In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a group of candidates is vying for attention, despite the overwhelming likelihood that former President Donald Trump will secure the GOP nomination.
Among these contenders are wealthy individuals engaging in what some critics describe as vanity campaigns, engaging in policy debates that may seem irrelevant considering Trump’s dominance in the party.
One of the candidates, Michigan millionaire Perry Johnson, recently released a statement criticizing another hopeless GOP hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy’s proposal to raise the voting age from 18 to 25 years old.
Johnson argued that such a move would alienate young voters, require an unnecessary amendment to the Constitution, and distract from a GOP focus on countering the indoctrination of children with left-wing ideologies, which is among the kind of non-existent manufactured crisis that Republicans use to stir up fear among voters.
Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “anti-woke” activist, called for changing the voting age during a campaign event in Urbandale, Iowa.
His proposal suggests raising the voting age to 25 unless younger Americans fulfill at least six months of military or first responder service or pass the citizenship test for naturalization.
Ramaswamy’s campaign announced his push for a U.S. Constitutional amendment promoting “civic duty voting” to foster a sense of shared purpose and responsibility among young Americans.
While revising the Constitution is a complex process requiring substantial support in Congress and state legislatures, Ramaswamy claims he is determined to persuade others of the merits of his proposal.
At 37 years old, he is the youngest candidate competing for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, running against several contenders in their 70s, including Trump—the 2020 election loser— and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Another rival in the race, former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nimarata Nikki Haley, 51, has made generational change a central theme of her campaign.
Haley suggested that cognitive testing should be required for older politicians, in a dig at both Trump and President Joe Biden, emphasizing the need for new leadership.
Changing the U.S. Constitution requires approval by two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of state legislators. The 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, lowered the federal voting age from 21 to 18, a change driven by the call for equality after lowering the minimum draft age to 18 during World War II.
Ramaswamy’s proposal would require amending the 26th Amendment and introducing a civics test for American citizens aged 18 to 24 as a requirement to gain the right to vote. He argues that his plan would stimulate a much-needed conversation about civic pride and what it means to be a citizen in the United States.
While these candidates have virtually no chance of securing the nomination against Trump, their policy discussions bring attention to the reckless and irresponsible ideas that comprise the ongoing dialogue within the Republican Party and reveal how far the GOP’s right-wing extremists are out of touch with the broader American electorate.
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