Monday, June 20, 2016

The Future of America

NY Times June 19 2016

What can we learn about the future of America from the Sander’s campaign?

The support of American young people for  2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was astounding. Poll numbers varied with the date.

In one poll among Democrats, 70% of those under age 30 supported Sanders (IBT). In fact, in another poll, Sanders had more support than the combination of Clinton and Trump (Washington Post).

Given this high level of support, it makes sense to understand the ironic appeal of this older candidate (age 74) to younger voters. The list varies of course but common findings are his perceived authenticity and idealism.

 Bernie offerered hope in the midst of life’s anxieties like affording a college education and finding a job.

Here’s five ideas I’ve picked up from reading about Sanders and his supporters.

Honesty is hard to prove but the troublesome statements and history of the two leading candidates  registered with educated young Americans. Sanders has a long history of consistency on key topics. That give him some serious cred among those who share his values.

"Forward looking" is the phrase one supporter mentioned. Again, ironically given his age in contrast to the age of most supporters, Sander's portrayed a vision of the future. 

Good leaders know about vision-casting and Sander's vision is for a more peaceful and friendlier society.
Educated young Americans support outrage against an unjust society. Like Sanders, they are skeptical of Wall Street, Big Corporations, Military Industrial Complex, Big Pharma, and political posturing.

Educated young Americans are more tolerant of human diversity. Sanders is a man who supported marginalized Americans. He’s been consistent in his pursuit of economic justice.

Educated young Americans care about others’ needs. Sanders offerered a view of socialism that makes sense. He’s not about that scary old road to communism that had kids from the 50s hiding under their desks to avoid nuclear destruction.

Sander’s is about justice as fairness in economic and social policy. It’s like saying love your neighbor or we are all Americans or even more inclusive of the world, “We are all people.” Idealistic? True, but it is the idealism of millions and it stands in contrast to the harsh politics of hate.

Sanders did not win his party's nomination but he did win the a generation.

In the long run, he may have won the future of America.

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