Political Update: Week of April 24th to May 8th
By Maya Gomes and Amelia Killackey
The past couple weeks have been lush with numerous political stories, ranging from Bernie Sander’s controversial support of prisoner voting rights to how Mayor Pete Buttigieg astonished us again with his language skills.
During a televised town hall on Fox News, Bernie Sanders made a provocative comment that has been carrying over for the last couple of weeks. He said that he believes that prisoners should have the right to vote, even the Boston Bombers because as citizens of the United States, it is their constitutional right. Currently, in only two states, Maine and Sander’s home state of Vermont, are prisoners legally allowed to vote; leaving the vast majority of the country against prisoners voting. Shortly after this, Donald Trump tweeted that Bernie Sanders wants the infamous Boston Bombers, who, back in 2013, claimed the lives of three people and injured hundreds of others during the Boston Marathon, to be able to vote. Fox News reported that Trump explicitly said that “giving imprisoned terrorists, sex offenders, and murderers the right to vote is an outrageous proposal.” However, the Boston Bombers do not represent the majority of our country’s incarcerated population, in fact, most of the people who have been convicted are serving time for minor drug offenses, not heinous violent acts. Trump is feeding his viewers incorrect information by saying that letting prisoners vote is equivalent to letting the 2.3 million Boston Bombers vote. In fact, of the 2.3 million people incarcerated in federal prisons, 45.4% of the people are serving time for non-violent drug offenses. Due to the disparity in the level of prisoner’s criminal offenses; the Boston Bombers are ultimately not representative of the majority of America’s incarcerated citizens.
Joe Biden, former Vice President under the Obama administration, announced his candidacy on April 25th. Although he has, by far, the highest poll ratings (of 40%!) in the Democratic primary field, there is still some concern about him. In 1991, when Biden was a senator from Delaware who served on the judiciary committee, there was a controversy surrounding Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court nominee, who allegedly sexually harassed Anita Hill, Thomas’ assistant. During the testimony of Anita Hill, Biden failed to bring in additional witnesses in and enabled fellow senators to verbally attack her. Although he has apologized for his actions, or rather, inactions, Vox reported that Anita Hill said that “he needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we now know how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw. And not just women. There are women and men now who have just really lost confidence in our government to respond to the problem of gender violence.” On a lighter note, South Bend, Indiana mayor, and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has added sign language to his impressive tally of languages. After being asked a question by Anderson Pleasants, a deaf man who signs ASL to communicate, Pete Buttigieg responded in kind. He is one of the first presidential candidates in American History to communicate with the deaf community in their own language. Video.