Did you see all those “young people” caucusing for Bernie Sanders in Iowa yesterday? Most looked to be around 18-23, right? Very enthusiastic. Trying to convert other voters to come with the Sanders group, talking about how Bernie wants to give everyone free healthcare and free college. Inspiring, huh?
But you know what? They have no memory of the last eight years.
Do the math. Some of them were just 11 in 2009-2010 when the battle for the ACA was fought. Others were maybe 13 or 15. Well, I have an 18-year-old son, and because he’s my son, he’s exposed to a ton of cable news coverage and dinner table conversations about current events. And even he didn’t get what’s going on in the world until the last half year or so.
Now let me add a caveat here. I know that a lot of people older than 25 support Sanders – even people in their 50s and above. But the news media made a specific point of how many of Sanders’ Iowa voters were under-25, as if that proves some great failing of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Well, I happen to like the fact that the bulk of her supporters were 40 and older. I like that she kicked his ass in that demographic. I’m not criticizing Sanders for attracting young voters. I’m just saying that young voters are not the only important voices in this primary season.
Those bright-faced idealistic college kids you saw last night – who were 11-13 during the first years of the Obama Administration – haven’t the slightest idea how hard incredibly hard it was to pass the watered-down ACA, or to let the Bush tax cuts lapse, or to even get congressional votes on infrastructure bills or social program bills of any kind. They did not really live through the the Obama Administration. Oh, they were alive…but they didn’t experience it like we did.
Why am I supposed to be impressed that college students think Sanders is the better candidate? Their world view started in, ohh, about 2012-2014. They don’t know what we know. They don’t understand how impossible it would be to pass free college for all, or to raise the top marginal tax rate to 52%, or to impose a massive tax on Wall St. speculation, or to re-litigate the healthcare debate. They think all they have to do is vote for Bernie, and things will all fall into place.
Yeah, maybe we “older people” are too jaded and cynical to Feel the Bern. So go ahead, make your “get off my lawn” jokes and tell me that I don’t get it or time has passed me by. I’ll still proudly cast my lot with the voters who remember the world before the iPhone 5. Because a lot of important stuff happened during iPhones 1-4.