Millennials, Bernie Sanders, and Socialism

I live near a college town.  Leading up to the 2016 elections, the overwhelming support for Bernie Sanders was evident among college students – bumper stickers, road signs, huge banners – all pointing to the fact that many of my generation found something in him appealing.
In a June 2016 article from the Washington Post, Aaron Blake stated,

“In the 2016 campaign, Sanders won more votes among those under age 30 than the two presumptive major-party presidential nominees combined.  And it wasn’t close.”

In fact, reports show that young people below the age of 30 voted as much as 29% (and the number rose as the months progressed) more for Bernie Sanders than for both Clinton and Trump combined.

According to an article from Time Magazine,

“A recent survey of 1,000 Americans aged 18 to 26 found that he is the most respected political figure, and that more would prefer to have dinner with him than Beyonce, Kanye West and Justin Bieber.”

What’s wrong with the Millennial generation’s affection for Bernie Sanders?  Let’s attempt to answer this question – at least in part – by looking closer at these three additional questions:

1) Why Do Millennials Love Bernie Sanders?
2) What Does He Believe?
3) What’s The Big Deal?

Why Do Millennials Love Bernie Sanders?

Two things that have been cited as drawing factors for the Millennial crowd are authenticity and progressivism.  In the minds of millennials, and apparently others, Bernie Sanders has both.  Millennials have stated that they feel his track record spoke for itself – over 40 years of sticking to the same principles (what those principles are is another matter altogether!).  As an article on states,

“Millennials are also a massively progressive generation.  Frank Luntz, the top conservative pollster, says this generation is so liberal it should frighten political leaders.  Sanders is as progressive as they are, but not because he crafted a slick political message to appeal to the younger generation.  It’s because he is a true progressive who believed in these principles even when they were horribly out of fashion.  He fought for them not out of expediency but out of conviction.  That’s the thing about authenticity — you can’t fake it.”

What Does He Believe?

Bernie Sanders is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.  In a book he coauthored in 1997 called Outsider in the House, he is quoted as saying, “Bill Clinton is a moderate Democrat.  I’m a democratic socialist.”

What is a democratic socialist?  According to,

“The key difference between socialism and democratic socialism is that democratic socialists don’t want the government to own the means of production and socialists do.  They believe that certain general social goods like health care should be run by the government, but otherwise support capitalism.”

An article from the Huffington Post explains,

“…True socialism would replace the capitalist economy we live in now and replace it fully with a socialist one.  While this is the dream of Marxists and socialists everywhere, this is not the plan under democratic socialism.  Democratic socialism would instead put more restrictions on corporations and owners.  This would include limitations on how much money a CEO can make compared to their employees, and granting employees more rights and higher minimum wage…

“…Democratic socialists have historically rejected the belief that the economy should be centrally planned (a centrally-planned economy is a socialist keystone belief).  Instead, democratic socialism believes that some parts of society may be better if they are democratically planned: mass transit, medical care, minimum wage, etc.  Democratic socialism still believes the capitalist market is best for consumer goods and services…

“….When Sanders announced he was running for President, he switched his party from Independent to Democrat, and many wondered why a socialist would run as a Democrat.  Yet, what many didn’t understand was that Democratic Socialism is not a party in itself it is an ideology that actually exists inside the Democratic Party.

“Democratic socialists only hope to strengthen the party by improving upon issues the nation faces today such as healthcare, college tuition, and a strengthened social safety net.”

In an interview on from 2006 when Bernie Sanders was running for senator, he is quoted as saying:

“In terms of socialism, I think there is a lot to be learned from Scandinavia and from some of the work, very good work that people have done in Europe.  In countries like Finland, Norway, Denmark, poverty has almost been eliminated.  All people have healthcare as a right of citizenship.  College education is available to all people, regardless of income, virtually free.  I have been very aggressive in trying to move to sustainable energy.  They have a lot of political participation, high voter turnouts.  I think there is a lot to be learned from countries that have created more egalitarian societies than has the United States of America.”

An article from quotes Bernie Sanders,

“…’I think it means the government has got to play a very important role in making sure that as a right of citizenship, all of our people have health care; that as a right, all of our kids, regardless of income, have quality childcare, are able to go to college without going deeply into debt; that it means we do not allow large corporations and moneyed interests to destroy our environment; that we create a government in which it is not dominated by big money interest.  I mean, to me, it means democracy, frankly.  That’s all it means.  And we are living in an increasingly undemocratic society in which decisions are made by people who have huge sums of money.  And that’s the goal that we have to achieve.’”

