This is the story of how Bernie Sanders, the socialist-minded senator from Vermont, took his crazy-minded socialism a bit too far and dropped a bomb right in the midst of his presidential campaign — right in the middle of America’s jail populations.
It’s too soon to gauge the full political effects. It’ll take time for the smoke to clear.
But certainly, Sanders didn’t do himself any favors by announcing at a recent CNN town hall that inmates should get their voting rights restored, while behind bars.
Even Boston Marathon murderer Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Even sex offenders?
“Yes,” Sanders said. “Even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, ‘Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote —’ … you’re running down a slippery slope.”
Gulp. No doubt, that was the reaction of Sanders’ campaign team. Now, even those who would be his base are rebelling.
“Does Bernie Sanders Really Believe Ppl In Prison Who Are Murders!? Rapists!? Child Molesters!? BOSTON BOMBERS … STILL DESERVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE!?” Cher tweeted.
Yes — Cher.
The same Hollywood leftist who frequently calls for President Donald Trump’s figurative head on a platter. The same Hollywood leftist who — maybe literally — never met a Republican she didn’t want to choke.
But Cher’s hardly alone.
Piers Morgan, a Brit who once served as a CNN host with hatred toward all-things-Second-Amendment, and who now works as DailyMail.com editor-at-large, just went on Fox News to talk about Sanders’ “utter lunacy.” And that was the part where he was being kind.
“I couldn’t really believe what I was hearing,” Morgan said. “This is a guy, front-runner … to be the potential nominee for the Democratic Party to beat Donald Trump … and their main selling point right now on a CNN town hall is they want the Boston Marathon bomber to be able to vote while he is in prison? While he is on death row?”
And he added this very good point: The same Democrats who cry about Trump being a so-called criminal are nonetheless quite OK with real criminals, the ones behind bars, voting in elections.
“This is madness” — as Morgan said.
Sanders may just have become former Vice President Joe Biden’s biggest gift. And that’s saying a lot because Biden’s got his own piles of political baggage, including a previous presidential run sidelined by plagiarism and, more recently, that whole creepy touching of women and little girls thing. Captured on video. He’s the best the Democrats got? Perhaps.
“Minorities, older adults push Biden to top of 2020 poll,” The Hill reported, citing numbers out Wednesday from Reuters/Ipsos showing Biden with 24 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, and Sanders with 15 percent.
Of course, polls aren’t really to be trusted.
Another survey from Democracy for America released Tuesday and reported by Politico — a straw poll, in fact — showed Sanders with 30 percentage points, Sen. Elizabeth Warren as runner-up and Biden at 8 percent. In December, DFA put Sanders as the front-runner, too, with Biden coming in second with 15 percent.
Which to believe? It’s anybody’s guess.
Campaign season’s just kicking off and heck, with Biden, all the poll numbers thus far have been double conjecture because they only measured his potential, not yet announced, candidacy.
But with this prisoner voting rights’ push, Bernie may have bit the big one.
If politics are largely perception and image, what a matchup between Sanders and Biden offers voters now is this: Creepy versus murderous terrorist bombing supporter.
As even Cher might say — it’s no contest.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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