Rep. Keith Ellison last week suggested that 16-year-olds should have the right to vote.
“Why shouldn’t 16-year-old vote?” Ellison tweeted on Jan. 11. “They can drive. Some have jobs. Let’s empower our youth.”
Ellison's comments set off a lively, multi-day debate on Twitter, with several people criticizing the congressman by asking questions such as “Why not let them drink beer?” and suggesting 16-year-olds weren't informed enough to vote. One tweeter said he worried the teens would base their votes on their parents’ opinions and not their own.
“Oh come on! 16-year-olds are pretty sharp,” Ellison wrote in response. “When is last time you talked to teens? They have their own views on things." He also wrote, "I kicked it w(ith) bunch of kids yesterday, today. All were very smart (and) informed.”
Even Ellison challenger jumped into the fray, repeating a Newt Gingrich talking point.
“More would have jobs if they were allowed to clean the schools they attend,” Fields tweeted. “Oh, wait. That would take away union jobs.”
Lynne Torgerson, one of Ellison’s other Republican challengers, urged a Political Action Committee, called No Compromise, to support her run for Congress. However, the site linked to in her announcement appears to be a social networking site for conservatives, and not an actual political action committee. A PAC and a “SuperPac” by the same name show up in Federal Election Commission filings as registered in Texas, and unaffiliated with any party. However, FEC records show that No Compromise has neither received donations nor disbursed any money as of its most recent filing.
Ellison appeared today on Minnesota Public Radio's Midday program for a discussion of race and religion to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
No Sharia Law
On Thursday, Ellison issued a statement praising a federal court decision to strike down a 2010 Oklahoma ballot initiative to ban Sharia law in that state.
“The Islamophobic campaign against the so-called ‘threat’ of Sharia law in America has always been a solution in search of a problem.” Ellison said. “No court, state legislature, city council, or municipality has tried to supplant U.S. law with Sharia law. Rather, this is a campaign by a fringe group of political opportunists trying to stoke divisions and fear.”