Our school systems are brain washing our youth into thinking that socialist ideologies are good.  That’s one reason why so many of the millennial generation are ready to accept politicians like Bernie Sanders with open arms.

An article from The Blaze gives some interesting insight into this,

“The trend toward socialism was especially apparent during the Occupy Wall Street Movement which epitomized the principles of socialism.  Calls for equality, liberty, and solidarity of the collective, were frequently championed over the individual.

“At the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement, it was found that among 18-29 year olds, 49 percent claimed to have a positive view of socialism as compared to 46 percent with positive views of capitalism.  Additionally, this same age group had a 43 percent negative view of socialism as compared to 47 percent with negative views of capitalism.”

What’s The Big Deal?

It’s obvious there are many issues facing our country, but how you go about fixing them is important.  Even though democratic socialism may sound good at the outset and appears “better” than flat out socialism, the move toward tyranny is a slippery slope. Giving up liberty for temporary ease or supposed security is never a good idea.

One concept that seems all but forgotten nowadays is that nothing is ever truly free. Someone has to pay for it.  Government-run welfare programs and “free” benefits only last so long.

As Daniel pointed out in his article regarding Greece a few weeks ago, we can let history speak for itself,

“Just as the Greek economy was growing, so too was the flabby excess of government bureaucracy.  The Greek government spent millions of dollars that it didn’t have, and over 50% of the GDP (gross domestic product) was welfare spending.  This is exactly what the socialist dream consists of: a massive government spending of other people’s money.  The Greeks took out massive loans, clueless of how they would repay them.  True, this wasn’t the purest form of socialism (because it wasn’t taxing everything from its own civilians), but it was certainly using someone else’s money to buy extravagance.

“The Greeks, far from using their economic prosperity with moderation, fell for the bait.  They began to demand, and gain, more and more government benefits.  They lost the ability to conceive of a government that doesn’t provide excessive welfare…

“…In 2015, the crisis reached a breaking point.  The Greeks had to pay part of their debt, and they couldn’t do it.  The big banks and creditors of Europe offered them bailouts, but only with an expensive string: raise taxes, cut benefits, and drain the coffers of the Greek citizens.”

We’ve been talking a lot about democratic socialism which is a sort of mid-way point between a straight up democracy and socialism.  However, it is important to remember that contrary to what is often taught today, the United States of America wasn’t founded as a democracy, but as a democratic republic (with emphasis on the republic). This was something our founders were very insistent upon as being the best way to preserve liberty.

“We are now forming a Republican form of government.  Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.  If we incline too much to democracy we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of a dictatorship.” ~ Alexander Hamilton

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

“Remember, democracy never lasts long.  It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.” ~ John Adams

Whether we’re dealing with pure democracy or democratic socialism, in the end it’s really the same.  As I mentioned earlier, the move towards tyranny and loss of freedoms is a slippery slope.  Do we really want to go down that path?

In an article from, John Eberhard, quoting James Quinn (a financial writer and senior director of strategic planning for a major university) writes,

“The following quote attributed to Scottish history professor Alexander Tyler in 1787, seems to portray an accurate reflection of what has occurred during our 200+ years of existence as a democracy.

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years.  During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

-From bondage to spiritual faith;
-From spiritual faith to great courage;
-From courage to liberty;
-From liberty to abundance;
-From abundance to complacency;
-From complacency to apathy;
-From apathy to dependence;
-From dependence back into bondage

“These words were written two years before George Washington became our first President.  There is so much truth in these words it makes me shudder, especially since we are clearly in stage 7.  An honest appraisal of our country’s downward spiral is necessary to begin the process of redemption.  We have continually voted ourselves increased benefits, dependent upon the printing presses of the Federal Reserve to sustain our country’s ponzi scheme.  We have pawned our future and the bill will eventually come due.”

As the Time Magazine article I quoted earlier stated,

“Whether young Sanders supporters win the battle this time is unforeseen, but we will win the war.”

This should be a sobering statement to us.  Unless we’re working to positively influence and reshape the thinking of our young people, our founding principles and true liberty could all too soon become a memory of the past.




-Photo Credit:

-More Young People Voted For Sanders than Trump and Clinton combined:

-The Real Reason Millennials Love Bernie Sanders:

-Why Millennials Love Bernie Sanders:

-Why Are So Many Millennials Supporting Bernie Sanders?:

-Interview with Bernie Sanders:

-Bernie Sanders on Socialism:

-5 Ways Democratic Socialism Isn’t What You Think:

-Socialism is Alive and Well in Your Child’s Public Education System:

-The Tytler Cycle Revisited

-YOUR Topics: Current Issues – Greece: A Socialist Success Story


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