Your Vote Should Count Less If You’re Not Politically Informed, According To An Economist


– The fact that the OECD report claims that this generation of
Americans for the first time in the history of the United
States will be less educated than the preceding generation
means that we do need to do something quite aggressive
I believe in order to get more voters to the ballot polls. The idea of weighted voting is essentially providing a reward to
voters who are more engaged. One of the risks of this
proposal is that people will interpret it very
superficially as rewarding, or giving people who put more
education or more wealth, a bigger weight in the voting process and that is absolutely incorrect. The most important thing I believe for democracy to function is two things. One is to make sure that
as many people as possible are voting, and so in that
context, one of the concerns is low-voter participation rates. In the United States,
they are now around 50%. For low-income households,
they are around 30%. But the second thing
that’s critically important is that voters have an understanding of the political process. One of the big issues
that has been revealed is that we’re seeing a lot of disaffection and people tend to vote for
candidates based on things as basic as what color
pantsuit they’re wearing. And that I think really
undermines the political process. Discussing what sorts of
factors would help us understand who should be voting and
how voters should be voting, I believe that having a
civics program where people really understand how
the government functions and who they’re voting for and
what those people stand for. At the very bare minimum, a
civics test, and I draw really on my experience as an
immigrant, would really tap into the historical context of
how exactly the United States political system was established,
but more specifically, it will talk about how
it’s structured today. For example, just a basic understanding of what the different
arms of government are and how the political
process works from the role of superdelegate and
delegate, but it’s also about how primaries work and
how the whole process of the caucusing and the
electoral college works in a democratic system. And I think that, at a very
bare minimum, would help voters understand what
the role of their vote is and how that action would
impact, not just on the election process, but also
long-term economic policy. Because I’m an eternal
optimist, and because we have a history where
people of color were not allowed to vote, women
were not allowed to vote, I imagine that there were
times when there was pause and people thought, well we
really can’t have a system where women voted or
where minorities voted, but here we are today in a
world where it is possible. And so on that basis, I
don’t see why we shouldn’t be optimistic about reforms and innovation to the democratic process that can make it stronger and perform better. We want to make sure that
people do have access to information about the
candidates that they’re fielding but also make sure that
they have understanding about the basic political
and policy issues that are up for debate.

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