President Donald Trump has revealed part of his game plan for taking down Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders if he wins the Democrats’ nomination — and it’s a strategy that should have the left-wing presidential hopeful very worried indeed.
Should Trump and Sanders face off this November, Trump plans to remind voters of the fact that Sanders supports giving imprisoned violent felons — including Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — the right to vote, the Washington Examiner reports.
Trump hits Sanders at CPAC
The president made his comments in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland on Saturday.
“[Sanders] said prisoners, in prison, have the right to vote,” Trump said. “They said, ‘Does that include the Boston maniac that’s scheduled to die?’ He said, ‘Yes, he would get the right to vote.’ Do you believe that?”
Trump continued by joking that he may have revealed his campaign strategy for Sanders a little too early.
“That’s too bad. Too early. I’ve got to wait until two months before the vote, right?” the president said. “It’s true. It’s OK for him to vote. It’s fine. He killed many people. Badly maimed and wounded many people and he’s got the right to vote. Can you believe it? This is where we’ve come?”
Doubling down on extremism
Here, President Trump was not exaggerating when it comes to Sanders’ belief that convicted felons ought to be allowed to vote from prison.
“If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they’re going to be punished,” Sanders said at a CNN town hall last April, according to Fox News. “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. But I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people.”
Sanders faced tremendous pushback for the remark. But just a few weeks later, he reaffirmed his position at a rally in Fort Worth, Texas.
“If you commit a terrible crime, you’re going to pay the price,” Sanders said, according to the Examiner. “But that does not mean that your right to participate in our democracy is taken away from you. Once you begin taking away somebody’s right to vote, you’re moving down a slippery slope. ‘You committed a crime, you can’t vote. You’re poor, you can’t vote.'”
Matchup on the cards?
With multiple primaries and caucuses now in the books, Sanders is in the lead with 58 total delegates. Former Vice President Joe Biden, following a big win in South Carolina on Saturday, is right behind the Vermont senator at 50 delegates earned to date.
In other words, a Sanders–Trump matchup is still very much a possibility, and some of Sanders’ more extreme policy positions, such as the one advocating that convicted violent felons be permitted to vote from prison, could make the president’s job that much easier come November.