A recent Gallup Poll found 45 percent of Americans would vote for a socialist president, driven mainly by 63 percent of those 18-to-35, who don't remember the Berlin Wall coming down.
“Their understanding of socialism has to do with the idea that we need a system that meets basic and fundamental human needs for health care, for housing, for free public education,” says Dr. David McNally, professor of history and business at the University of Houston.
“They think the current system is failing them,” he says of young people. “They think it's offering them a precarious low-income future of carrying huge amounts of debt.”
What young people are looking at is the Nordic model of socialism used across Europe, which is more of a “mixed economy” compared to communist Russia, Cuba or Venezuela.
“They have strong social programs. They have heavier taxes upon the wealthy and so on,” says McNally. “Now having said that, I also think more pure forms of socialism are gaining support among young people.”
If not this election, McNally says the trend toward socialist policies is coming sooner rather than later.