Every so often I call back the memories of my stupid youth when I was a liberal (Gun control, welfare, right down the line. Social issues weren’t too huge at the time so I didn’t do much of those.)
I ran though the old “If you’re not a liberal by the time you’re 30…” bit at about double speed. Nevertheless, being still young and white (which seems to be Sanders support base) I put on my hat again and said “Why is this guy so popular?”
The answer I cam up with is scary as all hell.
Now I want to say up front, Sanders support amongst African-Americans is single digit. And that alone is enough to kill him in the democrat primaries I can’t explain that level of support. I have some guesses, but that’s all they are, outside the window looking in guesses.
But as I said above, I am young-ish (Under 35.) And whiter than a fresh snow. And I’m surrounded by an extended family of union flacks, so I can get insight into what appears to be his core base of support.
On the union front the answer is pretty simple. A hiked minimum wage helps unions (who often have some raise tied to any minimum wage hike.) That, combined with a suspicion that Sanders would push for closed shops everywhere undoing Right-to-work laws, makes him the obvious choice for the AFL-CIO goons.
The youth vote he’s pulling is less straightforward. But if you look at the totality of circumstances it clarifies. If you’re under 35 right now (doubly so if you’re under 27) you look around and you see an economy still in shambles, lack of opportunity and often sky high college debt. Even if you can get your feet planted the tax man takes upwards of 20% right off the top (just at the federal level including FICA). And 20% is if you’re good playing with a 1040.
All of that money seems to be going to the baby boomers, who just keep spending it. And we learn from our parents. And in this case the lesson is: Screw everyone else, take from them what I want. And that’s exactly what Sanders represents. The boomers robbed us, so we’re going to rob the bankers and “big business” and “rich.”
Obviously at any sane level of practicality it makes precisely 0 sense. The whole idea of “democratic socialism” is itself a lie. 51% voting to take from the 49% percent via force is not “democratic” beyond the most stripped down definition of “people voted”. Socialism always has relied on men with guns taking stuff from people with lethal force. That hasn’t changed now (even if Sanders wants to pretend it has.)
Japan has its “lost generation” and now we have the start of ours. The difference being that while Japan’s lost generation is content to sit in tiny rooms with henti and videogames our lost generation is going to emulate the baby boomers, attempting to vote themselves their desires. And they’re willing to take the country down the drain to get what they want.
If Trump is the primal scream of the right tired of being lied to and played for fools, Sanders is the primal scream of the young left tired of being robbed from, wanting to do some robbing themselves.