Social Question

stanleybmanly's avatar

How do you counter the argument that Trump is proof that ignorant people should be deprived of the vote?

Asked by stanleybmanly (22356points) April 4th, 2016 from iPhone

Or is the argument valid?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

48 Answers

ucme's avatar

Lack of credible alternatives, the odious morons on show force the voters hand toward something different, however unsavoury

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve never been one of those people pushing ignorant people to vote. If they aren’t interested in politics I’m fine if they never register. However, am I going to block anyone who wants to vote from voting? No! Who decides? What’s the test? Haven’t we been through that in our country? Aren’t we ashamed of it?

flutherother's avatar

It’s a tempting argument in the present circumstances but if followed to its logical conclusion you end up with a dictator who believes he knows best and his way is the right way. Winston Churchill put it like this…‘democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I would say the same about Clintin supporters or any establishment voters.
Let’s be honest, voters don’t choose candidates, the media influences voters to believe we have a choice.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s not a valid argument. We could say the same for anyone who votes contrary to what we believe in.

ibstubro's avatar

I don’t need Trump.
No one should be denied the right to vote.
I think Florida, Kentucky and Virginia are wrong to not have a path to restoring voting rights to citizens convicted of felony.

If the yahoos can take an honest, legal, majority, then they have the right to govern.

If the majority in power aren’t providing the services to prevent widespread ignorance, they will lose the majority and, by default, become the ignorant.

NerdyKeith's avatar

The right to vote is a universal right for all persons over the age of 18. Stopping a person for voting, because you don’t think they are intelligent enough is no different from when women could not vote. I don’t agree with Trump’s foreign policy and I think he would be a terrible president. But taking away a persons right to vote, is a violation of freedom.

zenvelo's avatar

Questioning anyone’s right to vote invalidates one’s own right to vote. Either we all get to vote, or we get a government chosen by a few. That is what universal suffrage is about.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The flaw in the argument: who decides who is stupid and who is not? I agree with @zenvelo – you start reducing the population who can vote, and soon after you have a dictatorship.

bad idea.

NerdyKeith's avatar

If you start taking away people’s right to vote, you’d be better off dismantling your entire government and restoring to anarchy. Because if only certain people can vote, you do not have true democracy.

marinelife's avatar

All citizens are equal, and have an equal right to vote.

johnpowell's avatar

I wouldn’t be opposed to regular viewers of Duck Dynasty getting 3/5ths a vote.

Coloma's avatar

Well..when you’re a raging Narcissist everyone is ignorant when compared to your astounding brilliance.

Jaxk's avatar

Every candidate currently running has what would be considered terminal flaws in any other election cycle. Choosing to vote for any of them could be considered highly irrational or ignorant of the issues. So who gets to choose? All the voters will get to choose from bad choices. As it should be. It won’t be the first time we’ve gotten into bad choices and elected less than the ideal candidate.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Agrees with @ARE_you_kidding_me

The argument, and indeed the OP are not valid.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s unconstitutional.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Trump is brilliant and highly educated. Ignorant isn’t a general category into which he easily fits. That’s not to say there are not subjects of which he is no master. I’ve said since my teens that there should be more required for voting that just being born on American soil. We pay for everyone to obtain a K-12 education. Anyone who doesn’t finish high school should not be able to vote. Same thing to serve on a jury.

Coloma's avatar

@MollyMcGuire You can’t be serious! There are plenty of people out there that were drop outs that have gone on to become highly successful people, entrepreneurs, etc.
A couple extra years of formal education has nothing to do with how intelligent many are or how ethical they would be as a juror. Infact. some of the most intelligent types were the worst students, remember Einstein?

janbb's avatar

The fact that we live in a purported democracy. It would be like political eugenics.

JLeslie's avatar

@MollyMcGuire People don’t finish high school for all sorts of reasons. I’m pretty sure our own Augustlan didn’t. Maybe she has her GED I don’t remember.

My grandfather probably didn’t get past the 8th grade if that. My inlaws, once they become citizens, will vote and my FIL didn’t finish primary school. He did run businesses successfully both wholesale and retail and speaks 4 languages; 2 fully bilingual, and 2 proficient conversational skills.

Peter Jennings, the journalist, was a high school dropout.

Soubresaut's avatar

Here’s how I’d counter it:

Like others have mentioned, determining who is “ignorant” will always depend on one group of people determining the intelligence of another group, and as we’re all just human, we don’t have a good way of going about that.

