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It's no secret that millennials are not the most well-off sector of the American population. Many are crushed by student loan debt, have difficulty finding a job out of college, and as a result, are dissatisfied with the current state of American politics.
America's youngest voters are also some of the most influential. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials will overtake baby-boomers as the country's largest living generation in 2015.
Photo Credit: Pew Research Center
This generational mindset, paired with their large numbers, is a big reason the Bernie Sanders campaign has been so successful. The legislation he's proposed and the nature of the campaign he is running falls directly in line with what many young people see as an ideal candidate for the future president of the United States. Here's a look at where Sanders stands on several of the key issues important to America's young voters.
An unfortunate commonality among the millennial generation is that many of them struggle beneath the weight of high student loan debt. According to ProjectOnSudentDebt.org, college seniors who graduated in 2013 owe an average amount of $28,400 as they enter the workforce.
One of the only candidates in the field to raise this issue on the campaign trail and make it central to their message has been Bernie Sanders. He's proposed taking strong steps towards lowered tuition and debt-free higher education, stopping the federal government from profiting off of student loan debt, and allowing students to refinance their loans at today's lower interest rates.
Sanders plans to pay for these drastic changes to the higher education system by imposing a tax wall on speculative trading on Wall Street. The ramifications of the economic collapse are still being felt by many Americans, especially young people. Those young voters concerns seem to echo in Sanders' words. BernieSanders.com:
"If the taxpayers of this country could bail out Wall Street in 2008, we can make colleges and universities tuition free and debt free throughout the country." - Bernie Sanders
Speaking of Wall Street, the "Occupy" movement is no longer the only group bringing income and wealth inequality to light. For many Millennials, who make up 40 percent of the unemployed population in the United States, the proportion of wealth inequality is unacceptable.
Photo Credit: BernieSanders.com
Living in the world's wealthiest country doesn't mean much when that wealth is in the hands of only a handful of people. Sanders has made this the center issue of his campaign, calling the wealth gap "beyond comprehension" and "immoral," criticizing both Wall Street and Washington as Americans work longer hours for less wages.
Sanders proposes closing this pay gap by raising taxes for America's wealthiest corporations and stopping them from moving jobs overseas. He's also proposed an estate tax on Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million and wants to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour.
At the first Democratic debate, when asked by Anderson Cooper if he considered himself a capitalist, Sanders replied, "Do I consider myself part of the casino capitalist process by which so few have so much and so many have so little by which Wall Street's greed and recklessness wrecked this economy? No, I don't. I believe in a society where all people do well. Not just a handful of billionaires."
Income inequality is just one of the many social issues on the minds of America's youth. As the most racially diverse generational demographic, many Millennials have strong opinions on issues like police discrimination, LGBTQ equality, and a fair immigration policy.
Bernie Sanders' views on social issues align with a majority of millennials, who have jumped on board with his ideas on how to solve issues of climate change, racial injustice, and women's rights.
He's proposed expanding Social Security and passing legislation that guarantees paid maternity leave for new mothers. He wants to protect further the rights of the LGBT community while toning down the culture of physical violence used in law enforcement.