RNC Ad Rips 2020 Dems for Supporting the Boston Bomber's Right to Vote

April 25, 2019

The Republican National Committee released an ad Thursday hammering 2020 Democratic hopefuls who called for convicted felons like the Boston Marathon bomber being allowed to vote from behind bars.

The ad features news footage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured hundreds and was carried out by the Tsarnaev brothers.

"Democrats believe this terrorist should be allowed to vote," the ad's text read, following a clip of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev defiantly flipping off a security camera while incarcerated.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), as he had stated before, expressed supported letting Tsarnaev during a CNN town hall Monday after being asked whether felons should be allowed to vote, even while in prison.

"If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they're going to be punished," Sanders said. "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."

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) at another CNN town hall that evening didn't oppose the notion when asked about it, saying, "I think we should have that conversation." She walked back her response the next day.

The GOP ad included Sanders saying "this is what I believe. Do you believe in democracy?"

"Letting terrorists vote from prison isn't democracy. It's just wrong," the ad's text reads.

Tsarnaev is awaiting execution for his role in the bombing. He and his older brother Tamerlan carried out the terrorist attack before the latter was killed during a firefight. They also killed a police officer the week of the citywide manhunt to find them.

Another Democratic presidential candidate, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, opposed the idea of convicted felons voting behind bars when asked about it at his town hall. Liberal CNN host Don Lemon said he was "stunned" by Sanders's stance.