Is Bernie Sanders the best candidate for millennials?

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Olivier Douliery // MCT Campus

Is America ready for a socialist president to run the country?

Liam Higgins, Staff Writer

Bernie Sanders has seen his poll numbers soar in recent months.  In fact, a large number of Millennials have switched their preferred candidate on the Democratic side from Hillary Clinton over to Sanders.

In a poll conducted by The Chief, 34% of eighty three surveyed Massapequa High School seniors supported Bernie Sanders as President, compared to a mere 6% of those who supported Hillary Clinton. So why do millennials have such widespread support for Sanders?

Sanders has has been widely regarded as a “populist” candidate because his policies appeal to average Americans. This populist way of thinking is described by Sanders and many political pundits as “Democratic Socialism.”

“I think Democratic Socialism is an intriguing prospect. If more people listened to [Bernie] Sanders and took him more seriously as a candidate, I feel as if he is both electable and appealable,” junior Holden Valentine said.

This is most prominent in his plan for college education. Sanders has introduced a comprehensive plan to make specific colleges tuition-free. Under this plan, public universities would be free. According to CNBC, “The high levels of student debt are also serving to perpetuate and even worsen economic inequality, undercutting the opportunity and social mobility that higher education has long promised.” This aspect of Sanders particularly appeals to millennials, as many attend college in order to gain valuable experience that may help them in a future career.

“In Germany, Scandinavia, and many other countries, higher education is either free or very inexpensive. We must do the same,” Sanders said recently.

Massapequa students support Sanders’ plan for free public education. “Free public college tuition allows those who can’t afford education to get educated and increases social mobility and makes our economy more efficient,” senior Tanner Knabe said.

However, some at MHS are a bit wary of this plan. “I think it would be cool [to offer free college], but it’s unrealistic and I’m not trying to pay like a million dollars in taxes,” senior Thomas Exposito said.

According to Sanders, this plan to fund public colleges would be paid for by taxes almost entirely on Wall Street. Millennials may support this aspect of his plan, as student debt has risen exponentially, especially in recent years where college can leave even upper-middle class Americans in severe debt— in fact, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, the average debt of college students in New York is 27,822 dollars.

“I feel like Bernie would be cool if he could make colleges free because a large number of people don’t go to college because it’s too expensive,” sophomore Jake Coyne said.

With Bernie Sanders’ plan, the only aspects of college that a student would need to pay for would be supplies and living. This would save each student tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars. Thus, more people would be able to enjoy the advantages of increased education.

“Education is key to the true understanding of humanity. The more education we get, the more changes are inevitable,” MHS English teacher Mrs. Christine Starr said.

In addition to the implementation of tuition-free public colleges, Bernie Sanders would assist millennials in their search for jobs.

Additionally, Sanders believes in the expansion of Social Security. His plan is intended to provide an incentive for older workers to retire, and ultimately free up jobs for younger people to occupy, a potentially appealing aspect to millennials.

Another issue that would pertain especially to younger people is climate change. Bernie Sanders contests that climate change is an incredibly real and increasing problem caused by human activity. Bernie Sanders wishes to drastically cut emissions from carbon and methane. He also wishes to turn to more environmentally-friendly forms of energy, such as solar energy and wind energy.

The ability of corporations to buy candidates essentially eliminates the voters’ power over their candidates because politicians will almost always follow the will of their donors.

Since Bernie Sanders receives all of his contributions from average Americans, and not “PACs,” political action committees, he focuses on representing middle and lower classes. Millennials may support Sanders over the frontrunner Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, because of this fact. In comparison to Sanders’ campaign, the majority of Hillary Clinton’s campaign is funded by large banks and Wall Street corporations. Sanders has accused her of being the “candidate of Wall Street.”

“I like Bernie Sanders because he has no major sponsors, meanwhile the other candidates are walking around like NASCAR drivers,” sophomore James Philippou said.

When it comes down to it, Sanders proposes measures that millennials deem attractive and, for this reason, he continues to be a frontrunning liberal candidate.

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