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How Bloomberg Could Be The Hidden Answer To Gen-Y's Issue With Politics

Much has been made of the rock solid support for Bernie Sanders amongst Millennials.

Indeed, 49 percent of likely Democrat voters between the ages of 18 and 49 prefer Mr. Sanders, as compared to Hillary Clinton's 44 percent.

This stands in sharp contrast to the 71 percent of the same group of voters aged 50-plus, who prefer Mrs. Clinton.

Even more surprisingly, Mr. Sanders leads Mrs. Clinton 50 percent to 31 percent amongst Millennial women.

Conventional wisdom explains this by pointing to the Vermont Senator's earnest support for socially liberal causes that are supposedly in line with Millennial political priorities.

However, is the self-avowed socialist's far left platform truly representative of the diverse and unique concerns of our generation?

It's convenient to try and put Millennials and our preferences into neat, explanatory statements.

We are said to be narcissistic in our personalities, hell-bent on balance in our careers and entire focused on social issues in our politics.

These confines are easy, but they are also over-simplified.

Our generation is more educated than our predecessors, and our opinions are accordingly nuanced. It is too simplistic to say Millennials are having their political needs met by the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.

This is especially true considering that — according to the Pew Research Center — 50 percent of Millennials identify as Independents.

Oddly enough, that brings us to the former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg.

His allies have recently indicated he is seriously considering a third-party run at the White House.

As Republicans are pushed by the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz into increasingly partisan and divisive rhetoric, the GOP of today looks very different than the party the former mayor associated with when he first ran for office in 2001.

Likewise, just as his numbers in the polls have risen, so has the leftward influence of Bernie Sanders on Hillary Clinton.

The former Secretary of State, who ran as a moderate in 2008 when she was compared to Barack Obama, is now being challenged by Mr. Sanders.

He insists that following the president's path is not progressive enough.

This strange, tumultuous and polarized election season has suddenly opened up a center lane for a third, moderate candidate.

Mr. Bloomberg is a billionaire businessman with deep Wall Street ties.

He is the very embodiment of the 1 percent Bernie Sanders so consistently rails against, and he gets raucous applause doing so.

What may attract Millennials to a Michael Bloomberg candidacy? Let's see.

Mr. Bloomberg is in favor of same-sex marriage, as are the majority of Millennials, including 58 percent of Republican Gen-Yers.

The former mayor is staunchly pro-choice, as are a majority of Millennials.

He has clearly shown himself capable of rallying a diverse electorate.

He has been elected three times to the Gracie Mansion. He can lend confidence to Millennials in more remote areas of the country.

In terms of an issue that has served as a rallying call for Democrats and progressives, Michael Bloomberg is a fierce gun control advocate.

He has put up millions of his own money to that end, including hand-picking and donating to candidates throughout the country who share his views.

He is also an environmental activist, calling for measures beyond cap-and-trade to disincentivize greenhouse gas pollutants.

On the other hand, Mr. Bloomberg has held policy stances that may lure moderate Republican Millennials (yes, they exist) out of hiding and into the Bloomberg camp.

The Independent pushed up against the New York City's teacher's union to fight for more charter schools and higher accountability for educators.

He governed with pro-development and pro-business policies, and encouraged New York City's comeback after the devastating September 11 attacks.

The former Republican turned an inherited budget deficit into a $4 billion surplus.

Often, pro-business, right-leaning Millennials find themselves in a bind.

They are concerned over economic growth, but are sure that a turn to “democratic-socialism” is not the way forward.

They yearn for a free-market politician, yet they cannot ardently stand up and support the leading Republicans who stink of xenophobia and short-sighted populism.

They are certainly not progressives, but tilt left on social issues.

They are tired of their party's assault on same-sex marriage.

Perhaps a President Bloomberg is suddenly not such a difficult pill to swallow.

This is not to say Mr. Bloomberg is the ideal Millennial candidate.

He has called legalization of marijuana “stupid,” while two thirds of Gen Y-ers support it, according to Pew.

Despite what is said in the media or by our president, Millennials are split over which is more important: controlling gun ownership or protecting the rights of Americans to own guns.

This may cool some Generation Y-ers, who see New York's gun control advocacy as an overreach.

Also, the libertarian-leaning young Republicans who support Rand Paul's presidential effort are undoubtedly turned off by the nanny reputation Mr. Bloomberg has attained after trying and failing to ban the sale of large sodas.

Is it unlikely for Michael Bloomberg to win the presidency, let alone run? Absolutely.

Has this political cycle been full of surprises? Right again.

Can the former NYC mayor be the great moderate unifier for both Millennials and the nation? Maybe.

What's not in dispute is the fact that it will be interesting to watch him if he decides to throw his billion-dollar hat into the ring.

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Mike Rinaldi

Contributor

Graduate Student, Northeastern University; Tax Accountant, KPMG; Suffering fan, Mets and Jets
Graduate Student, Northeastern University; Tax Accountant, KPMG; Suffering fan, Mets and Jets

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