According to Axios, Jared Kushner told Republican donors that felons are coming out of jail and registering as Republicans. “I guess climate change is not their No. 1 issue,” Kushner joked at a donor retreat in Wyoming.
Right, avoiding punishment for criminal conduct is the No. 1 issue for many felons, which is one reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
Kushner cited recent statistics he said he’d seen that show felons registering as Republicans in Florida. As a political matter, though, the question isn’t whether some felons are registering as Republicans. The question is whether more are registering as Republicans or as Democrats. The Axios report doesn’t indicate whether Kushner cited statistics that answer this question.
A more important question is the impact on public safety of releasing felons from prison. We know the answer to that one. Statistics demonstrate that a large percentage of criminals will be arrested within three years of their release, and that more than half will be arrested within one year. We also know that most of the crimes they commit won’t result in an arrest.
A final question is what the GOP will have to do going forward if it wants to capture and retain the felon vote. There are many more favors politicians can do for felons — e.g., even shorter sentences and large-scale decriminalization — and Democrats are eager to do them. Republicans will have to match them accommodation for accommodation to have any chance of holding their own with this group.
Jared Kushner seems fine with that, but anyone with a decent regard for public safety shouldn’t share his enthusiasm.