Millennials are ‘feeling the Bern’

Many college students find Sanders a more trustworthy than Clinton

By Ashley Summerfield

The 2016 Presidential race has put a new twist on politics with the help of some radical candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, a Vermont Senator and Democratic Socialist, is polling closely with Hillary Clinton and recently defeated her in the New Hampshire Primary.

Much of his recent success is in part due to the support of Millennials.

“He is a champion of true democracy,” said senior pre-med major John Fredricks. “He wants all Americans to participate in the political process.”

Sanders’ radical views have attracted modern liberals from across the country.  His Socialist background has sparked interest of a new group of voters.

Followers of Sanders seem to be enthusiastic and loyal on social media.  Supporters post and promote the slogan “Feel the Bern,” and some have even gone to extremes like tattooing Sanders’ face on their bodies.  An abundance of Bernie memorabilia is also being manufactured and sold throughout the country, online, and in specialty shops.

“He appeals to the youth population because he is identifying with our struggles,” said Fredricks.

The following that Sanders has gained has helped with the interest level of the campaign in general.  Many members of the youth population have now registered to vote, in efforts to help Sanders gain the Democratic nomination.  This has the potential to increase youth voter turnout, similar to the 2008 Presidential election with President Barack Obama.

Millennial Underground, a culture blog, credits Sanders’ success to the fact that the youth feels that he, “tells the truth.”  They go on to say that followers are drawn to the fact that Sanders is the underdog.

His grassroots campaign has gained the support of the youth and “hip” generation, ranging from about 18-29 year olds.  This is a powerful group to have supporting a particular candidate due to the current affect social media has on campaigns.

Sanders also addresses the cost of higher education and uses his ideas to decrease this as a foundation of his campaign.

“He realizes we’re not just a bunch of lazy kids and we don’t deserve to be in debt for decades for wanting higher education,” said Fredericks.

Sanders stance on environmental issues also draws followers.  Fredricks said that this is one of the many ways that Sanders has stood out to him.

“He is one of the few candidates who is able to recognize the severity of climate change,” said Fredricks.  “He is willing to do something about it so that our children don’t suffer from our mistakes.”

As the Democratic nomination narrows down to the two frontrunners, Sanders and Clinton, Sanders is beginning to get ahead.

Clinton has struggled throughout her campaign with her appeal to the youth voters.  Fredricks said that one major distinguishing factor for him is that Sanders has a “sense of integrity” that he does not see in Clinton.

Fredricks showed concern with Clinton when considering her history.

“I think it’s just too hard for America to trust her again,” said Fredricks.

Looking back to the 2008 election, experts credit Obama’s success to the youth voter turnout.  Sanders is showing the potential to bring the same results, in terms of the youth going out to the polls on Election Day.

The recent win in the New Hampshire Primary has brought even more energy to the Sanders campaign.

Sanders is a candidate to watch, especially if the youth turn out on Election Day.

Whether or not Ohio Millennials are “feeling the Bern” will be evident on March 15 when Ohio’s Primary election takes place.

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