Month: February 2016

Young Bernie Supporters: We’re Not “Liberal”

When will pollsters stop asking people — especially young people — how “liberal” they are? The Washington Post ran a story yesterday about how the younger voters in Iowa who went overwhelmingly for Sanders were surprisingly less liberal than one might have expected. Indeed, those who went hardest for Sanders weren’t those who considered themselves to be liberal, but “those calling themselves moderates or conservatives.” Among those aged 40 and older, Clinton’s margin against Sanders was largest with moderate and “somewhat liberal” Democrats, while Sanders performed best among the very liberal contingent. But that pattern is erased — or even reversed — among younger Democrats. Clinton lost younger voters by at least 40 percentage points, regardless of their ideological leaning, and the margin was actually largest (58 points) among those calling themselves moderates or conservatives. What’s wrong with this story and also the entrance poll (conducted by Edison Media Research) is that it fails to question the term liberal and what it conjures for young people. I’ll give you a hint: it means something very different …

Bernie Sanders and the emerging populist alignment

There’s a lot wrong with how pundits (among others) tend to talk about movements. They may say, for example, “Occupy Wall Street — what did it accomplish? It didn’t go anywhere. Where is it now?” And what they fail to see is that Occupy Wall Street was not about itself—was not about existing forever as a thing. The moment of Occupy Wall Street served to name crises that are still with us: unconscionable economic inequality and a political system that has been rigged to maintain the privilege, power, and concentrated wealth of the few, against the interests of the many. Solving these crisis was not the exclusive burden of occupiers in a public park in New York’s financial district; solving these crises is up to all of us. Along similar lines, “Is the movement fading?” is an imprecise and unhelpful question to ask about Black Lives Matter. We might instead inquire about the crises named by the movement: continuing anti-black racism in US society, police violence against communities of color, an out of control criminal …