COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., February 21, 2016—Why are young Democrat voters flocking to the septuagenarian Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton? Why are they feeling the Bern?
Why is this old, angry white guy appealing?
It can’t be because they are so in love with socialism.
It is true that those under 30 are much more likely to think socialism is OK, when polled. It is also true that those same kids—because let’s face it, most of them are young college students with no experience in the world—have no idea what socialism is or the misery that it caused millions of people in the 20th century.
In Iowa, when questioned about what they wanted the answer was “free stuff”. One girl said that it was about time somebody footed the bill for her college education—and she said it emphatically in her perfect Canadian accent.
The idea seems to have resonated in New Hampshire as well. These young freeloaders are about to change the state’s motto to Live for Free or Die.
They want free stuff all right, but they have no idea what they’re asking for. Under the last eight years of the Obama socialist agenda the four groups that have fared the worst economically are, in descending order: blacks, Hispanics, single women and young people.
Be careful what you ask for. All of Bernie’s free stuff is estimated by left-leaning economists writing in the New York Times as costing an extra $2-3 Trillion per year for the next ten years, which is as far out as economists usually dare to go.
Who’s going to pay for all that? These millennials with their reduced wages and the jobs that have gone to immigrants since 2000? Not likely.
Even leading Democrats can’t really define socialism or how it differs from the Democratic Party platform. Hillary Clinton hemmed and hawed when Chris Matthews asked her. Leading Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz also refused—or couldn’t—tell the difference.
Recently, however, Michigan Democratic Rep. Sander Levin gave an answer when asked at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.
“There has been a major, major difference as to role of government and the role of the private sector,” said Levin. “I think Liberal Democrats like myself have dedicated ourselves to trying to make the free enterprise system work to change it to make it more responsive to the needs [of individuals] to find a blend between individual initiative, ingenuity and the role of government to find that right balance. And socialism has traditionally had a different balance.”
In other words, the difference is in degree, not in kind. In democratic socialism you vote for your chains; in plain old socialism, they’re given to you.
Bear in mind also that Levin is 84, having served his whole life in government. He’s an even older white guy than Sanders.
Which brings up a fascinating point about the 2016 Democrat Party. The self-proclaimed part of diversity and inclusion has a couple of old white people in their 70s (Hillary isn’t quite there yet) running for president. Another old white guy, O’Malley, dropped out. Democrats nervous about the choice between the socialist Sanders and the unindicted felon Clinton are looking for someone else to jump into the race. Guess who? Old white guy Joe Biden—maybe even the governor of California, old white guy Jerry Brown.
Great diversity. Well, one of them does wear a pantsuit instead of pants. As for diversity of opinion—where it counts—don’t count on it. Sanders and Clinton have each been dueling to prove which one is more the socialist.
All of which bring us back to the original question: why are younger voters picking Sanders over Clinton?
Besides the basic unlikeability of Hillary, there’s a positive pull to Bernie.
He’s your professor.
He’s the guy who’s spent his whole life in academia after dodging the draft by staying in school to get a PhD that was totally useless outside the ivy-covered walls. He’s the one who sold you on the wonders of socialism—minus the details—if only we could implement it right this time.
He’s also your crazy uncle who rants on about things but is mostly harmless. Maybe even generous. And he’s definitely not your parents, who, by definition, are wrong about everything. If he gives you free college, you won’t be dependent on those morons for your college tuition anymore! Gone are expectations about studying hard and getting good grades too.
In the end, that probably explains more about Bernie’s popularity than anything else. He appeals to a certain demographic but his sell-by date is rapidly approaching.