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Dr. ASHMAN. I did not want to be presumptuous, but I did not understand the comment you made on Mr. Warren's statement on lowering the voting age. I believe you said action to be taken by another constitutional amendment would be even a further breakdown of the role of the State, as I understood it.
I do not know that I understand that, since inherent in the procedure for securing that constitutional amendment is a ratification by certainly more than a majority, two-thirds of the States, and doesn't that take it right back to the States, giving them the final word as to whether or not
Senator HRUSKA. Yes; it does.
As to the necessity for a constitutional amendment, certainly it will take three-fourths of the States.
Dr. ASHMAN. But my point was, we are engaged, as you know, in a campaign which not only concerns itself with the abolition of the electoral college or its reform, but with the lowering of the voting age, and we believe in that concept.
We have on occasion met those who oppose our efforts with respect to a constitutional amendment because they, although they very definitely feel and are for the ballot, they feel that the voting age should be done by the individual State along the concept you are discussing.
When I suggest to you from a political standpoint if a constitutional amendment must be ratified by the States, three-fourths of them, is this not indeed taking it back to them and giving them the same opportunity to express themselves one way or another, as if they brought it up through their own State legislatures ?
Senator HRUSKA. It would be.
Dr. ASHMAN. Of course, you would have no opposition to our proposed amendment.
Senator HRUSKA. But what you are going to run up against, again is a practical matter of getting a two-thirds vote in the Senate and twothirds vote in the House, and then three-fourths of the legislatures.
If all of that energy and all of that wisdom were directed to the legislative system of the States then it could be achieved on an elastic, flexible basis which would be most pleasing to the 50 States that compose the Republic.
Dr. ASHMAN. Yes, sir.
Senator BAYH. I would like to deal with some questions which I think Mr. Warren is particularly
Mr. WARREN. Senator Bayh, if I can, I would like to make one further comment that I was attempting to make about the district idea.
I think it was interesting to note that while the basic objection of the Senator is that major States would be able to control the election, if you go through the district system, you find out that major districts would be able to control the individual States. So if you work on a theoretical plane, while the Senator does in the same manner that the Senator does not excuse, me, he objects to whole States being disenfranchised, he does not object to individual voters being disenfranchised, and while he objects to major States controlling smaller States, he does not object to major districts controlling minor districts.
It was just a point of emphasis that I wanted to place.
In your statement you touched on the communication gap which exists between generations. I thought, inasmuch as you are the president of this organization and you have talked to a number of student leaders around the campuses in the last month or so, that you might for our record again gives us a little better idea as to why some young people act as they do and why some have exhibited a lack of confidence in our system of government.
Is this feeling real? To what extent does the present electoral college system, which does not give to each voter the same weight at the ballot box and which does not guarantee the election of a President who has more votes than the man he is running against, to what degree does something like this enter into the problem of confidence in the system.
Mr. WARREN. I think it can be approached in a number of ways, Senator. But the first and probably the most important aspect of it is to realize that youth in this country have become a rather dramatic power, economically, socially, and politically.
Economically, they can make a product; politically, they can make a product, Eugene McCarthy; and socially, they can make a product. Some of the trends that are going on through youth throughout the entire country.
But more importantly, I think what we are seeing all over the country is their frustration, and there is a concern that they are not being heard, and so the result is that they are trying to go into the back door rather than the front door.
It is interesting that older people tell students, “You know you should act like an adult.” Yet at the same time they do not give them an opportunity to act like an adult. They do not give them the responsibilities of an adult.
So I think what is happening is that there is frustration, and the root cause of it is that students do not feel like they are being listened to. They do not feel like they have a real say in the country.
They feel like they are being asked to do things, they are being asked to pay taxes, they are being asked to fight for their country, yet they are not given the consonant responsibilities.
Something that I found rather interesting along this line when I was researching was the fact that 44 percent of all those people who marry in this country marry before the age of 21-44 percent.
That means they take on the responsibilities of a family, of children, of contracting. They are total adults in every single respect except for one-they are not allowed to vote, and so frustration is resulting from this.
People do not feel like they are being listened to and, consequently, resulting with the disturbances, people are trying to come in through the back door rather than the front door.
I think young people want to, demand to, be heard. But I think they also want to listen. This was part of the statement. We want people to come, we want the opposition to come, to our campuses, to talk with us, to have a dialog and have communication, and that is the only way we are going to solve the problem.
Senator BAYH. That is a very compelling statement, and substantiates the judgment the Senator from Nebraska and I both have that
we should lower the voting age. But is the voting age the only consideration?
I am concerned, very frankly, about the great deal of attention that is given to the small percentage of young people today who get into trouble. This is not doing justice to the great majority that are dedicated and do not get into trouble.
I am concerned about the fact that even those who do not fit into the category of troublemakers are becoming disenchanted with the system.
Now, you should know, I must say, although I may be young, relatively speaking, and I am reminded of that every day when I happen to compare my seniority with some of my colleagues in the Senate, that I have been away from the campus quite a while, and maybe this concern that I have is not well-founded. Maybe
Mr. WARREN. I think you are right, Senator, as far as our campaign, and I think as it relates to the concerned college students across the country, we are taking the approach that the proper way to change the system is to change it from within. You are not going to break a system down and have constructive action by busting down doors and taking over offices.
You are going to do it by changing from within. So the result is, if we send someone to a foreign country, even if we do give him the vote at 18, how, when he is fighting over there, can we explain to him that the President who was just elected was a minority President. There is no guarantee, and this is one of the reasons why we are attempting to support electoral college reform.
The direct vote absolutely insures that a majority President would be elected.
