If you had to take an honest guess at what Hillary Clinton’s stance on the death penalty is, what would it be? The frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination surprised many Democrats (and disappointed many liberals) when she came out as against abolishing the death penalty.
That doesn’t mean she actively supports resorting to capital punishment, though.
“We have a lot of evidence now that the death penalty has been too frequently applied, and too often in a discriminatory way,” she said while speaking at Saint Anselm college in Manchester, New Hampshire on Wednesday. “So I think we have to take a hard look at it. I do not favor abolishing it, however, because I do think there are certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty, but I’d like to see those be very limited and rare, as opposed to what we’ve seen in most states.”
Her remarks are receiving backlash from liberals that feel that capital punishment must be abolished altogether, which is the stance taken by the other top candidates for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley.
“At a time of rampant violence and murder all over the world,” Sanders said in a speech on Thursday, the government should “say loud and clearly that we will not be part of that process.”
In the past, Clinton has called for an end to mass incarceration in the United States and for better relations between African Americans and the police, but this is the first time she has been outright in expressing her views on the death penalty. Public support for the death penalty has been falling gradually in recent years, with 60 percent of Americans believing in capital punishment in 2013, versus 80 percent in 1994. Do you agree with Clinton’s stance on the issue?