Why Millennials are voting for Bernie Sanders

26 December 2015 8:36 am

Millennials or Gen Y can't remember a time without mobile phones or PCs. Cheque books, fax machines, even radios, are relics from another era. Raised by doting parents who told them they were special, they played in competitions where there were no losers, everyone was a winner and everyone got a trophy. It is also the generation that confounds, even terrifies publishers of newspapers. They don’t read or subscribe to them but then, who can blame them? All the news they want now comes free, whether it’s from Google alerts, online news portals, blogs or just scouring the Net. The most tech savvy generation ever, most have downloaded music using peer to peer sharing.

And because they are set to surpass Gen X as the largest generation, they are likely to become a political force.

That’s what makes a Harvard University Institute of Politics survey, so interesting. It shows Bernie Sanders receives 41 per cent of support from that age group, contrasted with 35 percent for Hillary Clinton among the same demographic. Millennial Democrats are also typically untroubled by Sanders’ self-described “Democratic Socialist” platform, pollsters found. About 66 percent said that label makes “no difference” in supporting his campaign. About 24 percent said it would make them “more likely” to support Sanders, while 9 percent said it made it “less likely” instead.

“For people 30 years of age and younger, saying, ‘Bernie Sanders is a socialist’ cuts exactly no ice,” economics professor Richard Wolff told Inquisitr. “It’s useless. It doesn’t persuade anyone. Those battles are now two or three decades old. For young people, this is barely known history.”

In the lead up to Christmas, Millennials were hitting US shopping centres with a cappella singers carolling for Bernie Sanders. “On the first day of Christmas, Bernie gave to me, an end to inequality. On the second day of Christmas, Bernie gave to me, 15 bucks an hour and an end to inequality.”

Why is this happening?

Conor Lynch in Salon sums it up nicely.

“Millennials see a society governed by plutocratic pawns who are legally bought by billionaires and corporations. They see a dysfunctional government that can barely keep itself funded, let alone tackle monumental issues of our time, such as climate change — especially when private industry does everything it possibly can to block necessary legislation. Most who are not fortunate enough to come from a financially well-off family see a future of taking on incredible amounts of debt, just to get an education that will hopefully (but not certainly) provide a job that pays enough to make monthly payments on that debt.”

Sanders’ policy proposals and overall outlook fall close in line with the viewpoints of many Millennials on a number of issues: the cost of college tuition, climate change, marijuana legalization and wealth inequality, to name a few.

The anti-establishment candidate has even found supporters in hacktivist group Anonymous, which declared war on ISIS in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. They have just announced their endorsement.

How likely is this to persuade the Democrats?

According to Politico, support for Clinton soared after Saturday’s Democratic debate. Clinton now leads Sanders 60 per cent to 27 per cent. She holds a commanding lead over Sanders on issues like foreign policy (Clinton is on 72 per cent to Sanders’ 15 per cent), handling Islamic State (63 per cent to 18 per cent), and guns (51 per cent to 30 per cent). Sanders’ heavy focus on the economy puts him closest to Clinton at 39 per cent versus 47 per cent for Clinton

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders would beat Donald Trump 51-38 in a general-election match-up, according to the latest poll from Quinnipiac University. Or as Rolling Stone puts it, using the vernacular that that Trump introduced to America this week — the billionaire would get "schlonged" by the democratic socialist. Hillary Clinton would only top Trump 47 per cent to 40 per cent.

So the polls suggest Clinton will probably get it. But the growth of the Millennials might give the Democrats something to think about. In any case, it tells us the political landscape will look very different in 2020.