It is time to stop going along to get along...it is time for the young left to establish a third party.
Charles Krupa / AP
America’s leaders are old—very old. We all know that the average age in Congress has never been higher, and our national leaders are all approaching 80. Older Americans own the most valuable real estate and investment portfolios. They’ve captured more than 80 percent of stock-market growth since the end of the Great Recession. They are not my target demographic in this election.
Older people vote shortsightedly, choosing the least progressive outcome. In surveys in the U.S. and the U.K., people over 65 — compared with people under 30 — were nearly twice as likely to be against gay marriage; half as likely to support legalization of marijuana; nearly five times less likely to want to spend money on education; 60% more likely to vote for previous candidates; and nearly 50% more likely to say immigrants have a negative impact on society, despite the fact that they are being dependent on them for their favorite foods, services, and activities.
American Millennials and younger, for their part, are historically well-educated, historically peaceful, and historically law-abiding. This impressive résumé of conscientiousness hasn’t translated into much economic or political power. Instead, we are gaslighted, saddled with student debt, and yo-yo-ing through a pandemic, recession, and recovery. It doesn’t benefit us to continue to play by our grandparents' rules. We are poorer, in income and in wealth, then our parents and grandparents.
It is time that we start demanding power, control, and justice! Issues like Medicare for All/Universal health care and free college shouldn't be a secret. These topics are fringe ideas within the Democratic party. From the outside looking in, it might seem like young voters have remade the Democratic Party in their image—as a claque of “woke” socialists. But look around, the Democrats aren’t the party of the young—or, for that matter, of social-justice leftists. It is time for us to think about ourselves and the generations coming after us. It is time for us to free ourselves from this two-party system and establish our third party. It is time for the youth to be radicalized by America’s political sclerosis and economic and social inequality.
What does our progressive third party’s platform look like? In one word, justice: Social justice, sought through a reappraisal of power relationships in social and corporate life, and economic justice, sought through the redistribution of income from the rich to the less fortunate. We are, mostly under 40, motivated by the existential threat of climate change, strongly pro-immigration, and more concerned about police brutality than about crime or terrorism. Perhaps most distinctive, we are attuned to structural challenges in society and skeptical of the individualist strain of the American dream.
We acknowledge that most Americans over 40 support several measures of both social justice and economic justice but across ethnicities, they have a deep aversion to anything that can be characterized as “political correctness” or “socialism.” And we recognize this is the biggest challenge for the young progressive agenda.