Millennials are the most social-justice-warring generation ever and it’s hard to imagine anything less appealing to them than an old white man forgetting to check his privilege and doing something so insensitive as becoming president of the United States. Yet, here the are in a recent Monmouth study, saying that they want old, white Bernie Sanders as president. And this isn’t new. Millennials were the old, white Ron Paul’s largest and most ardent followers in his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
Is this some sort of bizarre oedipal longing for Santa-like figure with crazy hair and crazier ideas on the economy? Well, the way Sanders talks about how much of other people’s stuff he’s going to give away, that might just be the case.
But I think there’s something else going on here.
Sanders has said, “That is why what I call our campaign…which is unique in American history….I call it a political revolution.” Revolution? And that echos the Ron Paul Revolution from previous campaigns. So, why does that appeal to the younger voters?
In a discussion I had with Brit Vorreiter of AFF, she mentioned that Millennials are unique because in their case, more than any preceding generation, they’ve had their basic needs universally fulfilled. In Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs, one must satisfy the lower levels of needs before you can graduate to the next level. In the case of those born in the early ’80s to the early ’00s, everything in the lower rungs has been amply satisfied.
Food and shelter (physiological needs) have been taken care of in this the wealthiest society in the world ever. The only risk to safety that most Millennials face is someone hacking their Snapchat account. They are loved and belong more than any other group of people on Earth and if you don’t love them or include them, they’ll sue you. And this is the group of people in which everyone got a star for just showing up, so their esteem is off the charts. The only thing left for them is self-actualization.
But how does that make them swoon after old white men? Well, Millennials, more than any preceding generation, aren’t worried about being able to work to pay for an apartment (what are your parents for anyway?). They’re not worried about fighting crime (way down since the ’90s) and they don’t need a politician’s empathy (ie Bill Clinton’s “I feel your pain”). They don’t even react to calls to patriotism to help them feel good about themselves. The only thing they want from a politician is to change the world and they want to be a part of it. The only thing worth putting any effort into for them is revolution. Basically, this is what happens when every kid gets a trophy.
The only problem, as anyone with a half a degree from the local state college can see, people who haven’t satisfied those levels of needs on their own aren’t prepared for self-actualization and can be easily lured by the false profits of change, as we saw with Obama. Millions were suckered into the hope and change propaganda only to end up with the tired status quo. But even worse is supporting a revolution that might actually happen and destroying the economy in the process. There’s absolutely no way that an economy can sustain the types of things Sanders is promising, as the Venezuelan experiment is demonstrating in tragic detail. A Sanders presidency would be an unmitigated economic disaster putting us on par with Greece and leaving no one wealthy enough to bail us out.
But, that type of economic collapse may not be so bad for the Millennials after all. They might benefit from having to start from scratch on the hierarchy of needs.
#wut #lolz #feelTheBern