18 Year Olds Got the Right To Vote 50 Years Ago Today
Do you remember the first time you voted in a Presidential election? Was it a significant experience? Did it seem important, did it make you feel like an "adult"? Do you think 16 year olds should vote? Should you have to have some life experiences in order to vote? Is 18 too young? It used to be 21...until this day.
This Day In History 50 years ago, June 30, 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, lowering the minimum voting age to 18, was ratified.
I remember the argument of us youngsters at the time - If we are old enough to be drafted to fight and die in Vietnam, we should be old enough to vote! Facing the draft, it made sense at the time, but then I was 18 .... and the times and 18 year olds have changed.
In 1799, John Adams, second president of the United States, is quoted as saying, on the topic of a change in political viewpoint as one matures, "A boy of fifteen who is not a democrat is good for nothing, and he is no better who is a democrat at twenty." It is a simplified version of: If you aren't a liberal when you are young, you have no heart. If you aren't conservative when you are older you have no brain.
So what's your opinion of the preparedness of today's 18 to 21 year old citizens to responsibly vote? Oh, I'm sorry, you can't direct "responsibility" in how people vote. How did our 18 year voters exercise the awesome power of the right to vote granted to them 50 years ago today? How did our 18 to 21 year olds show out in 2020?
We know 159.8 million Americans voted in the 2020 election President Joe Biden receiving more than 78 million votes — roughly 5.5 million more than Donald Trump.
Karlyn Bowman, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute says, “A number of things appeared to be driving young people’s level of participation and level of excitement about the campaign and it wasn’t Joe Biden, though they certainly like Joe Biden overall. They were voting more against Donald Trump than they were for Joe Biden.”
The last 50 years of voting have given us Nixon, Carter, Reagan twice, George Bush, Bill Clinton twice, George W. Bush twice, Barack Obama twice, Donald J. Trump and Joe Biden. What role did the youth vote play?
What the next 50 year's list will look like remans to be seen, but it appears younger voters will have a greater say in the election of tomorrow's leaders who will shape the direction and nature of the nation. Hey kids, the ghost of John Adams is watching!