Baby Boomers ‘Feel the Bern’


Emma Weaver, Reporter

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has attracted an enormous following of millennials – the diverse group of millennials who sat on stage behind Sanders at his town meeting in Carroll, Iowa on Tuesday showed as much.

But surprisingly, the audience facing Sanders at noon Tuesday was mainly made up of older generations.

Sanders is currently polling 2:1 with millennials against democratic opponent Hilary Clinton, according to an NBC poll. But with older generations, Sanders remains behind in the polls.

But Sander’s audience in Carroll might hint at a growing following of baby boomers in Iowa.

Sanders agenda has obvious appeal to millennials, a generation immensely concerned with student loans, debt and unemployment. But the baby boomers who attended Sander’s town meeting at Santa Maria Winery found his agenda appealed just as easily to them.

Lori Lang, an Iowa resident and factory worker who is currently putting her daughter through college, said she had always supported Sanders, and that she would caucus for him Feb. 1.

“I feel like I’m the sort of person he’s fighting for,” she said. “I’m a factory worker whose income has not changed of any great significance at all in many years. I’m struggling. I just always felt like he sticks with his beliefs and he doesn’t give up.”

Kelly Fratar, another baby boomer in Sanders’ audience, flew to Iowa from her home in Berkley, California just to participate in the buildup to the Iowa caucuses. Though Fratar was attending events for nearly every Presidential candidate, she said Sanders would likely get her vote.

But Sanders had not always been Fratar’s favorite – she first fell for Sanders when she read the Oct. 12 Populist Profit article in The New Yorker. The article, she said, helped her understand Sander’s agenda, and his use of the term “democratic socialism.”

 I feel like I’m the sort of person he’s fighting for. —  Lori Lang

Fratar felt Sanders was more popular with millennials than with her generation because younger age groups are less frightened of the word “socialist.” But she said as Sanders gains publicity, her age group is starting to fear the term less.

“The socialist label scares a bunch of people,” she said. “I think it closes the door for them and they never open it. If he can talk more, and people reach out the way they reached out with Obama – through the millennials and to the parents – that’s how it really worked for Obama, maybe it works again. This could be déjà vu for Hilary. Obama kind of swept it away, it could be happening again.


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