Bernie Sanders and the Impact on Millenials
Lately, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the 74-year-old Brooklyn native pursuing 2016 presidential election, seems to have a near exclusive hold on the attention of younger generations. If Sanders succeeds in his election efforts, he will become the oldest U.S. president ever to take office. Despite his age, he has made a remarkable impact on millennials of all situations.
While Sanders has generated a significant amount of support from young people, many question whether the enthusiasm he has created will be enough to get him to the White House.
Alex Forgue, the Vice Grassroots Organizer of College Students for Bernie, said that part of the thrill young people receive from Sanders' platform is that today's youngest voters have lived in a time of "establishment politics" and see Sanders as a fix.
"Students such as myself are paying tens of thousands of dollars for school," Forgue said. "We want a candidate who will fix this."
While it is clear that Sanders has strong support by millennials, many contend that those same young people are known not to make the effort to vote on election day. A study conducted by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University reinforces this belief. The study explains that more than 77 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 did not make it to the polls for the 2014 midterm elections.
Sanders and his campaign believe they will break the pattern of young people being non-voters. Tad Devine, a strategist for Sander's campaign expressed their recognition of this pattern and their fervor for changing it.
"We understand that if the electorate stagnates, if the usual suspects show up to vote, that we will probably lose," Devine said. "But we believe that if we can change the composition of the electorate by getting young people involved and others, we can create a very strong coalition to help him win the nomination and help Democrats win the general election."
While the campaign endeavors to get young individuals to the polls, Sanders' progressive stances on issues are the most compelling factor. One of Sanders' stances that is commanding a large portion of his support is his belief that higher education should be free.
This position, along with Sanders generally progressive views, entices young people to support Sanders. As the general election draws nearer, speculation on the chances of Sanders' success will become more certain.