The Generational Dispute Over the ‘Safe’ Choice for PresidentRoundup
tags: Democratic Party, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, 2020 Election, Generation gap, social contract
David Austin Walsh is a PhD candidate at Princeton University. His dissertation is on the connections between the far right and the conservative movement.
The Depression was a way of life for me,” Chicago schoolteacher Elsa Poncelle told the legendary historian Studs Terkel during an interview in the late 1960s. “I thought it was going to be forever and ever and ever. That people would always live in fear of losing their jobs. You know, fear.”
Fear and insecurity prompted a wave of both grassroots organizing and federal action that transformed America during the Great Depression. By 1939, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal had committed the government to providing a minimum wage, old-age pensions through Social Security, jobs programs, and banking regulation; underwriting loans for homeowners; and providing protections for workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain. But the New Deal didn’t abolish capitalism in the United States, and even by its own standards, it often fell short: Neither Roosevelt nor his successor Harry Truman were able to pass a universal health coverage plan in the 1930s or 1940s.
But the lives of millions of Americans dramatically improved thanks to the New Deal, and when Roosevelt declared in his 1941 State of the Union address that everyone had the right to four basic freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear — he was making a broader case for liberal social democracy and the fundamental security it provides to all citizens.
This is the vision Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out in the 2020 Democratic primary, as pundits puzzle over how a 78-year-old man with a heart condition overwhelmingly captured the under-45 vote. In state after state, Sanders won over younger voters. In California, 63% of Millennials (voters born between 1980 and 1996) voted for Sanders; 18-to-24-year-olds — Generation Z — handed Sanders 72% of their vote. Vice President Joe Biden, by contrast, has received a negligible amount of the youth vote. Biden has won over young voters in only three states where exit polls are available: Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia (and only older Millennials in Virginia).
comments powered by Disqus
- Critical Race Theory Battle Invades School Boards — with Help from Conservative Groups
- The Rise and Fall of an American Tech Giant
- ‘Cynical and Illegitimate’: Higher-Ed Groups Assail Legislative Efforts to Restrict Teaching of Racism
- Congress Is Poised To Take Back Some Of Its War Powers From The President
- Racist Mural Puts Tate Galleries in a Bind
- Capitalism American-Style: A Financial History of the United States
- Event: History Matters with Annette Gordon-Reed, Historian & Author, “On Juneteenth” (Friday, June 18)
- The Freeing of the American Mind
- Lost Cause: 50 Years of the Drug War in Latin America
- Amazon’s Greatest Weapon Against Unions: Worker Turnover