GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is making waves in the pre-primary landscape with some potentially controversial views. Ramaswamy has announced that, if elected, he would close the Department of Education, send U.S. armed forces to the border, limit the Federal Reserve’s powers, keep “woke” corporations from using Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards to measure performance and end affirmative action.
His most recent campaign promise to a young audience in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was a proposed constitutional amendment to raise the voting age from 18 to 25. Exceptions to the amendment will include persons serving in the military or as first responders, and those that can pass the civics test immigrants take to obtain citizenship.
Ramaswamy explains, “We want to restore civic duty in the mindset of the next generation of Americans. And how we want to do it is to say that, if you want to vote as an 18-year-old, between the ages of 18 and 25, you need to either do your civic duty through service to the country — that’s six months of service in either military service or as a first responder, police, fire or otherwise — or else you have to pass the same civics test an immigrant has to pass in order to become a naturalized citizen who can vote in this country.”
On the surface, liberals are predictably seeing the proposed amendment clearing the way for a new era of Jim Crow laws. Their real fear, however, is that raising the age restriction or requiring real-world life experience will affect their ability to remain in power, as would a deeper knowledge of the United States’ founding principles and governmental limitations.
The Democratic Party has often enjoyed greater support among younger voters, especially those under the age of 40. Younger individuals are typically more progressive on social issues and may align with the Democratic Party’s platform on topics such as climate change, social justice, and healthcare. Democrats enjoy popularity among the very rich, who are unaffected by liberal policies, the younger generation who have not settled into the “real world” of working, paying taxes, and raising a family, and the very poor who rely on government money to survive.
The Republican Party tends to attract a relatively older demographic. This can be attributed to factors such as conservative values, economic policies, and social issues that resonate with the reality of their life experience.
If Ramaswamy manages to pass the amendment, Democrats relinquish the power of their hold on the younger generation granted through their inexperience with life. These voters will be replaced by a slightly older population that understands how liberal policies directly affect their own lives.
For Ramaswamy, the announcement is more of a social stance than a political view, explaining that his proposed amendment is not a Democrat or Republican idea but rather “an American idea for restoring civic duty and civic pride in the next generation of Americans.”
He explains, “I think we will make it more desirable to vote by actually adding more meaning to the act of voting rather than just emotion that people go through or are accustomed to going through. And I think that will actually be positive for our civic culture. And I also think that this can be unifying.” He goes on to add, “Whether you’re the kid of a billionaire in the Upper East Side of Manhattan or whether you’re the daughter of a single mother in the inner city, it doesn’t matter. You have the same requirements to be part of the special group of people at a young age who get to participate in deciding who governs the country. And I think that restores a sense of civic equality and a sense of civic duty that we have long missed in our country.”
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ramaswamy is a tech and healthcare sector entrepreneur, author, and conservative commentator who made his bid for the GOP presidential nomination in February of 2023. Worth an estimated half billion dollars, he’s already spent six figures on his campaign and has promised to continue using his own funds throughout the cycle, like another entrepreneur whose campaign ended in a 2016 presidential victory. Also, like Trump, Ramaswamy is outspoken, controversial, not a career politician, and speaks for the “every man.”
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