But let’s even assume that there is a group of “ignorant” people who we can determine “ought not vote” ... in a country whose constitutional tenets are founded on ideas of we-the-people and elected-government-officials, I can’t imagine any sort of system like that lasting very long, let alone not looking an awful lot like the various historical voter restrictions we had and now recognize as anywhere from unjust to outright condemnable (the original voters were only landowning, which meant voters were almost entirely ”white male Protestants over the age of 21”). Everyone else had to fight for their right to vote, often without access to much education or social standing, often being perceived as innately ignorant/lesser.

Additionally, it seems to me that in a long-term view, restricting voters is counter productive in several ways…

Even if someone is largely ignorant on certain issues, they still have a perspective on the country that is informed by (at the very least) their own experiences. By cutting out a swath of people—deemed “ignorant”—we wind up cutting out the voices of an entire demographic (or more, depending on how we choose to slice and dice ourselves). A democracy means we will all sacrifice a little, compromise a little—and in negotiations, we seem find it much easier to imagine the other person giving up more than we do imagining ourselves giving it up. It doesn’t seem like a huge leap to suggest that should a population be cut out of voting, that population will tend to get the short stick in decisions.

Also, cutting “ignorant” people out of the vote seems to distract from the political issues at hand. Already we have a partisan climate in which those who voted for the “losing” side feel the “winning” side is destroying the country, where people already feel like their votes hardly count—just imagine the reaction people would have when their votes really don’t count… But despite all that political hullabaloo, our voting process is a sort of trial and error. We elect whoever the majority feels will be best at the job, and then we scrutinize that elected official’s every move. Maybe it’s a bit on the extreme side, maybe rhetoric is being manipulated to present certain stories, but we do at least have a process which (in theory) we can use to self-correct ourselves. As much as I wince at the prospects of Trump being president, part of me feels that if the US elects him, then we deserve whatever happens—in the abstracted, long-term view, not in terms of adversely affected individuals—and maybe it can become a moment of self-correction in a larger historical legacy.

Which brings me to what I think is more at fault than any “ignorance” of people… The popular/mainstream discussion/coverage of this election (and the ones I have been old enough to follow) is a bit absurd. Very little time is spent discussing issues or policy in any meaningful way. Much of it is grandstanding and name calling, and whatever someone thinks will get the most attention for being the most outrageous. Probably most frustrating to me, much of the media—despite having different biases on issues—talk about the same handful of events in the same cursory ways, sometimes even with the same phrasing. We are connected to most of the world, yet our popular culture discussion largely lack much of the depth or diversity such an expanse of information offers. If we want to blame anyone for this, it ought to be all of us—maybe especially those in places of media, who took a job to spread information to others—who focus on things as frivolous as hair and skin color, and as outrageous as decontextualized sound bites declaring things that are patently untrue and/or inflammatory and/or mere flimsy rhetoric. I really don’t see how Trump would survive in a political climate that expected decorum and substantiation from a political candidate, and I really don’t see how a group of the population large enough to sway the election could, in that same climate, back a candidate lacking those qualities. I’m not saying the resulting politician would be “ideal”—just that from my own perspective, they would be better.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@MollyMcGuire, seriously! Neither of my girls graduated from HS. One went on to receive her BS in business from Southwestern College, the other obtained her GED and has gone on to better things. I can’t imagine telling either of them they shouldn’t be voting.

He may be intelligent, but he’s not very smart.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Well, once you go to college it doesn’t matter if you finished high school. However, when your daughter was 18 I assume she was a drop out and had not attended college. I’m agreeing with you that it doesn’t mean she is ignorant or stupid, I’m just saying once you have a higher education everything before that is moot.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I realize that, but @MollyMcGuire didn’t make that distinction.

And having worked with adults who never got their diploma or a GED or any further education I can further ad that it was just a…. not very nice suggestion.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’m on your side as you can see in my response directed at @MollyMcGuire.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Thomas Jefferson gave a lot of thought to this. In 1782, very few people could read, and most of the ones that could learned by using the Bible as a primer and never, throughout their whole lives, read anything else. There was a lot of pressure within the revolutionary cadre of the Continental Congress to limit suffrage to only white males over 21 of a certain level of education among the class of landowners. Hamilton was a big supporter of this idea, as was Hancock. Yet, Jefferson and a few others insisted on suffrage for all white males over the age of minority, which was an extremely radical at the time. Hancock had a public conniption over this—sharing the reins of government with ignorant commoners.

But Jefferson saw the problem. If they can’t understand the issues, or how exactly the issues affect them personally and the country in general, then they can’t offer an informed vote. They are also open to conmen and “bafoonery.” I’m sure it was very frustrating for him and the other educated men who led this country through a revolution, out from under a king, and into the risky world of democracy.

