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We want YOU (to take a civics test)!

“WHICH PRESIDENT WAS FAMOUS FOR HAVING WOODEN TEETH?” “Easy. Trump. Next question.” “Who shot JFK?” “Easy. The martians. This is duck soup. Harder, please.” “What is an aglet?” “Easy. It’s — what in the hell is that?” One writer inveighs against the Republican armada championing a qualification exam for the sirrahs of society. Graphic BY Meghan Holloran | photo editor

A new movement is growing among Republican lawmakers. The goal is to pass a constitutional amendment to require a civics test for voters age 18 to 24. The stated purpose is extremely unclear. 

Most notably, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is in support of this amendment, stating on his X (formerly known as Twitter) account that “We need to revive civic duty among young Americans.” 

Then why support this amendment? If the goal was to engage younger voters, it seems like the worst way to achieve that. In theory, less people would vote with these extra requirements. The unstated purpose is as clear as day: The Republican party saw a massive loss during the last presidential election with a close race, and by requiring a civics test, they can reserve the right to block voters they disagree with. 

A political play like this is sadly not uncommon in the history of voters’ rights in America. Voter ID laws, changing voting times and many more are all forms of voter suppression that have been used to silence the most vulnerable voters. Such strategies tend to target minorities, those of lower-income and groups who could influence the vote the most. 

Which brings us to the crux of the issue. Republicans are pushing for this amendment out of fear. The reality of the situation is they saw young voters blocking their “Red Wave” and want to attempt to rectify that. The young voters that support them can still vote, but those who don’t are refused their constitutional rights. This proposal shows that Republicans are falling into irrelevance with younger voters. 

There is hope, however. Young voters aren’t taking this lying down. A uniting cry has rung out against this amendment, and in response, support for Republicans backing this bill has dropped considerably. In one of the most palpable events of dramatic irony we have seen recently in politics, the exact fear that Republicans held has been fulfilled by their own actions. 

Regardless of political orientation, Republican actions have been unacceptable and  follow a worrying pattern of attacks on basic constitutional rights. In recent years, the party has been attacking minority groups with increased regularity, and when they perceive any pushback, they respond with extreme force. This new attempt at an amendment is the most recent in a line of attacks on American democracy. 

Thankfully, this one looks like it’s going to fail, but we have to stay vigilant. It shows just how willing they are to make politically corrupt actions in the eyes of the public. Republican fear has proven to be their greatest asset and weakness.

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