Politicians are the ultimate consumer product. Brand is everything, packaging is critical and content is the least important part, as long as it tastes “great”! So other than promising a “free lunch” of education, which Mayor Bloomberg noted usually means the recipient will be eaten for breakfast, one has to ask why Bernie trends so young?
The answer, when viewed through a demographic analysis of income distribution, is disturbing at best and shows that the perceived wealth gap is less between the “fat cats” and the working class, and more between the young and the old. This is not just an American “problem”, but one that is shared across the developed world.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s story titled, “When Older People Do Better Than the Working-Age,” the gap between working age incomes and over 65 retirees has narrowed significantly since the “great recession”. The “average person 65 years and older in the U.S. earns 77% of the income of the average citizen, UP FROM 69% in 2008.” The millennials were and are crushed in this recovery. In Spain and France it’s 103% and 102% of the average workers income!
No wonder young Americans are attracted to that early 20th century failure known as socialism and their European cohort are drifting to the new “fascist” parties. Capitalism, as we practice it, has given them the risk, but little of Capitalism’s reward while simultaneously building a socialist “paradise” for the over 65 generation. When you combine this with the political clout of seniors, the youth oriented success of the Senator, once voted by his colleagues as the least likely to be President, begins to make sense.
There is an opportunity to break Bernie’s monopoly on the youth market by highlighting the mistaken over-investment in past generations and the under-investment in our future generations. This is similar to anyone investing left for dead brands. Invest in the rising generation of customers or age into obscurity and irrelevance.
The generational “Bern” is not so new… (nor improved) and you can hear the re-branding as sung in the words of a now over 65 rock band in their top hit of 1969…*
One generation got old
One generation got soul
This generation got no destination to hold
Pick up the cry
Hey now it’s time for you and me
Got a revolution
Got to revolution…
*Jefferson Airplane, Volunteers