“Young people are in a condition like permanent intoxication, because youth is sweet and they are growing.” – Aristotle
War was the catalyst that brought about the 26th amendment. If a man can be drafted to fight and die for his country at age eighteen, why can’t he vote until age twenty-one? It was a simple argument, and it won popular support. As much as I agree with that sentiment, I advocate for the repeal of the 26th amendment. The military draft has been retired. The voting age should be raised to twenty-six, and exemptions can be granted to those who enlist in the military. That’s my simple argument.
Why do I want to raise the voting age? Because young people are easily manipulated, and the collegiate system is deeply leftist. This leads to larger portions of college-aged voters pulling the lever for Democrats.
According to a new report by the Harvard Crimson:
“Eighty-four percent of campaign contributions made by a group of 614 Harvard faculty, instructors, and researchers between 2011 and the third quarter of 2014 went to federal Democratic campaigns and political action committees…
[96 percent] of donations in the data set from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which includes Harvard College, supported Democratic efforts. That figure was even higher–nearly 98 percent–at Harvard Law School.”
This is not unusual, as Fox reports:
“A survey done by UCLA researchers found that 65.7 percent of public university faculty identified as liberals compared to 9.5 percent who call themselves conservatives – a ratio of 7-to-1.”
Meanwhile, according to Gallup, people are never more liberal and less conservative than during their college years. 47.5% of 18-24 year-olds identify as Democrat, while only 32.5% identify as Republican. This gap slowly narrows over time as people enter their early thirties.
I think this gap exists for two reasons. First, institutions of higher learning are packed to the gills with liberals, as has been demonstrated by numerous studies. I went to college, and experienced firsthand the liberal bias. It certainly rubs off on students–specifically with regard to social ideology.
Second, many college-aged people are supported at least partially by their parents. I believe this safety net leads to a certain naïveté that translates to voting preferences. When you’re supported by someone else–and have been for your entire life–your experiences with real world situations are extremely limited. This limited view leads to a narrow understanding of cause and effect. You may love Obamacare when you’re 20, and your professor is preaching the liberal gospel, but when you leave the nest and realize that there’s no free lunch, you may feel differently.
We need to repeal the 26th amendment and raise the voting age because inexperience leads to poor results. A child can’t run a Fortune 500 company, and although that’s an extreme example, the same logic applies to voting.
As John Keats wrote: “Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.” Wisdom comes with experience, and the right of voting should be weighted by a certain level of experience.
There are flaws in every idea, but I think the benefits of raising the voting age would outweigh any negatives.