In an op-ed to the U.K. news outlet The Independent, a French woman (who is now living in the US) suggests that people from other countries should be able to vote in our elections.
“This is a country which calls itself ‘leader of the Free World’ and has huge global influence in terms of foreign policy and economics. Now that Trump won’t acknowledge basic things like climate change, it’s time other countries had a say,” Clémence Michallon writes.
She goes on to link the New Zealand attack to President Trump saying America is responsible for acts of terror like the Christchurch shooting because of our leader’s rhetoric.
I know, I know. The idea sounds so absurd, so outrageous that it’s hard to know where to begin your rebuttal. I have floated it around, timidly, in bars and at various dinner parties over the years, and let me tell you – it’s hard to get people to agree with me. And I get it: it’s never been done. I will probably never be done. But last week, a terrorist killed 50 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The alleged gunman, who had referred to himself as a white nationalist, viewed Donald Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity”. So, yes, I think it’s high time to acknowledge the fact that what happens in the US has immense, tangible consequences on the rest of the world, and I am tired of crossing my fingers hoping that American voters will do the right thing.
The United States views on climate change worry her.
The most convincing example may be global warming, and Donald Trump’s overt skepticism when it comes to climate change. In January this year, the president of the world’s most powerful nation infamously tweeted: “In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming [sic]? Please come back fast, we need you!”
It goes without saying that whatever the US does or does not do to limit the effects of global warming impacts every single being, human or otherwise, on this planet.
She then goes on to complain that as a green card holder, she can’t vote in the United States even though she pays taxes.
Take, for example, the idea that living in a country is a condition to having the right to vote there. Permanent residents such as myself, also known as green card holders (also known as people who aren’t US citizens but live and work in the US full-time) pay the same income tax as US citizens, but don’t get to vote. Naturally, US citizens (like citizens of many other countries) still get to vote for their president even if they permanently move to a different country. All this to say: there is an established disequilibrium between who gets to vote in the US presidential election and who arguably has the most skin in the game.
Then outlines just how it would work.
How would it work, then? If the US were to entertain the possibility of letting foreigners participate in the presidential vote (and again, I’m not holding my breath), how would we make it happen? Does each foreign country get the same weight as each of the 50 states? Surely, that would be giving too much weight to the outside world. Do we restrict the vote to member states of NATO and/or historical allies? This seems slightly more realistic – as realistic as it gets in this purely hypothetical scenario – but also somewhat unfair to those whose voices would be left out.