Vivek Ramaswamy caused a stir recently when he reiterated his call to raise the voting age to 25. That comes after he first floated the idea back in May, though that instance didn’t receive much press.
Now that Ramaswamy has significantly raised his profile in the Republican primary, what he says is getting noticed more, and in turn, it’s triggered the people you’d expect to be triggered.
The survival of our republic requires a revival of civic purpose in the next generation. Reviving civic duty will cause more of our young people to be proud of our nation – and to be more proud to vote too. That’s why I’m for a constitutional amendment to raise the voting age… pic.twitter.com/s1Y7JNvrR9
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) August 15, 2023
Before we get to the responses, Ramaswamy is, wittingly or not, exposing a point of hypocrisy on the left. How many times have we been told by Democrats that people in their late teens and early 20s should not be treated as fully-vested adults? We’ve seen that with gun control proposals, such as the idea that you should have to be over 21 to buy a handgun, but we also see it with federal laws that allow people to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26.
In short, the left-wing viewpoint of young Americans constantly shifts depending on what is politically convenient at the time. When it comes to guns, we should not treat 18-year-olds like adults. But when it comes to voting, we should let 16-year-olds vote. It’s incoherent.
As to the merits of Ramaswamy’s proposal, his position isn’t unsupported. The brain is not fully developed at 18 years of age, and all of human history provides evidence that younger people that lack life experience tend to make rash, unsound judgments. The Constitution originally set an age limit of 21 to vote, and that was during a time when your average 21-year-old had far more understanding of the hardships of the world.
I’m not necessarily agreeing with Ramaswamy on this issue because you would still have the issue of military members dying for the country but not being able to vote. That could also exasperate the ongoing recruitment crisis. I understand Ramaswamy’s point, though, and it’s certainly not out of left field.
Naturally, the usual suspects decided to freak out anyway.
Trump wannabe Ramaswamy proposing to strip voting rights from under-25s (women next? non-church attenders?) is a very literal fulfillment of my fear that as conservatives fail at democratic competition, they will turn against democracy.
— David Frum (@davidfrum) August 19, 2023
Young people: The GOP is floating an amendment to raise the voting age from 18 to 25. Vivek Ramaswamy is openly promoting it. They’re scared of your votes and want to silence you. Act appropriately in 2024.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 19, 2023
Who knew that suggesting an amendment to the Constitution constitutes turning against “democracy”? You have to love the overwrought language. Of course, a Republican could suggest that tacos taste good and it’d be spun as a threat to democracy.
With all that said, is Ramaswamy’s suggestion realistic? It’s not. He would never garner the support necessary to repeal the 26th Amendment. In that sense, throwing the idea out there probably isn’t smart politically, especially when he touts his strategy as courting young voters. Still, there are far worst things to consider.