SANCHEZ: Integrity more important than charm for millennials
Opinions Column: The Champagne Socialist
I can’t wait for the boomers to die off. Us millennials are the most highly educated, diverse and left-wing generation this country has seen. Our elders don’t have enough of the tech-savvy skills nor the egalitarian and compassionate worldview needed to save our country and our planet from deepening inequality and economic stagnation, expensive wars, financial profligacy and ecological deterioration.
A January YouGov survey found that Americans under 30 years old favor socialism over capitalism by about 10 points. Similar results were found in a 2011 survey as well by the Pew Research Center. A little more than 40 percent of millennials are not “white,” largely due to massive immigration from Latin America and Asia. And, if you remember that “white” on the U.S. Census also includes North Africans and Middle Easterners, the numbers of “white” people may be a bit inflated. And, as of 2014, the majority of babies and toddlers aren’t “white” either. Large majorities of millennials aren’t interested in organized religion and are also similarly left-wing when it comes to matters of gender and sexuality.
“Terrifyingly liberal” is how G.O.P. strategist Frank Luntz described millennials who’re both deeply dissatisfied with the country’s direction and view corporate America with a deeper sense of distaste than they do Washington, D.C. When Luntz asked whether socialism or capitalism is the more “compassionate,” millennials chose socialism 58 percent to 33 percent.
It's no surprise then that Luntz also found that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the top presidential choice of millennials, winning the hearts of 45 percent to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who got less than one-fifth. As for Donald Trump, he got 10 percent and everyone else got less. Not only that, but Sanders is the most “admired” of politicians, with about one-third saying he’s the politician they most like and respect, while President Obama and Clinton got 11 percent and thank God, the fascist Dynamic Duo Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) got less than one-tenth. Sanders is winning the millennial vote by lop-sided margins, surpassing Clinton and even what Obama could do and is also drastically more competitive with millennial African-Americans, who are — pitifully, due to Clintonite “electoral capture,” pandering, lesser-evilism, etc. — more habitually enamored with Clinton.
The characteristic diversity and left-wing worldview of the millennial generation is then what’s really behind the incessant bashing of us as a bunch of spoiled, lazy, selfie-loving, oversensitive, “politically correct” brats. But let’s stop this baseless, condescending psychobabble and start talking empirically. Unemployment for 16 to 24-year-olds is between a tenth to a fifth, and 70 percent of college graduates have $29,000 in student loan debt, while 42 percent of African-Americans between 25 to 55 years of age carry debt compared to 28 percent of whites. And out of the 2.5 million people locked up in the American Gulag, 38 percent are millennials, half are between the ages of 20 to 30. Millennials’s impoverishment, indebtedness, un(der)employment and criminalization relative to their elders ought to make their politics understandable.
We millennials are, as everyone ought to know, the first generation of Americans in decades whose standard of living is lower than that of our parents. Indeed, in 1980, 18 to 35-year-olds earned much more on average. Yet, that same generation was the one that either ushered Reaganism, eschewing the promises of liberalism’s heyday back in the 1960s. They voted for the free-market fundamentalists that followed Reagan, barely escaped Reagan’s legacy with Clinton and voted for Reaganism’s heir in George W. Bush, who depleted our public monies with his warmongering, eviscerated our civil liberties, peddled gay-bashing evangelicalism, let New Orleans drown, cut taxes on the rich and crashed the financial industry.
Some may be curious how a curmudgeonly, unglamorous old Jewish guy with views from the bygone Cold War era could become more of a youth icon than the cool, suave, moderate-minded Obama. But, they fail to understand that millennials can’t be charmed by dancing with Ellen or namedropping Kendrick Lamar. We’re suffering, we’re in debt and Obama’s conciliatory attitude toward the 1 percent and an intransigent Republican Party just comes off as muddy-headed feebleness more than anything. When it comes to Sanders, millennials value integrity much more than charm. We value the kind of “audacity” that’s practiced and not just preached about. Whether or not Sanders goes on to win the nomination, the libertine and egalitarian-minded teens and 20-somethings of today will be the policymaking adults of tomorrow, so let’s expect a much more socialist future … absent a catastrophe.
José Sanchez is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in history with a minor in political science. His column, “The Champagne Socialist,” runs on alternate Tuesdays.
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