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Here’s why millennials are ready to go socialist

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Younger Americans are more likely to support a socialist political candidate and their views are capitalism are significantly more negative than older Americans, according to a poll conducted by YouGov for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

The poll found that just 50 percent of millennials, or people born between 1981 and 1996, have a positive opinion of capitalism, while 70 percent said they would be somewhat or extremely likely to vote for a socialist candidate. The number of millennials who said they would be “extremely” likely to back a socialist candidate doubled from 10 percent last year to 20 percent in 2019.

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Generation Z, or those born between 1997 and 2012, also have severe qualms with capitalism. Just 49 percent of Generation Z respondents expressed a positive view of capitalism while 64 percent said they would vote for a socialist candidate. The poll only sampled Americans over the age of 16.

Older generations of Americans have a significantly different outlook.

Nearly 60 percent of Generation X respondents, or those born between 1965 and 1980, said they have a positive view of capitalism while 44 percent said they would support a socialist candidate.

More than 60 percent of baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, expressed a positive opinion of capitalism and just 36 percent said they would vote for a socialist.

Nearly 80 percent of the “silent generation,” meaning older adults born between 1925 and 1945, said they had a positive view of capitalism and just 33 percent said they would support a socialist candidate.

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The poll data shows that younger generations do not view socialism through the same negative lens as older Americans, many of whom lived through the Cold War era. The data is backed up by the support candidates like Bernie Sanders have received. Though Hillary Clinton dominated Sanders among older voters in the 2016 primary, Sanders won more primary votes from Americans under 30 than Clinton and Donald Trump combined.

But it isn’t just the appeal of a specific candidate that is driving the changing attitudes among young voters. The poll found that young people are less likely than older generations to believe that America’s economic system is “working for them.” Nearly 40 percent of millennials described the United States as one of the most unequal societies in the world.

The trends could have a significant impact on the 2020 elections. Millennials and Generation Z are expected to make up 37 percent of the electorate next year, according to a study by Pew Research. Generation Z is expected to make up more than 10 percent of the electorate, surpassing the silent generation for the first time.

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As the electorate grows younger, it is also growing more diverse. While white voters make up more than 80 percent of boomer voters and 70 percent of Generation X voters, they make up just 61 percent of millennial voters and about half of Generation Z voters, according to Pew.

Younger voters have also grown more engaged. More than 30 percent of eligible voters under 30 voted in last year’s midterm elections, the highest percentage since 1994.

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These generations have also grown up in an era in which economic inequality has continued to climb and wages have barely moved despite sustained economic growth. Younger Americans are increasingly burdened with sky-high college debt (doubling since the 2008 recession) and now face potential future job losses due to automation. This trend has continued as the top 1 percent continue to accumulate more wealth.

Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, blamed the poll results on the “historical amnesia” of young people, who Smith said are under-educated about the violence and failures of communist regimes.

Entrepreneur Ryan Bethencourt countered that he does not view the poll results as some millennial embrace of communism.

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“My view on the term socialism has evolved into a more nuanced perspective with 70% of millennials saying they would vote socialist,” he wrote. “I don’t view it as wanting communism but that they want affordable healthcare, education and housing.”

Oliver Willis, a writer at Shareblue Media, expressed surprise that the poll numbers weren’t even more in favor of socialism, given that many young people came of age in the aftermath of the 2007-8 financial crisis.

“Millennials have come of age during an era in which under-regulated capitalism nearly destroyed the global economy and those people were bailed out and nobody went to jail,” he wrote. “I’m surprised the support for socialism isn’t higher.”


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2020 Election

‘Love letter to capitalism and war’: Progressive scorn follows New York Times endorsement

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The newspaper's endorsement of both Warren and Klobuchar, said one critic, reveals "so much about the liberal reaction to a resurgent left, a reaction that holds Trump as an aberration and polite, well-mannered centrism as the greatest virtue."

A flood of criticism has been directed at the New York Times overnight and into Monday following its dual endorsement of Democratic presidential candiates Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren after a week of self-promoted hype over its process.

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2020 Election

Trump’s election was white America’s vicious backlash to black success: author

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Once, appearing on ESPN to discuss the controversy of Colin Kaepernick not voting, I suggested that instead of his abstinence disqualifying his say on the American situation, perhaps he had gone "full dissident" and recognized the accepted framework of sociopolitical involvement—the ride-alongs with cops, the listening to candidates owned by money, the insistence that deliberate, institutional racism is just a misunderstanding still unsorted—and found them useless. I further argued that if he saw an unredeemed, corrupt system as the problem, there was no reason for him to trust in it and even less reason to expect him to participate in it.Excerpted from "Full Dissidence: Notes From an Uneven Playing Field" by Howard Bryant. Copyright 2020. Excerpted with permission by Beacon Press.Full dissidence may or may not have applied to Kaepernick, but it certainly felt personal. The thoughts were neither new nor revelatory, certainly not to me or any black person who reaches a certain age, a certain rage or breaking point, but they were nevertheless true: Donald Trump's installation as president was a proud and unhidden repudiation of the nation's first black president, and no matter how many attempts at misdirection toward economic anxiety or some other, greater complex phenomenon, some element of taking back proprietorship of the country had appealed to an overwhelming number of white people who voted for him. With Trump's lies and distortions normalized by an overmatched, often complicit free press, the writer Michiko Kakutani referred to his presence as "the death of truth." Dozens of books followed along similar themes regarding the decline of standards and accountability, but underneath so much of the apparent discontent, from Charleston to Charlottesville, is an anti-blackness, a reminder of to whom the country belongs. This was a reclaiming.I do not say this hyperbolically, but Trump's election felt like a repudiation of a half century of black assimilation and aspiration to integration, of lifetimes of relationships, and of strategies and choices to better navigate the maze of white America. It didn't feel personal. It was personal. Something was dying, though at first I could scarcely pinpoint what, since I did not possess previously any great belief in this country's commitment to black equality, either on a state or personal level. In other words, I was already down following the election but I did not have far to fall.But whatever lack of faith I may have possessed in the colorblind, Utopian future, millions of black families did believe in it, and they risked their children to the aspirational pathways, whether rooted in the Christian ethics of kindness and compassion or in the possibilities of education. Central to that belief was the strategy of moving their families away into hostile white communities of Milwaukee and Long Island, placing their children into hostile school systems in Boston or Denver, for the purpose of better. Acceptance. Citizenship. This was the endgame to the faith, and the twin acts of the triumph of the Obama presidency, the Trump corrective, and the proud amorality that followed killed it.
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2020 Election

Rep. Pramila Jayapal endorses Bernie Sanders for president

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Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president on Sunday—the latest high-profile endorsement for 2020 Democratic candidate.

"What I feel we need is a candidate who is entirely authentic about what's wrong and steadfast about it and can rally people to believe he can trust them," Jayapal told the Washington Post on Sunday. "Bernie has that. I can feel Bernie beating Trump."

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