Senator BayH. Plurality.
Young people in this country resent inequity no matter what form it is. The first is that they cannot vote, and the second is, if they do vote there is no guarantee they are going to have a majority President, so I think this is the reason why we are going through it, and we want to change the system, but we want to change it constructively from within.
Senator HrusKA. Let me ask you a few questions on that point. Mr. Warren, cannot the same be said of the people who vote in this country who are from 40 to 45?
Mr. WARREN. Very definitely.
Senator HRUSKA. They do not elect their President. Other people take charge. I do not know of any way that you can have a group of citizens between 18 and 21 years of age expecting to elect a President. Mr. WARREN. I am not saying that. Senator HRUSKA. If they are expecting that, let us correct them. Mr. WARREN. I am not saying they are going to elect them totally.
Senator HRUSKA. If they will vote, they won't control the result. They will affect the result as much as anybody else. Mr. WARREN. Certainly.
Senator HRUSKA. They won't all be elected to the Senate of the United States at once.
I am reminded of a little political maneuvering within the ranks of the Republican Members of our Senate in the past couple of weeks.
One of them was heard to say, "I am getting impatient. I have been here 10 years and I still don't have membership in the Foreign Relations Committee, a committee that I have wanted all these years."
Whereupon, one of the senior members of the Foreign Relations Committee said, "My dear brother, I was here 23 years before I got on this committee."
Now, maybe we ought to have a law that says after you get to be 40 or 41 you can no longer be Senator, then there will be more rapid turnover, and then people will get on the Foreign Relations Committee sooner. They might not serve more than 6 months once they get there, but they will get there sooner.
It would, perhaps, mollify some younger people and younger Senators, but I would tremble for the balance and equality of government that would come out from such a system.
Mr. WARREN. From a direct election involving people under the age of 21 ?
Senator HRUSKA. Well, where is the balance of the thing? Shall we limit it to 31
Mr. WARREN. When they were proposing that women vote, were you advancing the same argument of where would the balance come from that all these women would be allowed to vote?
Senator HRUSKA. Within our Republican ranks in the Senate I do not understand.
Mr. WARREN. Your argument basically was, there was going to be an offsetting effect by the younger people, by the extension of the fran. chise to them.
Were you advancing the same argument when they were attempting to franchise the women, Senator?
Senator HRUSKA. I believe we misunderstood each other and have been talking on different points.
The reason for my calling your attention to that example is this: that we have sort of a system where all people are represented, and it is system which favors those who get there sooner and have a little more experience and can use things of that kind, whether it is the electoral process or whether it is the organization of the Senate process.
Now, we are entitled to get impatient. We should be. We should be ambitious, we should be aggressive. We should try our very best. But all of us cannot succeed in our goals all at one time regardless of our age.
Dr. ASHMAN. But, Senator, the fact you favor the lowering of the voting age certainly indicates an awareness and agreement with our position. I submit that the generation of people between 18 and 21, as a result of the many recent—their position is different.
It is not that they are better people, it is just that you did it. You gave them television and better schools and more money for education and travel, and everything, and they are smarter and better socially and emotionally oriented for progress.
The generation you spoke of between 40 to 45 will not be dressing bizarrely so as to gain attention because people won't listen any other way. They are not raising hell on campuses of colleges around the country to call attention to themselves.
This younger generation is. This young generation that you are ready to give the vote to is more concerned with inequity than other generations.
They do demand that if we talk in terms of democracy that we give it to them, and it is a more tangible, realistic frustration for them when you say, "We can still elect a man President of the United States, even though most of the people did not vote for him.”
It does not bother people that are older, and that is exactly what Senator Bayh was getting at, and I think that is Dennis' answer. We have young people today who feel there is a great deal that must be done to get this country right. The term was “the establishment." That is a little out now.
Now the “in” term is, I understand is, "the system.”
But this system, just as you are concerned about States being normative, they want our system to be normative.
Let us get rid of the 18-year-old vote; let us get rid of the electoral college; and then let us take a look at the filibuster and a couple of other things, and then let us take a look at the fact of the fellow who moves, and because of his registration may not be able to vote.
I am not agreeing with everything. I am just trying to join in the answer to Senator Bayh's question. Young people today are worried, unsettled, and they are frustrated. They are more attuned to inequity. The inequity exists; why maintain the inequity, the inequity by a district plan, when you can eliminate the inequity?
Why concern yourself with the practicality as to how many Senators will vote for it?
Why not concern yourself with the practicality if the States will ratify that amendment if you get it through the Senate, and that is our position?
Senator HRUSKA. We cannot get along without a system in a nation of 200 million people, and we have to concern ourselves with what 100 men—99 men and one woman—will say about that. That is our system.
It is the purpose of a committee to try, where a change is desired, to whittle down that change, the proposed change, down or pad it up enough so that it will be acceptable to enough people to be able to put it before the 34 States for a decision.
Dr. ASHMAN. Then let the witness
Senator HRUSKA. Not until we change that system and say one man can do it. That would not work either, would it?
Dr. ASHMAN. The young people today are not as attuned and not as receptive to compromise as those who have lived with it longer. The fact that they are not as ready to accept compromise does not mean that the compromise is not right. They may be right.
In this particular case, I suggest they are.
Senator HRUSKA. I am interested in the repeated statement of these witnesses of the fact that youth is different these days than it was.
I have just shepherded three offspring of Mrs. Hruska and myself through the difficult ages of the twenties, and they are now approaching 30, so I know what you mean.
We have had many debates at our house. We have not settled many things, but we have had many debates on this subject.