Why Millennials Support Bernie Sanders

 

150429103538-bernie-sanders-gallery-photo-5-super-169Having access to a left-leaning, reasonably articulate Millennial, I was able to ask, “Why are you guys so crazy about this Bernie Sanders fellow?” The answer basically boils down to two things.

1. Millennials perceive the current system to be corrupt and stacked against them. They have completely bought into the line that too few people control too much wealth and that they are disadvantaged as a result. They like Sanders because he is going after “the wealthy.” This is a particularly potent attraction among those who have accumulated lots of college debt and have no prospects for paying it off. The idea of the government mandating paid paternity leave and a living wage sounds great. How could more money and paid time off not be great?

2. They think the free market has failed, and point to examples like the fellow who bought the patent for the AIDS pill and jacked up the price to $750 per pill. (They have no idea that this was enabled by Government regulation and not the free market, because Reddit didn’t tell them that.) They know Sanders is a Socialist and they don’t care. When they think of Socialism, they think of Sweden, not Venezuela. And when they think of Sweden, they think “free college and IKEA,” not 70 percent tax rates and Muslim rape gangs.

Many Millennials have had little or no exposure to the intellectual case against socialism. To them, conservatives are people who don’t want gay people to get married, and that’s about it. When the GOP talks about “tax cuts,” they see no benefit to themselves. The conservative right largely talks among themselves, and are terrible at explaining the benefits of free market capitalism to those who have been indoctrinated by 12-16 years of education in government schools.

In the pre-Reagan Era, the media was just as left-leaning and reluctant to discuss the poverty and oppression that permeated the Soviet Union. But there were enough people willing to talk about it outside the media for the truth to get out. The pervasiveness of social media should make it easier, not harder, for conservatives to get a message out around the media gatekeepers.

Millennials should be told what happened in Venezuela after Sanders’s ideological brother Hugo Chavez took over; they should be told how toilet paper became a black market commodity and supermarket shelves became bare. And they should be made aware that Sweden is not quite the utopia they’ve been taught it is.

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  1. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    They are entirely correct about 1, but don’t have a proper understanding of the causation.

    Most conservatives don’t understand the free market either, so they can’t explain it.  They assume perfect information and undifferentiated products in all things.

    • #1
  2. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    You can tell them all you want but it will not matter.  They have had 12-16+ years of training and indoctrination that conservatives are not just wrong but they are evil too.  Anything other message will be dismissed as right wing nut job propaganda.

    • #2
  3. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    I agree with everything V to the K posted.  Adding on/expanding on why we millennials love Bernie:

    We idealize Europe, especially the Scandinavian countries.  We love their reduced income inequality and guaranteed standards of living.

    We also love the minimum wage, and want it raised, and only see crony capitalists at McDonalds and Walmart keeping it low.  As we flock to hip cities, we take minimum-wage jobs since there are too many of us in hip cities.  $7.25 an hour goes a lot farther in Fargo ND than in NYC or Los Angeles.

    Our lack of single-payer medicine is seen as regressive, and also a result of crony capitalism.

    Our lack of environmentalism compared to Europe is again seen as a result of crony capitalism.

    We blame the 2008 recession on Wall Street fatcats, noting the few who got rich of the crash, the many who took bailout money, and ignoring the many who went bankrupt.  We see how Iceland arrested many bankers, and want the same to happen here for their “crimes”.

    Bernie’s endorsing free college.  College isn’t the bargain it used to be, and the debt is often crippling.  Students and grads owe tens of thousands (sometimes hundreds) to the government, and those with non-lucrative degrees have no obvious way to pay it back.

    The defining moment when we all “woke up” to politics was 9/11.  We have vivid memories of Iraq, and remember R’s as warmongers.

    • #3
  4. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    So who gets the bill for all of this?

    • #4
  5. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    (continued)

    We see special interests and lobbyists as part of crony capitalism, and think most politicians are corrupt.  We all had high hopes for Obama, and feel disappointed he didn’t do more of his agenda.  We blame most of this on R’s, but put some of the blame on Obama, and therefore look for another outsider.  Bernie’s consistency in his positions, issues, and outsider status makes him very trustworthy.

    We have no memory of the USSR, and China is the country we get cheap goods from, not a world power or rival military.  In a rare moment of historical semi-awareness, we see our large military spending as a result of Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex”.  Most of us aren’t aware we have troops in South Korea or Taiwan, or why.

    • #5
  6. David Knights Member
    David Knights
    @DavidKnights

    I’ve said for a while now that the Republican’s need to take Sanders seriously.  Frankly, all the things he identifies as problems are indeed problems.  Its his solutions that are crazy.  However, unless Republican’s start identifying these as problems and talking about solutions (and no, tax cuts are not solutions to someone not paying taxes and burdened with debt.)

    Republicans ought to be attacking crony capitalism (corporatism) harder than anyone on the left, but due to the wholesale purchase of the GOP ( and the rest of Washington DC) by corporations and the Chamber of Commerce, the GOP is mostly silent on the issues.

