Before our Constitution was amended, voting rights were basically left to the states and usually defaulted to property owners. Since then, amendments and federal legislation has expanded the right to vote to blacks, women and people between the ages of 18 and 21 with property ownership not a requirement.
After watching a focus group of Donald Trump supporters I’m beginning to think the notion of voting being an exclusive privilege rather than a right is the proper way to go. Bloomberg’s John Heilemann interviewed a focus group of Trump supporters. A few things became clear:
- Most had no idea of Trump’s prior, less conservative views on such things as healthcare and abortion rights.
- One said Trump was like one of us except for the rich part. That’s like saying a porcupine is like a kitty cat except for the needles.
- They liked that he was blunt and “honest” which gave him a pass for characterizing illegal immigrants as killers and rapists (and he “assumes” some good folks too).
In short, the group sounded like a bunch of thirteen year olds. That was their level of sophistication in choosing the next leader of the free world. Mind you, I don’t argue with some of their assessment. I like Trump’s in your face style. I like that he holds over all the other candidates their history of begging HIM for money and endorsement. But does that really qualify him for the biggest job in America?
Now before conservatives get their dander up, I admit this next-to-baseless infatuation is not unprecedented. In 2008, many Americans, including me, became enthralled with a man with near zero meaningful government experience. He had no executive experience. He was articulate, handsome, youthful and most of all black. Besides that, basically a blank slate. And millions, including me, fell in love and put him in the White House. How much CRITICAL thinking went into the decision? And I don’t mean stupid critiques like he was a closet Muslim. I mean serious consideration of his proposed solutions to our problems.
During this go-round I’m on slightly firmer ground but only slightly. I have rejected Hillary Clinton, a political operative and proven liar. But “my guy” has his own major weakness. While Bernie Sanders has a long legislative record and a consistent outlook, as a candidate he’s proven great at defining the problem but not as great at defining the solution. Forget foreign policy. It’s not his thing. I love his straight talk and I share his view of what ails us but how does that make me much different from the members of the Trump focus group?
Now I certainly don’t want to give up my right to vote. But do I work hard enough to make the right decision? Do you? Hasn’t our presidential selection process devolved into American Idol? I don’t know what the proper “test” is for voter eligibility but I have to admit that under the current come one-come all system, our country is probably not in the best of hands.
What do you think? The bar is open.