By: Jerad Karasek
Changes in leadership strategies can be beneficial when a city is on the decline. While older candidates tend to identify with the Democratic or Republican party, younger candidates are leaning towards socialism and progressiveness. According to a study conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, 44 percent of millennials prefer socialism, 7 percent prefer communism, 7 percent prefer fascism, while only 42 percent prefer capitalism as their ideology of choice. The following are examples of young candidates following progressive agendas in their campaigns.
Democratic Socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old former bartender and Bernie Sanders organizer that beat 10-time incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley for his seat in New York’s 14th Congressional District. In an interview with the Intercept she explained the basis of her campaign. “At the end of the day, I’m a candidate that doesn’t take corporate money, that champions ‘Medicare for All,’ a federal jobs guarantee, the abolishment of ICE, and a green New Deal,” she said. “But I approach those issues with the lenses of the community that I live in. And that is not as easy to say as ‘identity politics,’” she said. Her win was a shocking upset and marks a step forward politically for both women and the socialist party.
Progressive, Matthew Roney, is a 21-year-old student at DePaul University and is starting his campaign for mayor of Chicago. The 2019 Chicago Mayoral Election is particularly crowded, and he will have to go up against incumbent Rahm Emanuel. His mission for improving Chicago is listed in detail on his website Roney2019.com. “If we don’t act now there will be two Chicagos: the part that you don’t want to live in, and the part that you can’t afford. It is time for us to prioritize stakeholders over shareholders, because shareholders are stakeholders, too,” he said. “Even if one of the other +9 candidates gets elected, nothing is going to change as long as the same governing group is able to exert considerable pressure on city hall. Therefore, I intend to build a strong coalition that consists or community organizations, grassroots activists, unions, and outstanding citizens to combat the demands of our powerful business and real estate community in order to promote a progressive policy agenda that will unite all racial and ethnic communities around common interests,” he said.
Chicago and New York are both afflicted by issues in socio-economics, political corruption, and the job market. Hopefully, these new younger candidates can bring meaningful change to their cities.