[OPINION]  A radical idea to transform politics: let 16-year-olds and all residents vote

San Francisco teens protest for the right to vote. /San Francisco Youth Commission


Republicans are aggressively rolling back the right to vote. Opposing voter ID laws isn’t enough – it’s time to think bigger

By Ian Samuel | The Guardian

(Editor’s note:Opinion pieces are published for discussions purposes only.)

“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people – they never have been, from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

That was Paul Weyrich, a founding father of the modern American right, in 1980. Weyrich (who co-founded the Heritage Foundation and many other rightwing groups) had a keen sense of political reality. He understood that politics was not an abstract game, not a live-fire instance of a Model UN competition. Politics, Weyrich understood, was about power. The question, therefore, of “who should vote” was in his mind commendably linked to “well, what are you trying to achieve?” Because he was on the right, he grasped intuitively that if the political power of the working class could be constrained, all the better for his policy program; and so, in those more innocent days, he was willing to say so out loud.




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September 2018