During the Democratic debates this week there was a lot of tough talk.
On Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), defended his plan to eliminate gas-powered car sales in the next two decades.
We’ve got to ask ourselves a simple question, “What do you do with an industry that knowingly, for billions of dollars in short-term profits, is destroying this planet?” I say that is criminal activity that cannot be allowed to continue.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.), who is running on her record as a prosecutor, answered a question about the Mueller report and possible impeachment or prosecution of the sitting president this way:
There are 10 clear incidents of obstruction of justice by this president, and he needs to be held accountable. I have seen people go to prison for far less.
She might well have said, “I’ve put people in prison for far less.”
Still, if you were feeling generous you could chalk this up to little rhetorical flourish, I suppose.
But leave it to former vice president and America’s wacky Uncle Joe Biden to say the loud part quiet and the quiet part loud.
We should put some of these insurance executives who totally oppose my plan in jail for the 9 billion opioids they sell out there.
Important note: Democrats certainly do not have a monopoly on threating those who oppose them with severe legal sanctions.
In all these cases, the politicians are accusing their targets of having committed crimes. But threatening to prosecute your political opponents as an applause line at a campaign event isn’t good practice in a liberal democracy, and both parties would do well to tone it down.