Malcolm Harris at Pacific Standard explains why young people have started voting for socialists – and why we shouldn’t confuse it for the reactionary anger of older voters.
Young people in the U.S. and the U.K. aren’t voting for socialists to make a point to their parents, and neither Sanders nor Corbyn can be plausibly cast as a rock-star messiah or a Trumpish demagogue leading the kids astray. Sanders isn’t charismatic enough to convince his immediate family what to order for takeout. The simplest explanation for this ideological turn is that the generation raised under neoliberalism doesn’t think it’s a very good way to run a country or a planet. There’s no shortage of evidence to support such a position — global warming, pointless war, vicious social inequality, etc. — and voting for a grouchy old socialist is an incredibly moderate, measured response. Characterizing it otherwise is rank hackery.