Harsanyi wants a civics test before you can vote because voters rejected his candidate and his ideas in the Republican primary. The message from Harsanyi is that Trump won because the rest of us are stupid.
It is a childish counter-argument.
Me: I voted for Trump because I agree with his ideas and am impressed with his skills as an executive.
Harsanyi: You're stupid.
From Harsanyi's column:
Now, if voting is a consecrated rite of democracy, as liberals often argue, surely society can have certain minimal expectations for those participating. And if citizenship itself is as hallowed as Republicans argue, then surely the prospective voter can be asked to know just as much as the prospective citizen. Let’s give voters a test. The citizenship civics test will do just fine.
How many screeching proponents of the two major candidates would pass this quiz? Here are some of the questions, which run from easy to preposterously easy:
“If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?”
“There were 13 original states. Name three.”
“What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?”
“What is freedom of religion?”
I have tempered confidence that at least a majority of the voting public could pass such a test — though I couldn’t say the same for a majority of presidential candidates. Certainly, this should be a breeze for citizens so intensely involved in the process that they feel compelled to plaster bumper stickers on their cars and attend the rallies of their favorite candidates.
The irony is that the column fails any civics test because it ignores the great danger of Jim Crow, which is that by asking subjective questions (“What is freedom of religion?”) you can disenfranchise the opposition's voters. Oh, he tacked on the end of his column a small acknowledgement of this, but without stating how he would prevent elections officials from abusing this power he would give them. That's because there is no way you can prevent such abuse.
And yes, “What is freedom of religion?” is subjective. We have been arguing it for 500 years ever since Martin Luther nailed his thesis on the church door. The Supreme Court just punted on whether freedom of religion protects the Little Sisters of the Poor from having to buy birth control for other people. Does that mean the justices cannot vote in November?
The sanctimony of the Never Trump movement is surpassed only by its brazen ignorance of history, civics, and the very foundation of this country.
UPDATE: Harsanyi responded by saying he was misquoted. Folks, I cut and pasted seven paragraphs from his piece. I post. You decide.
@donsurber i said none of the things you claim i did. you should be ashamed of yourself.— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) May 21, 2016