If the Republican Party was more of an affirmative party, it could make a lot more gains in elections. But its imagery remains anchored in the imagery of “NO!” — a party that seems to want to exclude and control. The latest tidbit which is condescending to young people comes from The Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson who argues (no joke) that 17-year-olds shouldn’t vote because they don’t know what entre to order.
To be sure, Carlson’s comment is a flippant throw away line, but it underscores once again how rather than make an intelligent argument against or for something, many Republicans will opt for the zinger which pleases those with whom they agree but could offend those who don’t see it their way.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Sunday suggested that 17-year-olds should not be allowed to pre-register to vote because they were not capable of “choosing an entrée at a restaurant.”
In Sunday morning Fox & Friends report, Carlson noted that new state regulations — “from raising the minimum wage to banning tanning beds” — could curtail “your personal freedoms.”
Carlson told Campus Reform reporter Katherine Timpf that one law that he was concerned by states like Illinois and Colorado allowing people as young as 17 to pre-register and participate in party primaries if they would be 18 in time for the general election.
“I have a 17-year-old, whom I love more than my own life of course, but are 17-year-old really capable of choosing an entrée at a restaurant, much less voting?” the Fox News host wondered. “I mean, for real. Do we want them voting?”
Here’s the segment:
Another view, from Booman:
…Campus Reform reporter Katherine Timpf reassured him that some young people are disappointed in Barack Obama’s presidency and might actually vote for Republicans. This is the crux of the matter. Republicans oppose voter participation by any group who they think will not support them, while Democrats support the broadest voter participation possible.
Perhaps Democrats wouldn’t be quite so pro-voting if it worked against them, but I can’t imagine the Democrats arguing that their goal is to suppress certain voting groups. The Republicans do tend to couch their opposition to voting in terms of voter fraud in order to disguise their true intent, but they are often quite explicit about their desire to keep black turnout down, or to prevent college students from participating. There are groups that vote reliably Republican, but you never hear any talk from Democrats about suppressing their votes.
There’s another issue and it’s the fact that despite the famous “autopsy” after the 2012 election that called for inclusivity which quickly was ignored by most GOPers, the “motif” of the GOP increasingly is to find more and more ways and be more stringent about keeping people out — out of the party or out of the voting process.
There are intelligent arguments to be made about letting or keeping 17 year old from voting in the primaries. But Carlson didn’t make one, he just went for a zinger that would be insulting to many young people (who, I can assure you, know about entres at restaurants).
The zinger is more fun and takes less work than a serious, thoughtful argument.
There’s a lot of that going around in the GOP these days.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.