If there’s one thing the most enthusiastic fans of Bernie Sanders have in common, it’s their youth. Sanders has a far lead on Hillary among younger voters (especially young women).
To give just a sampling of how successful Bernie and his socialist ideology is among the youth, Emily Ekins writes at the Washington Post:
Millennials are the only age group in America in which a majority views socialism favorably. A national Reason-Rupe survey found that 53 percent of Americans under 30 have a favorable view of socialism compared with less than a third of those over 30. Moreover, Gallup has found that an astounding 69 percent of millennials say they’d be willing to vote for a “socialist” candidate for president — among their parents’ generation, only a third would do so. Indeed, national polls and exit polls reveal about 70 to 80 percent of young Democrats are casting their ballots for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a “democratic socialist.”
So the grand question is: why? There’s a famous saying (commonly miss-attributed to Winston Churchill) that if you’re a conservative in your youth you have no heart, but if you’re a liberal in adulthood you have no brain.
Millennials tend to reject the actual definition of socialism — government ownership of the means of production, or government running businesses. Only 32 percent of millennials favor “an economy managed by the government,” while, similar to older generations, 64 percent prefer a free-market economy. And as millennials age and begin to earn more, their socialistic ideals seem to slip away.
Karl Marx rarely held a job, and his mother once remarked that she’d wished he would “accumulate capital instead of just writing about it.” Today’s socialists have that in common with Marx – unemployment and inexperience.
There is some evidence that this generation’s views on activist government will stick. However, there is more reason to expect that support for their Scandinavian version of socialism may wither as they age, make more money and pay more in taxes.
The expanded social welfare state Sanders thinks the United States should adopt requires everyday people to pay considerably more in taxes. Yet millennials become averse to social welfare spending if they foot the bill. As they reach the threshold of earning $40,000 to $60,000 a year, the majority of millennials come to oppose income redistribution, including raising taxes to increase financial assistance to the poor.
To put that in perspective, $42,000 in income is the median person’s income over a lifetime, on average.
Ekins also mentioned that millennials were much less likely to support socialism when it was also mentioned that taxes would have to be raised to pay for specific social programs. Democrats may be gaining the millennial vote currently, but all Republicans have to do to take it back is attack the Left’s marketing of their bad ideas.
Seems easy, right? If they can just stop trading insults about each other’s wives, maybe we’d get somewhere.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @Mattpalumbo12]