With Beto O’Rourke’s campaign launch last week, the size of the Democratic primary field will rival that of the Republicans on 2016. According to two Pew Research Center studies, millennials are both the largest voting bloc in the upcoming elections and they are also the most left-leaning generation in American history.
The media is fawning over Bernie’s popularity, Beto’s charisma, and whether Biden will run at all. However, despite the press attention, there are a few undeniable factors holding them back in the eyes of millennials. They are all categorized under the very privileged “straight-white-male” title and this is disqualifying in the eyes of many on the identity-obsessed left.
Replacing free thought and critical thinking, spread through fake internet outrage and “woke” culture, identity politics has taken over the millennial generation.
The shift is most apparent when comparing the Bernie Sanders' roll out in 2016 versus the reaction in 2020. Bernie entered the last Democratic primary as an outlier with radical socialist ideas, largely tossed aside by the establishment who preferred Hillary. This time around the entire Democratic party has shifted left to include more extreme positions on topics like the cost of college and environmental policy positions. Bernie is no longer a “unique” candidate based on socialist ideology alone.
Politico reports that, “Most of the straight white male fence-sitters come from the pragmatic corners of the Democratic Party” and are “trying to seize the pragmatic mantle [that] comes with a risk, especially for straight white men.” With the fear of becoming a “mansplainer” or attacking a minority candidate in primary debates, the path forward for Bernie, Beto, and Biden is paved with eggshells.
But Bernie is not alone in the straight-white-male-affliction. Beto O’Rourke has been called out for his male privilege granting him the confidence to run for office after his failed senate attempt. Joe Biden already has critics questioning whether the modern day Democratic party would embrace a white man in his 70s, despite Biden's not even having announced yet.
Identity politics is harmful to democracy in that it strips down candidates to their demographic categories and ignores the quality of their policies. Instead of acting like the Census Bureau, millennials need to use the primaries to compare policies.