Revolution(s) Ahoy: Young voters for old candidates and vice versa

Text: Žikica Milošević

Somehow, all the people of Europe are awaiting some revolutions these days. And in North America too. The Economist magazine is convinced that Emmanuel Macron will save Europe, since he is quite an Anglo-Saxon liberal type. And the French are crazy for their handsome and young president. But there are some other revolutions ahead.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 13: French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and UK Prime Minister Theresa May (L) deliver a speech during a press conference after their meeting and before to assist to a friendly soccer match between their two country on the grounds of the Stade de France on June 13, 2017 in Paris, France. May and Macron must discuss Brexit, the fight against terrorism and threats related to the Internet. (Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)
GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND – JUNE 24: Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (R) and festival founder Michael Eavis address the crowd from the main stage at the Glastonbury Festival site at Worthy Farm in Pilton on June 24, 2017 near Glastonbury, England. Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is the largest greenfield festival in the world. It was started by Michael Eavis in 1970 when several hundred hippies paid just £1, and now attracts more than 175,000 people. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)


The two liberal revolutionaries praised by The Economist are the aforemention Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau, another young and handsome charmer, this one also French by origins, but from Canada. Macron did not hesitate to form his own political party, win the elections, dismiss the two old leading parties and form around centrism as an idea. He was proud to show his much older wife off to the world and say: well, in times when nobody thinks it is bad to have a much younger wife, like Trump (or many others), or to have a same-sex spouse, should I feel guilty for having my choice of love? Of course not. And there was a social revolution, for that matter, which Macron also started. But, let us first do a bit of worrying. No society has been run properly by the power of the market. The world’s leading banks and capital always influence the lives of ordinary people. So Macron’s rule has to be judged on how the situation has improved for the working classes, and not on the overall figures. Terrorism. The despair of the banlieus. The integration of minorities. The ecology, which Trudeau somehow forgot when he talked about dirty oil extraction. We wait for some results to judge before we call anyone the saviour of Europe or North America. It is nice to be charming, but it is nicer to be effective.


Well, this is not Soviet socialism, nor Tito’s socialism, but Scandinavian socialism is back, and is growing even more as an idea in countries that were either totally opposed to it (the U.S.) or were on the threshold but abandoned it during the Thatcherism era (UK), or in places where they were strong but lost ground (France). And the three prominent fugures pushing it are Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and Jean-Luc Melenchon. In one of the episodes of the satirical Family Guy cartoon, the mean little baby, Stewie, said something like: “So, who is the person that young people love so much? Oh, yes, Morgan Freeman”. Indeed, he is a cult figure among the youth. So, it shouldn’t surprise us that the most popular people among the youth that did not vote for ages (or have never voted before) are old geezers like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. And they have archetypal nemeses: Hilary Clinton and Theresa May, both polished upper-class women distant from the ordinary people. No wonder Theresa May lost her almost landslide victory after three terrorist attacks and is losing points after the recent catastrophic building blaze. Simply, the old guys from the left are something that the disenfranchised youngsters can relate to, and they show compassion and seem to really care. And don’t be surprised if Corbyn and Sanders, if they gain enough strength, form the next governments in the two Anglo-Saxon giants. As for Melenchon, his constant 20% of the vote is a good sign that France might be in love with a Catholic Thatcherite for a while (Fillon) and now with a liberal (Macron), but the essential problems of French society cannot be solved by money. Social dialogue is lacking in every society nowadays. So the young people use social networks to clearly help the old school Socialists gain momentum, which is quite amazing. And to see Britain with a strong welfare state once again? That would be even more amazing.


Many people thought Trump would be a strange populist, but now he is doing the same-old, same-old American stuff, supporting key allies in the Middle East (Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar), even after contradictory remarks and the fact they hate each other. And Theresa May might be shaken and stirred, but she is not out yet. Brexit is beginning, and Conservatives around the world might be happy. Some might say that the real revolution is desired among the conservative population in the Anglo-Saxon giants. Theresa might meet Macron in a humble position, as a near-loser meeting the shiny winner, but it will fade away soon. When problems have to be confronted and solved, we will judge them according to their deeds. UKIP failed and fell apart, while Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders did not make it. The traditional right is still the strongest at the right part of the political spectrum.

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