February 20th, 2019


If You Think the Pacific Ocean is Next to New York, Should You Be Allowed to Vote?

Bernard Goldberg

By Bernard Goldberg

Published March 24, 2015

 If You Think the Pacific Ocean is Next to New York, Should You Be Allowed to Vote?

Now, from the man whose greatest policy achievement so far has been mandatory health, comes a new idea: mandatory voting.

At a town hall meeting in Cleveland, President Obama floated the idea as a way to counter the influence of money on elections. "Other countries have mandatory voting," the president said, citing Australia as one example. "It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything."

It doesn't take a political scientist to figure out why the president would want a law requiring everyone to vote. And he wasn't shy about admitting what that reason was. "The people who tend not to vote are young, they're lower income, they're skewed more heavily toward immigrant groups and minorities…"

Or to put it another way: the people who tend not to vote … ARE DEMOCRATS!

Conservatives were quick to trash the idea, arguing that one of our sacred rights of expression is the right to sit home on Election Day. Yes, but this is lame. Sure, maybe some Republicans are against mandatory voting on highfalutin constitutional free speech grounds, but they're also against it for less lofty reasons: They know, like the president knows, that if more young, poor and minority Americans were required to vote, that likely would end any chance the GOP would have of ever winning the White House again.

There's a much better reason to oppose mandatory voting but it's one that even conservative Republicans don't have the guts to say — not out loud anyway: Certain Americans should not be encouraged to vote — and in some cases not even allowed to vote — because they're clueless, which is a nice way of saying they're too dense to get out of bed in the morning without hurting themselves, which is a nice way of saying they're really, really stupid.

Here's an idea: All Americans should have to answer a few simple questions in order to vote. How many states in the United States? If you can't answer that, you're out. Who is the current president (when you take the test)? If you don't know who the president is, you shouldn't be allowed to vote for president. In what country is the United States Congress located? Anyone who gets that one wrong should not only be barred from voting — but should be deported. Is Nebraska a city, a state or a planet?

And the ACLU has nothing to worry about — there will be no literacy tests or anything like that; no going back to the bad old days where black voters in the Old South might have had to read the Constitution — in Greek in order to vote; or tell the registrar how many jelly beans are in the jar on his desk.

Nope, just simple questions to make sure that only the least qualified among us don't get to vote — and don't get to offset votes cast by people who actually pay attention.

This leads me to the feature on Bill O'Reilly's show — Watters World — where Jesse Watters goes out and asks America's Most Clueless real easy questions and gets real dumb answers.

Jesse asked one guy what he thought of the Ebola controversy and got this answer: "Holy boly controversy? … um, it's nice."

When asked what he thought about ISIS, another genius responded: "Yeah, that's the Chinese people…."

To a guy on the ski slopes: "When was George Washington president?" Response: "1983."

To another whiz kid on the slopes: "Who was President of the United States during World War II?" Reply: "I think it was Bush, am I close?"

Another American who would have to vote under the Obama plan was asked, "What body of water is on the East Coast of the U.S?" Answer: "That would be the Pacific." Then a pause for reflection, and this answer: The "Red Sea."

Do we really think any of them should be allowed to hold a pair of scissors let along given a ballot to vote? I mean, don't we have enough chuckleheads already voting? Yes, we do. How else to explain Nancy Pelosi in Congress? Do we really need more clueless Americans making decisions about things they don't even vaguely understand?

But Barack Obama thinks a law making voting mandatory would be a good idea. I think a law banning goofballs from voting would be a better idea.

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