Why are Young Voters Feeling the Bern?
This year was monumental for Independent voters in the state of Oklahoma. The reason being, this is the first time that they could vote in the primaries. However, they were only allowed to vote in the Democratic primaries. A lot of people that are around my age seem to either not be decided in who they are voting for because they hate all the candidates running, or they are really feeling the Bern. It isn’t just my friends either. Quite a few of the younger people that I have talked to are also fans of Bernie Sanders. Why is this though? Why are the younger people that care eligible to vote, voting for Sanders and not other candidates? There are several factors, so let’s take a look at some of those factors.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people assuming that since I have an education I should be well off financially compared to my peers that didn’t go to college or finish high school. Yes, I like my job a good 85% of the time. Most of that depends on what type of mood my boss is in. When you sit down to it I make, on a good day, what equates to about just over minimum wage an hour because I am a salaried worker. Despite living in Oklahoma where the cost of living is fairly low, I still do not make a living wage. How can I make over minimum wage an hour and complain when the minimum wages is sitting around $7.5ish per hour? The simple answer is that I have an education and education comes with these lovely things called Student Loans. Unless you are a freak of nature, or come from the stupidly wealthy 1% of the population, chances are extremely high that you or your parents will have to get these suckers should you choose to go to college. Student Loans are nightmares! They take a lot of time to pay off and my uncle who is a lawyer just recently finished paying of his and he is in his 50s. Yes, you read that correctly, he is a lawyer in his 50s and he just recently finished paying of his student loans. This means that most people, unless they managed to rise to the top 1% or win the lottery and use all that money on paying them back are stuck with these loans until they are later in life, if they ever get them payed off. On top of those dreaded Student Loans, you have insurance, car payments, bills, and living expenses which effectively leaves one in the red at the end of every paycheck, if they were even in the black to begin with. Many people around my age that aren’t married still live with their parents because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to survive. Take me for example, I still live with my parents and not by my choice. Believe me, if I could afford it, I wouldn’t live with my parents. Despite making over the minimum wage, I cannot afford to pay all my bills, insurance, and living expenses. I would be homeless within a week if I tried to do so. So whenever I have to house sit for my siblings, I take full advantage of it and will stay at their house for as long as I can so that I have some sense of having a home of my own. I get chewed out on a regular basis by people my parents age when I even make a mention that I wish I could get just a smidge of a raise so that I could at least start to get out on my own. My favourite things that have been thrown at me are “you just need to get a real job”, “well if you didn’t spend so much money on stupid things”, “if you wouldn’t eat out so much”, and “if you couldn’t afford to go to college then why did you go” and that is just to name a few. Frankly, my job is a real job and in the past it was quite an important one but since we live in a world of when it stops working, just throw it away and get a new whatever it is, there isn’t much need for a watch repair person anymore. Also, since there are those lovely translators, my job as a translator has been rendered almost obsolete. Thank God I didn’t become a cartographer like the stupid test I had to take in 10th grade told me I should be! If you follow my Instagram or Twitter and if you have been on this site for any length of time you will notice that I have a lot of pictures of food and recipes that I have posted. Those are posted frivolously. I do actually use those recipes and the pictures on my Instagram and Twitter are of food that I have made myself. I hardly ever takeout food and when I do it is because someone else has decided that I need to eat out for a change of pace. The “stupid things” that I buy are not really stupid when you think about it. I buy books to read and games to play and while those are considered a luxury item in 90% of the world, those luxury items are my escape from reality for a little while. Why do I need an escape from reality? Because I went to college to get an education that I was told would help get a job that would earn me enough money to live on. So far, it hasn’t. If I could go back and do everything over again, I wouldn’t have gone to college. I would have dropped out of high school and gone to the Vo-Tech in my city. I would never wish my financial situation on anyone and whose fault is that? I blame society. I blame the society we have in the United States for 99% of my problems. Like my peers, I was told by our society to go to college and that in getting my degree I would set myself up for success. What did I end up setting myself up for? It sure as hell wasn’t success. I set myself up for what has so far been a stress-filled life where I wake up every day and pray things will get better. Do they? Not really. I still have to go to work every day. Because I cannot get a job that will pay me a living wage despite having almost ten year as an administrative assistant I cannot live on my own or pay my own bills. I won’t lie and say that it doesn’t have an effect on me. It does. It does to all my friends that are in the exact same situation. It is stressful and sometimes the only form of escape that I have is the books I read and the games I play. If the stress becomes too much, I can imagine that some people would see suicide as a valid way out of their situation. How would you feel if you were in that situation? Think about it for a moment, not a good feeling is it? Depressing? Yep. That’s how people my age and younger feel almost every day.
