By Kara Johnson
Over the past few years, socialism has become an ideology that has become more popular among young people than ever before in American history. According to a Gallup poll 1 taken in 2019, socialism is as popular, if not more than capitalism. Gallup states that positive ratings for socialism have neared 50% among young adults. This upward trend has been steadily going up since 2012, but made a real spike in 2018. The positive thinking toward this economic structure is predicted to continue to rise.
What can explain why socialism is so appealing to young adults today?
Part of this answer lies in the cultural popularity of the term. Another part of the answer lies in equality. Young people strive for equal opportunity for everyone, especially economic opportunity, and for them, capitalism doesn’t provide this equality but instead provides greed and power. According to the Chicago Mag, economic inequality is the highest it has been in nearly a century. Now that economic inequality is at its highest rate, young people are starting to believe socialism is the right way toward a better America. 2
Young people are also the most ardent supporters of Bernie Sanders. If they believe that they have it harder than their parents to pay off student loan debt and live the American dream, the support of Sanders and his presidential run in 2016 and 2020 makes sense. For many young voters, Sanders is refreshing and reassuring that they are able to survive economically and have equal opportunity. He supports raising taxes for the wealthy, gives young people hope for free college and no student debt, and free healthcare for all. 3 According to the Atlantic, Sanders said, “They got an education and worked hard. 4 But instead of being rewarded, Millennials are now being punished with crushing student debt.” Young people are drawn to what he hopes for the future, especially with education and student loan debt.
While the older generation is pro-capitalism, the younger (ages 18-29) are fighting hard for a socialistic future in America where things are free, everything is equal, and where the government has more power in society. Whatever has appeared to work in the past from social norms to economic stability, young people believe it has been shattered by modern American capitalism. This is why Sanders and socialistic ideas appeal to so many. Young people applauded Sanders when he said, “If we don’t fundamentally transform our economy, we are facing—for the first time in the history of this country—the possibility that our young people will suffer a worse future than their parents had.” 5 While Sanders isn’t a presidential candidate in the upcoming election, young voters are still fighting and holding onto hope that socialism is their future.
Kara's Blog: Black Coffee at Midnight
Kara Johnson finished her Bachelor's degree in Communications at Moody Bible Institute-Spokane in 2014. Since then, she has become a firm defender of truth, faith, capitalism, and patriotism. Her fight for American policies is evident throughout her writing and online presence. She is a contributing writer for The Rogue Review and The Human Defense Initiative, while also working to consistently update her personal blog Black Coffee At Midnight about faith, issues, and life's journey.