Kids love Bernie

I’m a little late on doing this post, but it is relevant as ever.  So, a few interesting takes on why young people are feeling the Bern so much.  First, Pew:

As you can see, Millenials are substantially more likely than to identify as liberal:

Whites, Millennials and postgrads are most likely among Democratic voters to say they are politically liberal

So, just on that fact alone, of course, we’d expect more Bernie support.  I also really like this take from Michael Tomasky:

Then in 1989, the Soviet Union collapsed. Through the 1990s, there were still a number of countries in the world that called themselves socialist. But that began to dwindle, and over these past 25 years, the memory of the distinction between liberalism and socialism has dwindled along with it. The evanescence of this memory has of course been accelerated by the roughly 89 kajillion hours of American talk radio in which any mildly left-of-center politician or proposal was reprehended as socialistic.

It all makes total sense. If you’re my age, you remember a time when the distinction between liberal and socialist mattered. If you were one or the other and lived in a place populated by many of both, you got into lots of beer-spittled arguments about the merits and demerits of each. And incidentally, you also remember a time when Bernie Sanders was this interesting, basically admirable, but only-in-Vermont mayor, and then later, this interesting, basically admirable, but for the most part inconsequential back-benching member of the House of Representatives.

But say you’re 28 and a liberal. All you know about socialists is that these eye-bulging racist vampires you see on TV keep calling Barack Obama a socialist. And you think, “Hey, I like Obama, so socialist is OK by me!” And remember that in his one big speech in which he defined what socialism means to him, Sanders—probably somewhat disingenuously, given that he chose to be a socialist rather than a liberal back when the differences were stark, but also wholly understandably—basically kinda said socialism to him means the stuff that Roosevelt did and free college and so on.

So, yeah, “socialism” means something totally different to people who did not grow up at a time when socialism was not far off from the ultimate evil– the communist menace.

And Nate Silver takes a similar stab:

Bernie Sanders proudly describes himself as a “socialist” (or more commonly, as a “democratic socialist”). To Americans of a certain age, this is a potential liability. I’m just old enough (38) to have grown up during the Cold War, a time when “socialist” did not just mean “far left” but also implied something vaguely un-American. If you’re older than me, you may have even more acutely negative associations with “socialism” and may see it as a step on the road to communism. If you’re a few years younger than me, however, you may instead associate “socialism” with the social democracies of Northern Europe, which have high taxes and large welfare states. Sweden may not be your cup of tea, but it isn’t scary in the way the USSR was to people a generation ago.

Indeed, views of socialism are highly correlated with a voter’s age. According to a May 2015 YouGov poll, conducted just before Sanders launched his campaign, a plurality of voters aged 18 to 29 had a favorable view of socialism. But among voters 65 and older, just 15 percent viewed socialism favorably, to 70 percent unfavorably.

I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but that does seem to be an interesting part of the story.

Trump and Evangelicals

Although it is ignored by the media more often than not, not all Evangelical voters are defined by their religion, just like not all African-Americans are solely defined by their race, or gay people are defined by their sexuality.  Oh, sure, there’s plenty of commonalities and some real basis for making political conclusions, but we need to stop being so shocked that Trump is winning among evangelical voters.  538:

But by Saturday evening it was too late; South Carolina had voted and Bush had managed to win only 7 percent of evangelicals. Instead, a plurality — 34 percent — went for Donald Trump, about the same share as the state’s GOP primary voters overall.

According to the Edison Research/National Election Pool, evangelicals even chose Trump over contenders like Marco Rubio (21 percent) and Ted Cruz (26 percent) who frequently cite their Christian backgrounds as a guidepost. Cruz, who won the Iowa Caucuses and outperformed polls largely based on evangelical support, has a national prayer team. Trump couldn’t or wouldn’tname his favorite verse of the Bible and has made gaffes includingmisnaming one of its books.

Trump’s win among evangelicals was a bit of a surprise to the media — the cable networks hammered away at the issue, and on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd peppered Cruz with questions about why he lost the group that had supported him in Iowa. But the South Carolina results show evangelicals are a diverse group with sometimes differing priorities. [emphasis mine] Trump did well among less-conservative evangelicals but not among those who want a candidate who shares their values. And after all, two-thirds of South Carolina evangelicals voted for one of the other candidates instead.

Hey, roughly 1/4 of white Evangelicals identify as Democrats, of course they are not monolithic.  And, you can have a particular style of loving Jesus and still love Donald Trump because he’s the only one willing to defy political correctness and let us know that most of the Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers and that most of the Muslims coming to this country are out to ruin the American way of life, and damnit, Donald Trump is just all about winning.  No reason you can’t believe all that and that abortion and gays are ruining America.


College– not the great equalizer

So, this from Wonkblog is distressing.  Key chart:

Not only that, but the earnings gap between poor and rich college-educated kids is huge, and it grows over the course of a career. Right after college, poor kids earn about two-thirds as much as rich kids, on average. But by mid-career, the typical college grad from a rich family is earning close to $100,000, while the grad from a poor family is making around $50,000.

There are probably a lot of factors at play here. Hershbein and his colleagues are investigating everything “from family resources during childhood and theplace where one grew up, to the colleges that low-income students attend” in search of the driving factors.

In other words, a college education is not necessarily the great equalizer that many policymakers hope.

Obviously, it still pays for poor kids to go to college, but we really need to figure out why it pays off so much more for others.

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