    Trump and Sanders are two side of the same coin.  If someone sane doesn’t step up and address the issues they raise, then …… God help us.

    • #6
  7. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    BrentB67:So who gets the bill for all of this?

    “The 1%”, “the rich”, and “reductions in military-industrial complex spending”.  We have no idea that Europe can only spend so little on their militaries because we spend so much.

    • #7
  8. Tenacious D Inactive
    Tenacious D
    @TenaciousD

    I think a lot of it ties into ownership. Many millenials don’t even own a car, to say nothing of a house or investment portfolio. Home ownership is out of reach in many markets, even without being saddled with college debt. Understanding investments isn’t really taught, at least in my experience. On top of this is delayed family formation. So a lot of conservative issues have no resonance with millenials.
    There’s also, I think, a limited understanding of natural career progressions–like not getting that a lot of inequality is simply between where we are now and where we could be after 30 years of hard work.

    • #8
  9. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Lazy_Millennial:

    BrentB67:So who gets the bill for all of this?

    “The 1%”, “the rich”, and “reductions in military-industrial complex spending”. We have no idea that Europe can only spend so little on their militaries because we spend so much.

    Which is why we need to leave NATO.  It was to be a self protection pack with all shouldering the burden.  It has turned into a protection pack with Europe being protected and the US providing the protection.

    • #9
  10. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    Fake John Galt:

    Lazy_Millennial:

    BrentB67:So who gets the bill for all of this?

    “The 1%”, “the rich”, and “reductions in military-industrial complex spending”. We have no idea that Europe can only spend so little on their militaries because we spend so much.

    Which is why we need to leave NATO. It was to be a self protection pack with all shouldering the burden. It has turned into a protection pack with Europe being protected and the US providing the protection.

    Disagree entirely, but you should make this its own post if you want to really have that debate.

    • #10
  11. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Lazy_Millennial:

    Fake John Galt:

    Lazy_Millennial:

    BrentB67:So who gets the bill for all of this?

    “The 1%”, “the rich”, and “reductions in military-industrial complex spending”. We have no idea that Europe can only spend so little on their militaries because we spend so much.

    Which is why we need to leave NATO. It was to be a self protection pack with all shouldering the burden. It has turned into a protection pack with Europe being protected and the US providing the protection.

    Disagree entirely, but you should make this its own post if you want to really have that debate.

    If NATO disbanded today, what would be different tomorrow?

    • #11
  12. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    What is different about the current crop of 18-29 year olds?

    I am 47 and it seems like we have this same discussion every 4 years about how newly minted 18-year old voters are drawn to the idea that central government can whisk away all their worries.

    The current generation is more networked and data is broadcast and fleeting opinions generated/changed at nearly light speed, but what is so special or worrisome?

    • #12
  13. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    BrentB67:What is different about the current crop of 18-29 year olds?

    I am 47 and it seems like we have this same discussion every 4 years about how newly minted 18-year old voters are drawn to the idea that central government can whisk away all their worries.

    The current generation is more networked and data is broadcast and fleeting opinions generated/changed at nearly light speed, but what is so special or worrisome?

    Our enthusiasm for an open socialist

    • #13
  14. blank generation member Inactive
    blank generation member
    @blankgenerationmember

    Progressive political commentator Thom Hartmann was on CSpan yesterday.  I watched him for about 5 minutes while he explained that Bernie Sanders is conservative just like Eisenhower!  He challenged viewers to read the 1956 Republican Party Platform since it contained language about strongly supporting social programs.  While I suppose you could say that, it also had strong language supporting lower taxes, reduced spending, and a balanced budget.

    If people start to believe this sort of “analysis” I don’t know what to think anymore.

    • #14
  15. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Liking Bernie Sanders is a form of identity politics.  That identity is “being cool.”  The reasons and policies make no difference.  If jumping off of bridges was cool, they would clog the East River jumping off of the Brooklyn Bridge.

    • #15
  16. Lazy_Millennial Inactive
    Lazy_Millennial
    @LazyMillennial

    More info: while it’s an old saying that the young are always more liberal, this generation really is more liberal than expected.  Check out 2012 party identification by age group:
    PartyByAge

    Source (a great read).  The Bush years are gonna hurt the GOP for the rest of the century.

    • #16
  17. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Lazy_Millennial:

    BrentB67:What is different about the current crop of 18-29 year olds?

    I am 47 and it seems like we have this same discussion every 4 years about how newly minted 18-year old voters are drawn to the idea that central government can whisk away all their worries.

    The current generation is more networked and data is broadcast and fleeting opinions generated/changed at nearly light speed, but what is so special or worrisome?

    Our enthusiasm for an open socialist

    That isn’t new. This is where every group of newly minted voters over emphasizes their self importance, including my generation. We had it aaaallll figured out.

    Millennials are not the first group to get sucked into the something for nothing sales pitch of the left. It is casually more interesting in that a sitting member of Congress with an I after his name is attracting the attention.

    We’ve all seen this movie before, just now it is in HD.

