First and foremost, I must start off by saying that I knew who Bernie Sanders was long before he announced that he was running for president. I guess you can say this is due to the fact that from a very young age, I have been interested in politics. I’ve followed every election closely for many years, voted in every single election since the day I became 18 years old, and in junior high school when all of the guys my age were into cars and sports, I was into politics, government, and elections. This would explain why I studied Justice Studies (a focus on social justice) and Political Science in college. I must also make it clear that I am a Millennial, a generation which researchers place as being born between the years of 1980 and 1995.
In this current election cycle, Millennials have come out in huge numbers to support Senator Bernie Sanders for president over Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Now, I supported Sanders since he announced his candidacy for president because he is much more aligned with my views then Clinton. But there is a reason as to why so many Millennials are flocking to support Sanders, and I didn’t even realize this until I heard it on a segment on the Ring of Fire radio program on WCPT out of Chicago. This not only explained why so many Millennials are behind Senator Sanders, but also allowed myself to see why I am behind him. I am going to share these reasons with you and I’m sure that many of my fellow Millennials will find that they agree. We are tired of the slow progress, we want that rapid change Obama promised us, and we believe Senator Sanders will deliver.
First, there is the issue of the economy. Under the Obama Administration, the economy has made a strong comeback and is stronger than it was at any point under the Administration of George W. Bush however; it is far weaker than it was at many periods throughout history. As Millennials, we find ourselves at the disadvantage of suffering from the mistakes and the greed of previous generations. When Reagan became president in 1980, he wasted no time in deregulating Wall St allowing not only greed in the financial capital of the world, but in the banking industry and in the corporate world as well. Reagan also gave the rich huge tax breaks which of course always means that the middle and lower classes are stuck with paying that extra burden. Presidents George HW Bush, Clinton, and George W Bush all further deregulated Wall St and gave tax cuts to the rich. Under Clinton, the economy was strong because of the Internet Bubble, but when that burst, the economy sank and the passing of NAFTA which was essentially corporate welfare, allowing for corporations to outsource jobs for cheap labor putting millions of Americans out of work, certainly did not help matters. TPP is NAFTA Asia which Senator Sanders opposes and Secretary Clinton refuses to give an opinion on. Finally, as Millennials, we find ourselves as the generation most impacted now and in the future from George W Bush’s trillions of dollars spent on war in the Middle East, especially in Iraq which we know was a war based entirely on lies. Our generation will be paying that off. With that said, Bernie Sanders supports regulating Wall St once again and taxing the rich and not giving them breaks and loopholes which allow them to not only pay far less then working class people, but also would prevent them from hiding money overseas so that it cannot be taxed. That is why so many Millennials support Senator Sanders on economic issues. Secretary Clinton seems reluctant to regulate Wall St and tax the rich. She also seems hesitant to make a stand against the Citizens United ruling which Senator Sanders opposes and intends on overturning. In my opinion, this is because Secretary Clinton has too many ties to those institutions and does not want to upset some of her largest donors and supporters. Millennials do not want another crash like we had 2008, and preventing Wall St and banking greed, would prevent such a crash.
Secondly, there is the matter of college tuition which has skyrocketed over the past several decades. Millennials are hit hard by this as well, for we now hold more college loan debt than any other generation in history since the college loan program came to be in the 1960’s. We currently hold approximately 3.1 trillion dollars in student loan debt, and the default rate on those student loans continues to climb because we are having trouble finding jobs in our fields of study and are forced to not only be stuck working low paying jobs, but find ourselves unable to pay back our loans and buy houses, cars etc. We are stuck living at home and not contributing to the economy or all that much to society. Senator Sanders not only wants to make college education free as it is in pretty much every country in the Western Hemisphere especially Europe, but he wants to at least start off by making community college free. He also wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour which is still not exactly a living wage but is much better than the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Clinton has stated that she would not raise the minimum wage to more than $12 an hour and doesn’t agree with free college. As Millennials, we want good paying jobs in our fields of study, we want a minimum wage that we can live on, we want to move out of our parents’ homes and buy our own houses, and contribute to society. We want this future for our children. We can have that under a Sanders Administration, and we can pay for it as Senator Sanders has said by taxing the rich, taxing the corporations, and by taxing Wall St speculation. Secretary Clinton will tell you that Senator Sanders has no way of paying for this, let alone a plan, but I just gave you his plan which he himself has stated, it is also available on his website. We also want free health care like every other major, industrialized country offers their citizens and again, we pay for it through the above mentioned ways. The Affordable Care Act was a start, but let’s face it. The ACA allows a handful of major insurance corporations to not only dictate the market but to control the prices. This allows them to raise prices and premiums just because they feel like it, and the pharmaceutical companies intentionally raise prices, not caring what impact it has on the middle class and the poor in order to make themselves wealthy. Senator Sanders believes that this is wrong as do many Millennials, but Secretary Clinton seems to be okay with the current corporate dominated system.
Finally, there is this whole matter of Sanders claiming that he is not part of the establishment. I have to say that he is, for he has been in politics for 30 plus years, when you are in politics, you are a part of the establishment whether you like it or not. What I believe Senator Sanders means when he says that he is not part of the establishment is that he is not one who goes along with the crowd, as Secretary Clinton always seemed to do in her political career. Senator Sanders has stood against Wall St, the Federal Reserve, stood up to Goldman Sachs, and criticized our country rushing into war and getting involved in quagmires. Secretary Clinton has supported our rush to war, has received massive campaign contributions from Wall St, has never stood up to the Federal Reserve, and has been paid massive amounts of money to give speeches to firms such as Goldman Sachs, and she refuses to release the transcripts of these speeches. This is really making us wonder. Secretary Clinton, when she was a Senator supported the Iraq War and continues to support having large number of Americans troops on the ground in the Middle East. Senator Sanders voted against the Iraq War and does not support having a large number of American troops fighting the battles of the Middle Eastern nations, but instead supports the idea of having enough of a presence to train the troops of these countries to fight their own battles. Too many Millennials have seen somebody who we went to high school with go off to one of these unjust wars of this century and come home in a body bag, and we’re not entirely happy. We also want green technology for the planet has been heavily damaged by the years and years of using fossil fuels, and we are the generation that is stuck with that burden for decades to come.
These are the reasons that so many Millennials support Sanders over Clinton for president. We believe that he is for us and for the working class, while Clinton supports more of a corporate America. I do not want you to think that I will not vote for Secretary Clinton if she gets the nomination, because I will vote for her. Even though I think we will be better under a President Bernie Sanders than a President Hillary Clinton, we would be better of with either of these two than we would under any potential Republican candidate, for they would allow HUGE tax breaks for the rich, for the corporations, and would continue to wage unjust wars throughout the world. Not to mention that the progress that we have made over these past eight years will washed away in a matter of seconds under a Republican president, along with a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body, and the Christian religion being forced down our throats, undermining our Constitutional right to freedom of religion. So, I want my fellow Millennials and everybody else to continue to support Senator Sanders or at least consider it, and if he doesn’t get the nomination, do vote for Secretary Clinton because a Republican president is not going to be in the least bit interested in our generation or in our generation’s future. Also, vote in every election, a president is powerless if he or she doesn’t have a Congress to back them up as we have seen with the Republicans refusing to even negotiate with President Obama to make even the smallest amount of progress. VOTE VOTE VOTE AND MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL VOTE INFORMED.