Here is a whole page of his statements concerning this problem.

“I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”—Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820.

Basically, he’s saying that an enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight. It is therefore imperative that the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens. It should be noted, that when Jefferson speaks of “science,” he is often referring to knowledge or learning in general.

As an answer to this problem, he advised for tax-payer supported public schools for everyone modeled after the English private school system. “We have the opportunity for all Americans to be noblemen.”

stanleybmanly's avatar

Right. This has been a key issue since the onset of our country. The big question from the beginning was: Are the common people capable of self governance?

So every election amounts to a test quiz on that question. So once again, it all boils down to perspective. I can just imagine Jefferson & Hamilton looking at that question while confronted with the prospect of President Trump.

LostInParadise's avatar

Trump is tapping into the hurt felt by a segment of the population, largely white non-college educated men. They have seen their incomes decline and their mortality rate increase, partly due to a high rate of alcohol and drug abuse. We may look down on them as ignorant and bigoted, but it is not right to say that they should not be allowed to vote. They are mistaken to think that Trump is the answer to their prayers, but I see their pain and wish there were some reasonable way of addressing their needs.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know that too @JLeslie

@LostInParadise What, exactly, do those people think he’s going to do for them? Kick out all people of color so they can take their jobs or something? Allow them to legally unleash their anger on the rest of the population? What has he promised them?

Jaxk's avatar

@Dutchess_III – You’re letting your hatred of Trump cloud his message. It’s really quite simple. He’s promising jobs, economic growth, and self respect.

Dutchess_III's avatar

…Self respect? Oh, that’s an oxymoron, coming from the hateful, misogynist, racist likes of him.

I don’t feel hatred, just a quiet contempt and disgust. He’s not worth wasting any more emotion on than that.

Jaxk's avatar

And that is why you’ll never understand his following.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You say that like it’s a bad thing!

Jaxk's avatar

It’s only a bad thing if you want to understand your opponent. If you don’t then, by all means, continue to represent his following as you wish.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I understand him well enough.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ You do not.

You are a severe case of mainstream media brainwashing.

Not only do you not feel the need to understand a candidate, Trump in this case, but you don’t even seem to understand the idea that @Jaxk is attempting to explain.

At the very least “know thine enemy.”

Jaxk's avatar

Let me try this another way. Everytime I talk about his followers you go back to all things you dislike about him. I think you’re assuming that what you don’t like is what his followers like. That’s simply not the case. Trump actually says a lot of good things but says them in poor way. He’s telling his followers that it’s OK to be successful. It’s OK to be proud of America. That America has actually been a force for good not evil. That if you’re successful, you really did build that. If he says these things in a politically incorrect way, they simply don’t care. You may very well have Trump pegged but that isn’t the real question. The question is why do so many millions continue to support and vote for him. If you want to defeat him, that’s the question you need to answer.

janbb's avatar

@Jaxk I think I’ve given you two GAs in the past few days! Something’s happening and I don’t know what it is…....

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ @Jaxk is being the voice of reason.


You balk at the notion that Trump represents self respect. If this confuses you instead think of it as the sovereignty of the individual.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That’s the key. His following balloons as the promises grow ever more absurd. All politicians promise more than they can deliver, but Trump is beyond pie in the sky. His promises are in your face ridiculous. In fact his campaign amounts to promises which before his arrival, I would have thought impossible to foist on a 9 year old, interlaced with crude and tasteless insults to anyone pointing out that “the emperor is naked”. The one point at which anyone really seemed to have a handle on how to counter Trump was the brief episode when Rubio loosed the Don’s own tactics on old Possumhead. Marco got an immediate bump in his ratings, but too late in the game for it too matter.

Jaxk's avatar

@janbb – You’re scaring me.

janbb's avatar

@Jaxk I know. If we end up voting the same way, it will mean the Rapture has come!

ibstubro's avatar

There was a name for willful disbelief given on NPR in another context that I failed to remember. When people make up their minds about something, and the more facts they are presented with that disprove it, the deeper they dig in.


Anyone know?

Soubresaut's avatar

@ibstubro are you looking for “confirmation bias”? Or maybe “interpretive bias”?—I don’t know the NPR discussion, so I’m totally guessing

ibstubro's avatar

I didn’t hear them say, @Soubresaut. I came in just as they were describing the effect, and I thought they were talking about Trump, but they weren’t.

Soubresaut's avatar

@ibstubro—haha, just based on your description I assumed it was related to Trump…! I guess there are other topics out there for the news!

ibstubro's avatar

Yeah, right, @Soubresaut. I had the same confusion at the time. I wish I could remember the topic!

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