Is the youth vote socialist? Compare party affiliation and you’ll see young people are far more Democrat than Republican; push further and their affinity for Bernie Sanders, the avowed socialist in the Dem presidential field, becomes apparent.
Or is it? Break down the vote, and millennials are, more than anything, independents. Additionally, support for socialist candidates can be explained by focus on issues that disproportionately affect young people, like free college and a higher minimum wage. Aside from those policy positions, though, youth support for socialist precepts and candidates fades away. For example, Bernie Sanders supports federal regulation of the internet and opposes Uber. Meanwhile, millennials overwhelmingly oppose federal internet control and support Uber.
More than anything, it would appear that the younger generations lean libertarian. But not in traditional, Ron Paul-esque, Constitutionalist flavor with the language of the Bill of Rights, tax and spending cuts, and pro-capitalist deregulation. It boils down to one simple concept: don’t touch our tech. By and large, young people believe in freedom, choice, and independence, as filtered through the reality of their rapidly-changing world.
This is great news for fans of liberty for a couple of reasons. First, it displays that, rather than embracing freedom because of acceptance of a pre-established narrative, youth are reaching their own conclusions that they want to be free. And second, they adopt a libertarian approach to newer challenges and technologies, which are much more likely to be the issues that the society of the future must deal with. After all, which is more beneficial to liberty in the long run: a people with a strong understanding of, and affinity for, the gold standard, or for bitcoin? Which governmental restraint will become more pertinent to the future: a minimum hourly wage, or an internet sales tax? What should the citizens of tomorrow really be paying attention to: Ron Paul’s advice on adherence to the Constitution, or Edward Snowden’s counsel on encryption and personal privacy?
Bernie Sanders, socialist presidential candidate and purported youth darling, has amassed 772,000 Twitter followers over the past six years. Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower and political refugee extraordinaire, gained over twice that in less than a week. As Snowden himself tweeted, “Uncovering mass surveillance is starting to look like a viable social media strategy.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a truer sign of the times.
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