Forget the showmanship apparent at last week’s Republican debates. The pomp, circumstance and condemnation of the Obama era has left millennial voters exhausted and ready to opt out of the 2016 election over a year ahead of schedule. And can you blame them? Primed by the vicious anti-W. demonstrations, millennials associate nothing but derision, deadlock and executive order with the presidency. All that and, perhaps, the bitter sauciness of Veep (if only we could elect Elaine for Prez). Eight years later they’re dead tired of being broke and living in their parents’ basements. Which is probably why these young voters aren’t exactly role models for the up-and-coming electorate. Their vision of hope and change may have less to do with party politics and more to do with political compromise. Which is why, scarily enough, Bernie Sanders is campaigning right up their alley.
It was shocking enough to learn that Liberty University intentionally invited the socialist to speak before its student body. Maybe they thought Sanders would call their bluff and create some anti-Christian, anti-right-wing press that would bode in their favor. But the guy is too smart for that. What’s the one thing he’s doing that no other political candidate can manage? He’s working to cross the aisle by replacing Obama’s misery-mug with the smiling, friendly old man face of socialism. It’s charming. It’s refreshing. It’s dangerous.
But, these kids don’t understand how socialism has bankrupted this nation. They see healthcare for everyone, not skyrocketing insurance rates and doctors bailing out of their profession. Gay marriage is about love, not the gross expansion of federal power over the states and individual rights. This is the Instagram generation: If it looks good, it sells. In the sea of candidates sparring against one another with the same old lackluster slogans or, worse yet, strategic policy logic, Sanders presents a refreshingly old-timey progressive picture of how America ought to be. If the choice is between Donald Trump and your grand dad, Grandpa wins every time.
Republican candidates would be wise to study Sanders’ logic. My own mother-in-law, an avowed leftist/socialist said that the only real person in the Republican debates was Ben Carson. His policies might not have pleased her, but his personality did. My own mother has often quoted, “it’s your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.. When it comes to 2016, attitude may be what wins the race.