< Return to Blog

Should only graduates be allowed to vote in a democracy?

22/11/2016 at 10:43

I am open-minded about whether Trump’s presidency will improve the lives of American citizens and, consequently, for the rest of the world; assuming that the two effects are not mutually exclusive. I refuse to join the bandwagon to acclaim or condemn the man. It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true, only time will tell. We can’t undo his election, let’s wait and see.

There is, however, an attitude that does concern me.

Many people in the media, mainstream and social, are blaming the election of Donald Trump on the alleged lack of education of many of his voters. One Facebook meme proclaims that 87% of Trump’s voters in a particular constituency didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree – unfortunately I can’t find it again. Other commentators, across the world, go further and advocate that voters should undergo intelligent tests, before being allowed to elect our leaders.

Rightly or wrongly, I infer from these attitudes that a person who has reached a certain standard of education has a greater understanding of the suitability, or otherwise, of the candidates in an election than the non-graduates.

The most recent studies I can find show that around 30of adults in each of the USA and UK are graduates, see http://tinyurl.com/lt7etll for the USA and  http://tinyurl.com/zd5ykt5 for the UK.


Therefore, if this voting criteria were to be implemented, 70% in each country would be immediately disenfranchised – bang goes democracy.

Graduate voters for graduate leaders

Apart from the patent immorality of such a voting system, which smacks of Hitler’s supreme race aspirations, it raises the question of what type of candidates would these graduate electors vote for?

It is widely accepted that (with exceptions), graduates in most developed countries secure higher positions in the state and commercial sectors than non-graduates. Furthermore, they are more likely to be appointed to positions of power, whether political, economic or military, than non-graduates. Effectively, they will become the greater part of the world’s “power elite”.

It is probable, therefore, that the graduate electors would vote for these graduate candidates. Why? Because graduates would doubtless think they know what’s best for society.

Some examples of what the graduates in power have done for society

Since the Second World War, when a destroyed world rose from the ashes intent on bringing peace and a decent standard of living to us all, these graduates have been responsible for:

1. Starting, and participating in, wars somewhere on the planet every single day since 8 May 1945. Various authoritative estimates show that between 1945 and 2000 around 40 to 50 million people have been slaughtered or maimed in these wars. http://tinyurl.com/j5d3v3h


2. Building a social structure where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer every day.

3. Building a world where some 795 million people on the planet do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth. http://tinyurl.com/gt6ld6w

4. Building a world where those who control the banking system nearly caused a catastrophic economic collapse in 2008, through a mixture of criminal activities, recklessness and blind stupidity. However, few, if any, of the perpetrators have been punished for their illegal behaviour.


5. Building a world where the political leaders are in thrall to the unelected global corporations, military-industrial complexes, media barons, and a host of other powerful unelected entities all of which, in varying degrees, exert undue influence on our elected leaders.

If anybody is in any doubt of how and why politicians curry favour with these shadows of power they should read Owen Jones’s The Establishment: And how they get away with it (London 2014, 2015) He is a self-confessed ardent left-winger but in this well-researched book he treats the political parties equally in his criticism of the system.

There are of course many more examples of how the world’s population has suffered at the hands of “power elite”.


It may be argued that the above negative issues is the price we have to pay for the technological advances and material comforts, enjoyed by a small minority of the world’s population. I leave that for you to decide.

What is clear to me is that it’s not the non-graduate voters who should be blamed for Trump’s appointment – if blame is needed – the fault lies fairly and squarely with those hubristic graduate leaders who, for at least the last seventy years, have acquired power and put their self-aggrandisement and personal wealth accretion before social justice and the implementation of the will of the people.