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Saber !

Mina Saber

Samantha Ocena

Writing 001

29 October 2018

Should People Ignorant about Politics be able to vote: CNN Opinion Article Writer Argues No

LZ Granderson is mostly successful in arguing that people who lack knowledge about

issues on the ballot should not be allowed to vote in the article, “Don’t Let Ignorant People Vote”

by using rhetoric questions, hypothetical situations, and informal language. The article “Don’t

Let Ignorant People Vote,” written in April 2011, came during a period when politics was a

central focus. The article comes shortly after President Obama secured the democratic vote for

the second time (April 3) and comes right before the first republican nominees' debate (May 5).

One of the main points of this article focuses on the idea that even though someone has turned

18, it does not mean that they should just be given the right to vote. This is because even when

people lack knowledge about candidates and ballot issues they still vote, and they don't inform

themselves. This leads to individuals voting for the sake of voting. Grandson proposes that

before a person can vote, that person should be able to understand basic politics and basic facts

about the US government.

Granderson is partially successful in arguing his point that ignorant people shouldn't vote.

He presents an idea that there are two different standards that we hold concerning voting. He

immediately makes the audience pause to think about why people who know nothing about

politics, still vote. He argues that people don't just take medicine from anyone, especially from

people who know nothing about the medical field and yet many people don't think to question
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“ignorant” voters. Granderson believes that before a person can vote, they must be an “educated”

voter; meaning that they are knowledgeable about issues on the ballot and the candidates that

they are voting for. Furthermore, the author clarifies that when he describes a voter as ignorant,

he does not mean that they are stupid, but rather that they are just lacking knowledge. In one

example, that he presented to the audience, he argues that as someone who is “ignorant” about

cars, he takes his car to a mechanic, who has knowledge about cars. The article then argues that

the same type of situation should be applied to people who are not educated voters; that people

who lack knowledge about politics should not be allowed to decide future outcomes of the

country. He argues that if we were to think about this logically, it would not make sense that just

because you have turned 18 or that you are an American citizen, you can vote (Granderson,

CNN).

One strategy that Ganderson uses to convince his audience, is the use of rhetorical

questions. Throughout the entire article, there are rhetorical questions laced in various parts of

the article. These questions are primarily used to make the audience pause and question the

situation that is presented, but their effectiveness comes from the fact that many of the questions

posed are rhetorical questions. Ganderson poses the question,”should ignorant people vote” at

the start of the article in order to get the audience in the mindset that he is arguing people need to

be educated voters. This question is effectively able to make the reader pause because it gives

rise to strong emotions and even Ganderson acknowledges that this question is meant to make

people pause and hesitate. Another question that Ganderson uses to convince his audience is

“Want to know why it seems Washington is run by a bunch of idiots?” This question is both

rhetorical and leading; it is not actually asking the audience’s opinion on whether they think
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Washington is run by idiots. The question also already suggests that the answer is “yes, idiots run

Washington.” By asking such a leading question, Ganderson’s audience is more likely to agree

with the author’s point because it doesn’t allow for as much opinion. Furthermore, the main

purpose of the question is to get a reaction out of the audience, not an actual response. Again, the

most effective tool that Ganderson is uses in his article is the use of rhetoric questions. In one

part of the article, the author presents the argument that people who can’t pass their driving test

are not allowed to pass, “Why do we look at voting differently?” The question is asked in such a

way to make the audience agree that people who are not knowledgeable about voting should not

just be allowed to vote. It is intended to be answered in this way because again Ganderson is

hinting there is already an answer to this question and because there is already a hinted answer,

the audience is more likely to agree with the arguments that are presented. Asking a question

where there is already an answer, helps to push the audience in a certain direction (Ganderson,

CNN).

Another strategy that the author uses in his article to further convince the audience that

“ignorant people shouldn’t vote” is the use of hypothetical situations. Through hypothetical

situations, Grandson connects to the audience by causing them to pause and think about the

hypothetical. Ganderson argues that this country needs some elitism when it comes to voting. He

presents this idea through the following argument; “We don’t seem to have a problem

understanding the importance of having elite athletes” (Ganderson, CNN). Ganderson compares

how in one situation, people are ok with the idea of having elitism (sports), but when it comes to

voting, people do not like the idea of having any elitism. The purpose behind including this

hypothetical situation is to have the audience question the logic behind what it means to have the
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country run by the elite because it is meant to already have an answer to it. Furthermore, it is

used to make the audience ponder why one form of elitism is acceptable and the other form is not

acceptable. Hypothetical situations cast doubt on what the audience already thinks. Ganderson is

further able to appeal to people’s logic by using the following hypothetical situation, “If I were to

ask you to ingest an unknown medicine from someone who knew nothing about the medical

field, you probably wouldn’t do it” (Ganderson, CNN). He brings in this hypothetical situation to

show that people don’t tend to trust people that are not professionals in any given area and yet,

according to Ganderson, people who are not knowledgeable about politics, still vote. The author

presents this hypothetical situation because he wants the audience to understand that there are

two different standards regarding voting and he accomplishes this because again it makes the

audience doubt preexisting thoughts. The idea behind using these hypothetical situations comes

from the fact that hypothetical situations help to make connections between various thoughts,

ideas and practices.

The final strategy that Ganderson implores in his article, is the use of informal language.

By using informal language, the audience feels that they and Ganderson are on the same level.

This tactic is used to make it seem as if Ganderson is talking face to face with the audience and is

trying to show that he can be related to. The author says things such as, “Before getting bent out

of shape,” “you betcha,” and “the founding fathers were not a bunch of average joes” to ensure

that even the “average” person is able to understand the arguments that he is making

(Granderson, CNN). The purpose behind using such a tactic is again because Ganderson is trying

to convince the audience that people who don’t have knowledge about politics should not vote

and in order to do that, he uses everyday language which helps to appeal to the “average reader.”
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In conclusion, LZ Granderson writes an article, “Don’t Let Ignorant People Vote” to

convince the audience that when choosing to vote, one should be an educated voter. The author is

mostly successful in arguing that ignorant people shouldn't vote by using informal language to

connect with the audience, rhetorical questions and hypothetical situations to make the audience

question the author’s argument.


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Works Cited

Granderson, LZ. “Don't Let Ignorant People Vote.” CNN, Cable News Network, 12 Apr. 2011,

www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/04/12/granderson.ignorant.vote/index.html#expand2.