So, what does this have to do with my generation voting for Bernie Sanders over other candidates? A lot actually when you really stop to think about it. If we went with a system that was similar to a European education system, where the state payed for students to go to college if they want to and being educated was seen as an asset to society, then things would probably be quite a bit better. If we went to a form of health care where people cared more about people and not the money because they got paid the same amount of money regardless of what kind of doctor they were and there weren’t any health insurance companies period we would also probably be quite a bit better off. I mean if you are sick, you can’t work and if you aren’t educated, you can’t get a job. Both of these are important. Now I’ve seen numerous people online, on my Facebook in particular, that gripe about “where is Bernie gonna get the money for all this ‘free’ stuff he is promising?”. Well, if you actually would take the time to read his platform you would know where exactly that money is coming from. In case you have not, let me give you the short answer. He plans on *gasp* actually taxing people in a fair way! Yep, that means the big boys, the top 1% of the population, the elite are going to get taxed the way that they should and if you are barely making minimum wage, well you are still going to get taxed, but it isn’t going to break you to do so. Mr. Sanders does make an excellent point, making minimum wage should be a living wage. People my age should not have to live with our parents or other family members when we are almost in our thirties. We should not have to feel like worthless garbage with no hope of ever being able to live a happy life. Call me a socialist if you want. Last time I checked, and that was earlier today actually, most people I have come across do not actually know what that word even means. I would rather feel happy and like my life was worth living than what how I feel about my life right now. People that are younger want Bernie Sanders as the next President because we want that change. We know that pretty much all politicians are big fat liars, but he is promising something that our country desperately needs and wants. Don’t complain about my generation being depressed and mopey and not having any hope for a good and happy life where we can actually live on the money we make at our jobs if we DON’T have that hope.
If Bernie Sanders gets elected will things get better? Well, they honestly can’t get much worse than what they are now. We’re in a sorry situation as it is and if we don’t get some things in place that are going to genuinely help the people that have gone to school and have jobs as well as help those who are trying to get jobs then things aren’t going to get better. People that are on welfare and unemployment need to be put on track to get back on their feet themselves. There are people that genuinely need that help and then you have people that are just mooching. That is the nature of the beast, but it is a necessity. For a while, I was the only source of income for my family. We needed it when my father was out of a job because of his knee surgery. He is back at work though and we no longer have to rely on unemployment benefits. I may be a conservative, but I’m more in the middle of the road. In all actuality, I don’t believe that a two party system can truly work. In my years that I have been able to vote, I have never voted a straight ticket. I won’t ever vote that way. I have voted for Democrats and I have voted for Independents. Unlike a lot of voters that I live around, I actually read the platform that the candidates stand on. As such, I vote for whoever I feel will do the best job. Frankly, I don’t favour any candidates that are really running. If I was voting for someone that I felt was going to do the most benefit to the most people it would be Bernie Sanders. Because, let’s face it, there are a lot more people that are under the age of 50 than there are over that age that need help getting on their feet. People my age are leaving this country on a rapid rate to go someplace that will actually help them get on their feet no matter the cost. We have people joining terrorist organizations for a way out of their current situation. There are people committing suicide because they want out and feel that there isn’t another way. Depression is running rampant in younger people because they can’t get a handle on their situation and feel like they are drowning in debt that they have no hope of ever paying back no matter how hard they try.
In short, the younger voters are going out and voting for Bernie Sanders because he is the best for the situation they are in. Whether or not he turns out to be a liar like most politicians has yet to be seen. So far he has a fairly good track record. He is promising things that the younger voters want and need. The younger voters don’t feel like they have any hope unless they vote for someone that is promising those things. Until the problems that our country has with deciding whether it wants to stay as a horribly broken democratic republic or move to a more socialized democracy or republic get fixed, the people that are in need are going to vote for the politician and for policies that are going to give them the help they need. If that means taxing the ever living daylights out of the big boys and breaking the banks by not bailing them out then so be it. Break them. No single person or company should be “too big to fail”. If they get so big that they cannot support themselves then let them fail. That is exactly what Bernie Sanders is wanting to do. Fix the things that are broken and help the people that need it the most in our country. It is those reasons that he has the support of so many young voters.