree with that, Senator?”

Harris replied, “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 formerly 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.”

Lemon pressed, however, and clarified that he was talking about currently incarcerated prisoners, not those formerly incarcerated, and asked, “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?”

Harris replied, “I think we should have that conversation.”

Are leftist 'principles' based solely on political expediency?

Except, there wasn’t really a “conversation” about that particular idea. It was widely criticized by both the right and even by many on the left, because, well, it is a patently absurd and insanely stupid idea to let convicted murders, rapists and terrorists — who are still in prison for their heinous crimes, mind you — be extended the privilege of having a say in our nation’s political processes and leadership decisions.

The swift backlash — a changing of the political winds, if you will — was all that was necessary for Harris to do a complete about-face on her stated position by Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after she had first staked that position out.

Asked to clarify her remarks from the night before, Harris told reporters, “Do I think that people who commit murder, people who are terrorists should be deprived of their rights? Yeah, I do.”

You can see Harris’ clarifying remark here, followed immediately by her prior remarks from the night before that at the very least implied an openness to allowing convicted criminals still serving time in prison to be allowed to vote in elections.

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It is entirely possible that Harris gave the topic more thought and adjusted her stance to a more acceptable position, but odds are, she simply gauged which way the wind was blowing and realized her initial statement was not in alignment with a majority of the people.

There is certainly a “conversation” that should be had about restoring the right to vote for former non-violent convicts who have served their time, paid their debt to society and refrained from re-offending for a period of time — along with all other rights, including gun rights.

But the idea that violent rapists, murderers and terrorists still serving time behind bars should be allowed to vote is simply a non-starter, and Harris, as a former prosecutor, should have been smart enough to realize that immediately.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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