Millennials Pretty Cool With Socialism

Study finds Americans born after Cold War don’t understand ‘dark history’ of collectivism

Bernie Sanders rally
October 17, 2016

A report released Monday reveals a growing acceptance of socialist and Marxist viewpoints among younger Americans born after the Cold War.

Nearly half—45 percent—of those aged between 16 and 20 years old said they would vote for a socialist, while one in five responded they would vote for a communist, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found.

Reasons for the widespread backing Bernie Sanders garnered among millennials during the primary election were also evident in the survey, with younger generations expressing greater support for remarks made by the Vermont senator than quotes from the Bible or free market economist Milton Friedman.

This trend, dubbed the Bernie Sanders "bounce," was also evident in findings that less than half of young Americans viewed capitalism favorably. Nearly three in four millennials favored policies promoted by Sanders versus just over half who preferred those put forward by Friedman.

Marion Smith, executive director of the organization, said in a statement the study confirms the group’s fears that "an emerging generation of Americans have little understanding of the collectivist system and its dark history."

This sentiment is particularly notable in the lack of knowledge among young Americans of communist leaders.

One in four Americans believe more people were killed under former President George W. Bush than under former Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin, whose regime slaughtered some 20 million people between 1924 and 1953. One third of millennials believe the same, though only 18 percent said they were familiar with the dictator, according to the report.

Americans also severely underestimate the number of people killed under communist regimes, which led to the deaths of more than 100 million people.

"This report clearly reveals a need for educating our youth on the dangerous implications of socialist ideals," Smith said.