The Corner

Elections

Yet Another Overlooked Sanders Vulnerability

Jim listed four overlooked weaknesses of Senator Sanders as a general-election candidate for president. He has so many, it will be easy to overlook some of them. One that has gotten some attention but could get a lot more if he’s the nominee is his positions on criminal justice.

Barry Latzer wrote about some of them for NRO this week:

Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders propose to reduce by 50 percent the number of people incarcerated in the United States at both the federal and state level. This would be quite the lift. If by “incarcerated” they mean every prison (as opposed to jail) inmate, they would have to persuade the states (responsible for 88 percent of 1.5 million prisoners) to reduce the sentences for some very serious crimes, eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, and maybe even sharply curtail the use of recidivism as a sentencing criterion.

Since over half of all state prisoners are in for murder, rape, robbery or assault, and another 14 percent were sentenced for burglary, major theft or fraud, public enthusiasm for leniency would be limited. The public will be even less enthusiastic when they come to understand that three out of four prison inmates are repeat offenders.

And that’s not all. Sanders believes that felons should be allowed to vote — not just after they have served their time, but while they are in jail. Do you think the Trump campaign might be able to make something of these issues?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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