There are justifiable fears that the enthusiasm Democrats have to allow felons to vote is less than altruistic. They’re counting on the conventional wisdom most felons will vote Democrat. Well, even if felons were inclined to vote Democrat, are they inclined to vote at all, especially the majority who statistics show remain unreformed. There’s some emerging signs and anecdotal evidence the Dems may want to hold off on any celebrations.
Recently, Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham interviewed a convicted felon and former MS-13 gang member, Casey Diaz. The author of “The Shot Caller,” a biography of Diaz’s days in the gang and during his incarceration as one of the most violent criminals in California, has a message for Democrats: Don’t count on felons voting Democrat.
During the interview, Diaz touted his support for President Trump. He told Ingraham he agreed 100 percent with the president on locking down the U.S.-Mexican border. When Ingraham brought up felons voting, Diaz declared he and every ex-con he knew would be voting Republican. He said all of his ex-gang and prison friends who’d reformed —gotten jobs, and started paying taxes— “are all conservatives now.”
Ingraham concurred. “I think they’re [Democrats] going to get a surprise when all these former felons end up voting for Trump.” Also speaking with Ingraham about the Florida government having restored ex-felons voting rights, Trump advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said, “We have more ex-felons registered as Republicans than Democrats.”
Kushner did not elaborate on his source, but something tells me ex-cons voting Republican may be true, and I’ll tell you why.
First, with a recidivism rate of from 70 to 80 percent, according to the National Institute of Justice, how many ex-cons will vote even if their rights are restored? And, second, many of the 20 to 30 percent of felons who have reformed often attribute their transformation to a Christian religious conversion. This form of redemption occurs through a profound commitment to Christianity, often by being born again or recommitting to their Catholic faith—not normally a leftist voting bloc.
These redeemed ex-cons—felons—tend to associate with other religious Catholics and the proverbial “Christian or evangelical conservatives.” A Pew study as well as a New York Times article shows 81 percent of evangelicals voted for President Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Pew also showed Trump received 52 percent of the overall Catholic vote.
This faith redemption infuses ex-cons with the impetus to be responsible for their behavior. They now understand their Christian conduct must manifest socially in accepting both the rights and responsibilities that come with American freedom and individual liberty. If they are to enjoy the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (which includes owning property), they have the responsibility to reciprocate by not denying these rights to others.
Now, of course, most studies (despite felons voting being a relatively new and little-studied issue) inform us that felons are more likely to register Democrat. (Why else would the Dems push so hard to re-enfranchise felons’ voting rights?) But, if most of the felons released do not reform and do re-offend, how many will be responsible enough to vote? And, we have to consider the current implosion of the Democrats because socialists have hijacked the party and made a mad dash to the leftist fringe.
Combine that with billionaire Trump’s inimitable gift for appealing to the middle-class “everyman,” including reformed felons, and Dems would be wise not to start counting those voting chickens before they’ve pulled the lever for D. They just may pull it for R.