No, Bernie, Voting Is Not an Inalienable Right
Earlier this week, at a CNN Town Hall event, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders opined that criminals serving prison sentences should have the right to vote from prison. Chris Cuomo who moderated the discussion, pointed out to Sanders that he was stepping on a political land-mine. But Sanders was undeterred. He responded by re-asserting his complete commitment to the idea that every American citizen’s right to vote should never be taken away for any reason—including, presumably, terrorism and sexual assault, which were included in the original question.
Bernie is merely being a good progressive. Like his acolytes, many of whom banded together to “Occupy Wall Street” in 2011, Bernie Sanders consistently promotes the most direct form of democracy achievable. The Occupy movement became something of a parody of this progressive democratic tendency, priding itself in modeling odd forms of “consensus building” in the public spaces it turned into campgrounds.
For progressives, “consensus” is the only proper seat of sovereignty—much like how the “general will” was the seat of sovereignty for the French revolutionar