    • #17
  18. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Lazy_Millennial:More info: while it’s an old saying that the young are always more liberal, this generation really is more liberal than expected. Check out 2012 party identification by age group: PartyByAge

    Source (a great read). The Bush years are gonna hurt the GOP for the rest of the century.

    The Bush years are already destroying(ed?) the GOP thanks to the Tea Party.

    • #18
  19. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This affection for socialism is worldwide among young people.

    The United States is more socialist than it thinks it is, and our young people are in pretty much the same economic straits as the young people around the world right now.

    For example, in China, which is about as communist-socialist as it gets, the recent college graduates are having trouble finding gainful employment. They worked very hard to get their degrees, with the idea that those degrees would lead to financial security, and for too many that has not happened. They are bitter and don’t see a good future anymore.

    It is some kind of Greek tragedy that a return to communism-socialism is where these kids want to go. They have been so brainwashed by now that they do not realize that they are embracing the very poison that created this global financial stagnation mess in the first place. This medicine will make them sicker.

    • #19
  20. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    I think there was probably just as much support for Bernie Sanders’ ideas in the past.  What’s differentiates Sanders from a lot of other past and current Democrats is simply that he calls himself a socialist and they didn’t.  But I suspect that every one of his socialist ideas has also been advocated by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, Elizabeth Warren, or dozens of other Democrats.  Ralph Nader, who ran for president for the Green Party probably would have gotten as much support as Bernie Sanders is getting if the Democratic field had been as weak as it is right now.

    • #20
  21. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Randy Weivoda:I think there was probably just as much support for Bernie Sanders’ ideas in the past. What’s differentiates Sanders from a lot of other past and current Democrats is simply that he calls himself a socialist and they didn’t. But I suspect that every one of his socialist ideas has also been advocated by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, Elizabeth Warren, or dozens of other Democrats. Ralph Nader, who ran for president for the Green Party probably would have gotten as much support as Bernie Sanders is getting if the Democratic field had been as weak as it is right now.

    It’s a result partly of competitive politics. I promise to give you something if you vote for me.

    • #21
  22. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Randy Weivoda:I think there was probably just as much support for Bernie Sanders’ ideas in the past. What’s differentiates Sanders from a lot of other past and current Democrats is simply that he calls himself a socialist and they didn’t. But I suspect that every one of his socialist ideas has also been advocated by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, Elizabeth Warren, or dozens of other Democrats. Ralph Nader, who ran for president for the Green Party probably would have gotten as much support as Bernie Sanders is getting if the Democratic field had been as weak as it is right now.

    A similar phenomenon on the right with Trump.

    • #22
  23. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    BrentB67: The current generation is more networked and data is broadcast and fleeting opinions generated/changed at nearly light speed…

    And what they get is information they carefully self-select to reinforce their biases.

    As they were trained to do in their socialist schools.

    The Marxist project to destroy our ability to think critically has been a raging success.  Pity the Soviets aren’t around to come in an clean out the useful idiots and take over, as they planned to do.

    • #23
  24. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    If I were running for office right now, I’d want to study George W. Bush’s campaign. He ran against two socialists and won. I know he is not well liked among Republicans, but he won two very difficult campaigns–I know because I watched them every day. I do not know how he won. He had everything against him. The press and the mass media and the educational establishment were ruthless in their attempt to keep him from winning. And those promises the Democrats made–they would tempt anyone to vote for them.

    • #24
  25. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Lazy_Millennial: The Bush years are gonna hurt the GOP for the rest of the century.

    Bush is going to be our Hebert Hoover, blamed for the mistakes he made and blamed for his much beloved successor’s similar or worse mistakes.

    • #25
  26. Solon JF Inactive
    Solon JF
    @Solon

    V the K:Many Millennials have had little or no exposure to the intellectual case against socialism. To them, conservatives are people who don’t want gay people to get married, and that’s about it.

    That’s it in a nutshell.  They do not know what the arguments on the other side are.

    They see corrupt western capitalists as the main problem facing the world.

    • #26
  27. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    Lazy_Millennial: The Bush years are gonna hurt the GOP for the rest of the century.

    Bush is going to be our Hebert Hoover, blamed for the mistakes he made and blamed for his much beloved successor’s similar or worse mistakes.

    Exactly.

    • #27
  28. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    MarciN: If I were running for office right now, I’d want to study George W. Bush’s campaign. He ran against two socialists and won….

    Bush ran as a Progressive.  He beat the socialists because he campaigned as one.  That’s what “Compassionate Conservative” meant.

    • #28
  29. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Tuck:

    MarciN: If I were running for office right now, I’d want to study George W. Bush’s campaign. He ran against two socialists and won….

    Bush ran as a Progressive. He beat the socialists because he campaigned as one. That’s what “Compassionate Conservative” meant.

    I know.

    But it worked. People at least listened.

    • #29
  30. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    If I were running for office right now, I’d want to study George W. Bush’s campaign. He ran against two socialists and won….

    Bush lost the popular vote in 2000. He ran as a wartime President in 2004, and barely squeaked in against a pompous and unlikeable Massachusetts Democrat. I am not certain there is anything particularly instructive about his campaigns.

    • #30

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