Coverage of the 2016 Presidential Election has largely focused on the youth involvement in grassroots campaign efforts and the predicted turnout of young people at the polls come November. Since this group made up the demographic that largely contributed to Barack Obama’s historic 2008 win, much has been said about who this generation of young voters will support—and how; specifically, the momentum and excitement surround the Bernie Sanders campaign.
As of March 17, the Washington Post reported that “Sanders has won the votes of more than 1.5 million of them [youth votes]. Clinton is second and Trump trails just behind, but the two front-runners combine for just 1.2 million votes—300,000 less than Sanders alone.” What can explain this phenomenon, that a 74-year-old Democratic Socialist from Vermont has won the hearts and minds of young people? For a generation that is painted as being obsessed with Hollywood and celebrity culture, wouldn’t media-mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump be an obvious choice?
And why not Hillary Clinton, who would accomplish the historic feat of becoming the first female president—and has not only struggled to win the trust of young voters, but specifically young women voters? Perhaps the passion and support for the Bernie Sanders campaign can be better understood by comparing the current political climate to that of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series—an integral part of the coming of age process for so many millennials who grew up reading the series.
We were the first to anxiously hope we would get a letter from Hogwarts, wish we could play Quidditch, dared to envision ourselves competing in the Triwizard Tournament, were the first to cry when our favorite characters died and the first to cheer when Ron and Hermoine finally admitted how they felt about each other. Most importantly, we grew up knowing there was nothing that was more important than for Harry to finish Lord Voldemort once and for all—and stop the spread of his hatred and destruction. Voldemort was the definition of evil for the first Harry Potter generation…that is, until we met Dolores Umbridge.
Anyone with a moral conscience recognized the evil embodied in Lord Voldemort. He spoke about bloodlines and punishing those he deemed as being of “inferior birth,” calling them names like mudbloods and tearing families apart by murdering anyone he imagined would get in his way. Dolores was different.
The magical governing body, the Ministry of Magic and the media they controlled put Dolores Umbridge in charge at Hogwarts after Voldemort had come back to power. They were in complete denial of his return—and what Voldemort in power would really mean for the wizarding community. And in denying what was really going on, the Ministry promoted to power a woman who was equally as corrupt—and its members took almost a year to realize the error of their ways.
In the meantime, it was Albus Dumbledore who spoke the truth. It was Dumbledore who, after he was locked in prison for simply stating the truth about both Umbridge and Voldemort, inspired a group of young followers to risk their own lives in order to fight for what they knew was right. As Dumbledore reminded them, “It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.”
Still confused as to why this generation is fighting so hard to get Bernie elected? This movement is not just about him—it is a movement to end the widespread hatred and bigotry of Donald Trump and to prohibit the media and networks that support the Clinton Foundation from inaugurating the woman whose entire platform is directly controlled by those putting money in her pocket.
Whatever your political beliefs, millennials understand that the next leader of the free world cannot be a proponent of hatred, or a chameleon whose ideas are bought and sold—we need to elect a leader who is moral, honest and has been fighting for economic and social justice for all beings for the past 30 years, no matter how many were listening, simply because he knows it’s right. Since he called for those who believe in change to run for office and fight for progressive change, it’s been reported that there are over 12,000 people who have committed to run for office. Bernie’s Army will fight on…the revolution is just beginning
Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.