Her plan will only further dumb down our democracy
By Jeffrey T. Kuhner
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley wants to lower the federal voting age from 18 to 16. If the Massachusetts Democrat has her way, then 16 and 17-year-old citizens will be allowed to vote in elections for the White House and Congress.
Her rationale is liberal activist teenagers are engaged in burning issues, such as climate change and gun control. Hence, they deserve to have a voice in our constitutional democracy.
“Our young people are at the forefront of some of the most existential crises facing our communities and our society at large,” she said in a statement. “I believe that those who will inherit the nation we design here in Congress by virtue of our policies and authority should have a say in who represents them.”
Pressley also argues that, since many 16-year-olds work and pay taxes (about 2 million of them), they have earned the right to vote. As she put it, if they are old enough to work and drive a car, then they are responsible enough to vote.
She is wrong. Reducing the voting age is a horrible idea. The fact that many teenagers are politically active is irrelevant. Civic engagement does not—and should not—entitle someone to the most sacred right in a democratic republic: voting at the ballot box. There are 10 and 11-year-olds who have opinions and attend rallies. By Pressley’s flawed logic, they should be allowed to vote as well.
Moreover, the fact that some teenagers mow the lawn or have a paper route or flip hamburgers at McDonald’s, and thereby pay taxes, is also irrelevant. Paying taxes has nothing to do with voting rights. There are tens of millions of able-bodied American adults who are on welfare. They pay zero taxes; many of these deadbeats live in Pressley’s district. Yet, they are still able to vote. According to her new standard, however, millions of welfare recipients should lose their voting rights.
Which begs the question: Why stop at 16? There are many 14 and 15-year-olds who also work and pay taxes. What’s to stop radical leftists, such as Pressley, from demanding voting rights for them in the future? The answer is obvious: nothing. The age of 16 is simply an arbitrary number for the left to alter at its convenience.
The reason Pressley is pushing this is simple: It is a power grab. Polls consistently show millennials, including those that are younger, Gen Z, prefer socialism over capitalism. Every major progressive issue—global warming, Medicare-for-all, gun control, reparations for slavery, the Green New Deal, racial quotas, class warfare, transgenderism, open borders, amnesty for illegal immigrants—is overwhelmingly supported by the youth. As the famous saying has it, if you’re not a socialist under 20 you have no heart and if you’re not a conservative over 30 you have no head.
It’s not only that young people are inclined by temperament toward the radical left. Our public schools have become indoctrination camps, where students in k-12 education are relentlessly brainwashed in political correctness and left-wing ideology—especially, multiculturalism, “diversity,” climate change and the LGBTQ agenda. It’s no wonder that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has an army of young followers. She embodies their generational upbringing.
Pressley is part of the progressive freshman class taking over the Democratic Party. She’s a leader of the wild and rising socialist movement. The Massachusetts firebrand, along with AOC, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, are driving the Democrats to the hard left. Pressley understands that, if economic collectivism has a future in America, it is through the young. Her goal is to expand the Democrats’ electoral base. This is why she wants to lower the voting age; it has nothing to do with paying taxes or representative democracy.
The reason 16 and 17-year-olds should not be allowed to vote is because they are too immature, inexperienced and irresponsible. They are not adults. Rather, they are teenagers—racked by raging hormones and adolescent rebellion against authority. They lack the emotional, psychological and mental development necessary to make fully informed and responsible decisions. In short, they’re still kids. This is why they have to be 18 to be able to join the military or 21 to drink alcohol and in Massachusetts, to buy legal marijuana. If they are too young to fight and die for their country or guzzle a Sam Adams or light a joint, then they have no business voting on matters of war and peace, life and death, and taxes and spending. Pressley’s plan would only further dumb down our democracy.
Instead of lowering the voting age we should be discussing the very opposite: raising it. America already has too many ignorant social justice warrior snowflakes—overgrown spoiled children masquerading as adults. We have prolonged adolescence in this country well beyond 18. That’s why the minimum voting age should be increased to at least 21. People should know a little bit about life—and have a scintilla of maturity—before making decisions that potentially impact all of us.
It’s called growing up.
-Jeffrey T. Kuhner is host of “The Kuhner Report” on WRKO AM-680 in Boston. His daily show airs 6:00-10:00 am EST. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org