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  • Norman Young

The Rise of the Anti-Reagan

During the 1980’s, while Ronald Reagan was convincing Americans that capitalism was synonymous with freedom, a young politician from Vermont had very different ideas. While the Republican establishment believed that the communist USSR was an “evil empire,” mayor Bernie Sanders openly praised their socialist economic system, and even “honeymooned” in the Soviet Union with his wife.

Decades later, millennials have entered a workplace shaped by Ronald Reagan’s economic policies. Many of these millennials have had difficulty “adulting.” Most delay marriage into their late twenties or thirties. When they find a job, many are frustrated to find out that they will make less money than they expected to make with their college degree. Much of the money they do make will go toward paying off student loans. In the millennial demographic, the average personal savings rate is less than zero.

It is easy to see why a message of free healthcare and debt forgiveness would resonate strongly with millennial voters. Many young progressives threw their support behind a self-described socialist after hearing him blame their economic woes on a capitalist scapegoat. The fact that Bernie Sanders was once an apologist for the Soviet Union hardly bothers them at all—the USSR was long dead before any of them had begun paying attenti