By Arleeny Escarcega
With presidential campaigns in full swing and elections less than a year away, voters-to-be are informing themselves on the candidates. For young adults and college students, Bernie Sanders is the candidate who catches their attention the most. Some students believe the issues he stands for are the right ones.
“Sanders seems more like the people’s choice, more focused on the middle class,” said Samuel Pinedo, a 22-year-old business administration student at Santa Ana College. “He seems more solid than other candidates. [Other candidates] seem to have a script. He actually cares.”
Sanders proposed several policies he promises to enact if he is elected.
Among them is a single-payer healthcare system through Medicare, raising the federal minimum wage and starting a Wall Street stand action. Most importantly, he also plans to provide free four-year education at public colleges and universities for everyone.
“Sanders is a truly progressive candidate, who has stood on issues such as environment, gay marriage, and creating jobs. Throughout his entire political career, when things have been unpopular, he has stood his ground on them,” said Kyle Machado, co-founder of OC Millennials for Bernie.
Two-thirds of all jobs will require a formal education by 2018, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Having a college degree will be equated to financial freedom and economic stability. Sanders’ plan for free tuition for everyone is simple. The main requirement is to have a 2.5 GPA, an attainable goal for anyone who works hard, Machado said.
Sanders has made a social media presence — and in turn, sent a message to young adults.
It makes sense for candidates to use any and every form of social media as a way of reaching out to young-eligible voters.
“During the last presidential election, only 20 percent of millennials voted.
“More millennials need to be informed and using social media attracts and drives them to do so,” Machado said.
Michael Petri, a political science professor at Santa Ana College, doesn’t find it surprising that Sanders is doing well with his campaign even though he is considered a left-wing socialist candidate. Although his campaign started off slow due to him not wanting to attack his opponents, it has picked up more support lately, especially with social media being his main tool.
“His Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts have more followers than most [Congress] members. In addition, he writes most of his own posts instead of staffing them. This gives a personal connection to the readers. Something millennials and younger voters find disingenuous posts from most politicians today insulting and are turned off to politics,” Petri said.
Targeting minorities for votes is a popular tactic. Candidates realize minorities are a large part of the voter group. California, Texas and Florida make up 55 percent of the Hispanic population in
The nation and millennials are 30 percent of the adult population, Pew Research has found.
“It is a tactic but as far as Sanders goes, it is something he has been stern with. There’s videos of him from 30, 40 years ago, and the things he is saying now isn’t anything new, he’s been saying them for awhile,” Pinedo said.
Janis Clarke, a Santa Ana College student, feels Sanders is only using minorities to gather votes to win the presidential election. But ultimately he will follow his own agenda.
“Supposedly this is the land of the people, it’s for us. They’re serving us, we don’t serve them,” Clarke said.
Not many Santa Ana College students are informing themselves as much as they should be. Since the election is about a year away and with the end of the semester approaching, not many millennials are focusing on the presidential candidates and their proposed policies.