1. Are you a millenial?
2. Do you steer clear of organized religion?
3. Are you feeling the Bern?
Folks who answer "yes" to all three questions help explain Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' surprising level of support.
That's the smart take of a recent Christian Science Monitor think piece exploring what the international news organization characterizes as "The unseen side of Bernie Sanders's young voter revolution":
The lede of the piece, published before Sanders' upset win over Hillary Clinton in Michigan this week, seems a bit outdated.
But the overall thesis merits consideration:
NEW YORK — By the measure of the 2016 election, Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign appears to be on the wane.
But from the vantage point of Fayna Pearlman’s Brooklyn apartment, it is only the first glimmer of a change that could one day reshape American politics.
Last year, the Hunter College student helped found what she calls LUC, or“little urban community.” It is a group of diverse but like-minded Millennials who rent out all four floors of a pre-war apartment in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, sharing a common vision to transform American society, both socially and spiritually.
Recommended: How well do you know Bernie Sanders? Take our quiz.
With a sensibility that vibrates in a way that seems neither traditionally religious nor secular, Ms. Pearlman says that “we’re all starting to feel more and more connected to the fact that ‘we’re all in this together,’ ” she says.
She could be quoting the self-described democratic socialist senator, a Brooklyn-born Jew.
Sanders’s appeal to young liberals through his views on inequality, health care, and college tuition are well known. But less examined is his connection to young Americans’ faith.
Of course, GetReligion previously has explored media coverage of 'non-Jewish Jew' Sanders:
The Monitor story notes:
Sanders’s view is one of a spirituality not grounded in any religious tradition. It is instead tied to a deep sense of human interconnectedness.
This view resonates with a growing number of Millennials – the “nones” who follow no specific religion.
To some, these nones could even be a potential Democratic counterpoint to conservative Evangelicals. In 2012, some 70 percent of nones voted for Barack Obama, just as 79 percent of conservative Evangelicals (who also make up about a quarter of the United States population) voted for Mitt Romney.
A style note: GetReligion follows the Associated Press Stylebook, which calls for lowercasing millennials and evangelicals. Apparently, the Monitor has its own style since it capitalizes those terms.
Lately, we've had a deluge of posts on the E-word and the dangers of overgeneralizing, so I won't beat that drum today except to provide this link:
From a journalistic perspective, here's what I like about the Monitor story:
1. It's a fresh angle (at least to me) and timely.
2. Pearlman, the Sanders supporter featured up high, makes more than a cameo appearance. The writer lets her explain her beliefs and motivations in her own words.
3. The article provides a mix of relevant Pew survey data and expert analysis by solid sources, including the respected John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron in Ohio.
Even if you (like me) answered "no" to all three questions at the top of this post, it's an intriguing piece.