Leland Ben: Bernie Sanders is beloved by America's college students -- Here's why

A hand shoved its way between the closing elevator door.

In stepped Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), regrettably the only other person with whom I would be sharing this brief elevator trip.

It was July 2016, only a few days after Bernie conceded the 2016 primary to Hillary Clinton, and I was working as a high-school-aged Page in the United States Senate. Sanders and I had both just left the Senate floor, and I was charged with delivering a stack of papers to an office in the Capitol building’s basement.

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A few seconds into the downward trip, Senator Sanders turned even more beet-red and unleashed into a mini expletive-laced tirade. What launched the tirade? He merely forgot to push the button for the floor he wanted to get off at.

Nearly four years later, this anecdote still confirms the widely-held perception that Sanders is a cranky, curmudgeonly man who has become a millionaire by being both on the public dole and in public service.

There are a few ways to understand Sanders’ appeal to the college-aged. The simplest involves a Google search: type “Bernie Sanders college students,” and the first thing that comes up is the result “Free College, Cancel Debt – Bernie Sanders.”

Yet, this guy somehow remains the most popular candidate among my college peers. He is their anointed leader. In a recent Axios/CollegeReaction.com poll, Sanders was the most popular candidate amongst college students, leading with 22 percent approval. Donald Trump, surprisingly, was a near second, with 17 percent approval.

While many Americans see through Sanders' charade of socialism, needing only to reference bastions of economic success such as Venezuela and Greece, America’s youngest generations are more eager than ever to embrace empty socialist policy promises and platitudes for the sake of overthrowing, as they perceive, our gravely unjust capitalist system.

No group is more enticed by pie-in-the-sky promises of free stuff and redistribution than college students, the proverbial arbiters of morality and fairness as imparted unto them by the very much in-touch world of the academy.

There are a few ways to understand Sanders’ appeal to the college-aged. The simplest involves a Google search: type “Bernie Sanders college students,” and the first thing that comes up is the result “Free College, Cancel Debt – Bernie Sanders.” Something tells me we need more math majors. Or more copies of Rand Paul’s seminal book "The Case Against Socialism."

Consider the issue of climate change, one talked about with fervent hysteria amongst college students. Here on planet Earth, investing in and proposing real policy solutions for America’s clean and independent energy future is undoubtedly important to both Democrats and Republicans alike.

Yet, young socialist groupies might as well be on Mars and continue to miss the forest for the trees. Instead, recent socialist college grads like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seem more concerned with spending nearly $200 billion to make carbon-neutral public housing units outfitted with organic grocery stores and community gardens.

The absurdity of this is reminiscent of the “castle in Spain” promises made by Venezuela’s Chavistas, a group that managed to turn the most oil-rich country on earth into a desolate, poverty-stricken dump.

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Most luxury apartment complexes in the U.S., which people work hard to afford to live in, don’t even have the amenities Sanders and AOC envision for producing climate-friendly public housing projects.

And, of course, don’t even consider growing cauliflower in that community garden, because according to young socialists, cauliflower is now racist and embodies “colonial attitudes”.

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College socialists and Bernie fans can keep their word salad of socialist euphemisms, though, as it appears that not every young person is stuck in the academy’s socialist ivory tower (they would reject that term, as an ivory tower probably bears some sort of “colonial attitude”). After Sanders, President Donald Trump is the second most favored candidate, capturing 17 percent favorability compared to Sanders’ 22 percent.

Presumably, support for Trump means that at least some college students are more concerned with addressing problems that are rooted in reality, like the opioid crisis and the death of America’s working-class induced by the corporate overlords of both Democratic and Republican politicians alike.

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Even more, perhaps there is something refreshing about actively rejecting a Washington establishment, consisting of both Democrats and Republicans, that would prefer to send twentysomethings to get blown up in some obscure and far away border war between Turkey and Syria (we are looking at you, Lindsey Graham).

In the university bubble, college students have the luxury to pitch a conniption fit over Halloween costumes and the presence of Ben Shapiro. Regrettably, their blinders prohibit their appreciation of problems facing everyday people and push them toward assured socialist self-destruction.