GOP Should Run Scared As Bernie Sanders’ Appeal Expands Toward Traditional GOP Voters

Republicans should start quaking in fear of Bernie Sanders, because his appeal is growing, and not just with young voters. Voters in his own age group are also drawn to him and his message. Sanders is 73, and the older generation currently makes up a large and critical piece of the Republican base. So the fact that he’s appealing to older people is not good news for Republicans.

Sanders is an independent from Vermont, however he caucuses with the Democrats and is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. According to an article in The New York Times, the people he’s appealing to are the people who remember a time when the top tax bracket was 90 percent, and the middle class thrived while the wealthy actually paid taxes.

Our top tax rate now is too low, with way too many loopholes, under the flawed and failed ideas of trickle-down economics. We don’t have a system that rewards work, it punishes work, and rewards greed. Back then, the system didn’t allow for the kind of greed we have today nearly as easily. Republicans want to make the top tax brackets even lower, though, on the lie that doing so will create well-paying jobs and make everyone prosper.

Another thing that’s oddly appealing to the older generation is the idea of free college at public universities. In fact, Sanders has declared that higher education should be a right. Of course, the right looks at that as “socialism,” despite the fact that other developed nations, like Denmark and Germany, have free university. Here, college is increasingly unaffordable and younger students are starting out their adult lives crippled with debt, in jobs that don’t help them pay for that debt.

Back when Sanders was young, many public colleges and universities offered education for free, or at very little cost, according to The Times piece. You only had to pay good money to go to a private school.

Sanders’ message of tax the rich, redistribute wealth, and bring back a strong government that takes care of its people, tends to resonate with Millennials and the youngest Gen-Xers, who are still young enough to be idealistic. However, the older generation—the one that we expect to vote Republican—finds itself moved by Sanders’ evocations of times when things were better, thanks in part to a government that was strong enough to care about people.

Today’s Republicans try to invoke earlier times in the name of idealistic nostalgia, but they may fail when it comes to people who actually lived those times. These people remember when someone could actually retire after a long and productive life, and maybe have to tighten their belts a little, but didn’t face living in poverty, or having to continue working part-time. They remember when education was important to everyone. They remember when people were paid what they were worth, and when pay increased with productivity.

What they remember is what Sanders is appealing to. Republicans don’t want to take us back to the booming economy of the late ’40s, and the ’50s and ’60s. They want to take us back before the ’30s, when the rich could get richer without lifting a finger, and the plebes were more or less slaves to their bosses and their jobs, and often lived in squalor.

That’s not what Sanders has in mind. If he can appeal to enough of the older generation, as well as the younger generations, he’ll be unstoppable against any Republican candidate.

Featured image by AFGE. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr