- Former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden has previously said he has " no empathy " for millennials.
- In a recent New York Times interview , he said that if millennials want to see a change in their economic situation, they need to become more involved.
- He added that he cares about millennials , who are "the future."
- Experts have said that Biden needs to create an agenda based on millennial issues and be authentic to attract younger voters.
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What's the deal with Joe Biden and millennials?
Based on past comments about the generation, it appears that the former vice president has little concern for their plight.
And while millennials are expected to represent 27% of voters in 2020, Biden has sent mixed messages at best regarding millennials even as the hotly contested Iowa caucus arrives Tuesday.
He has, at times, seemed like the embodiment of "ok boomer" : scolding younger generations for their behavior while not recognizing the structural disadvantages that they've had.
The average millennial is financially behind, thanks to student debt, a high cost of living, and the financial crisis. They have an average net worth of less than $8,000, meaning they're financially worse off than previous generations, and it's causing them to delay major life milestones.
But in a January 2018 interview with Patt Morrison of The Los Angeles Times Biden said he has "no empathy" for "the younger generation" who come to him about "how tough things are."
"Give me a break. Because here's the deal guys, we decided we were going to change the world," he added, referring to members of the baby boom. "And we did. We did. We finished the civil rights movement in the first stage. The women's movement came into being. So my message is, get involved."
He reinforced these views once again in August 2019 at an American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees forum co-moderated by HuffPost. "You all have an obligation to get engaged," he said, as reported by HuffPost's Sara Boboltz . "Don't tell me how bad it is. Change it. Change it. Change it."
He added: "My generation did it."
Biden more recently addressed his millennial stance in an interview with The New York Times' editorial board , who asked him if he thinks millennials' experience has "less of a burden than previous years."
Biden said his prior comments were in part based on a (unspecified) "2015 study" revealing that less than 20% of young millennials would run for public office he said it's millennials' responsibility to get involved and engaged if they want to see a change in their situation. If as many people ages 18 to 30 voted in the 2016 election as those above age 30, America wouldn't have President Trump, he said.
He added that the generation has "awakened now" to participation. "This idea I'm anti-millennial ... the implication is I don't care much about it," he told The Times . "I care like devil about them. They are the future."
Biden needs to put in work to appeal to millennial voters
Young voters are more likely to prefer Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has proposed a number of socialist or socialist-inspired policies, over Biden.
In the Forbes Under 30 Voter survey , 32% of 18- to 29-year-olds said they would vote for Sanders; Biden came in second with 16% of support. And a recent Morning Consult poll found that Biden only has half the support of millennial Democrats as Sanders does: 20% compared to 40%, respectively. (But of course, if 2016 taught us anything, it's that polling isn't an exact science.)
According to Max Burns, a Democrat contributor to the Daily Beast, millennials seem to be feeling out of touch with Biden, whose "biggest stumbling block" might be his struggle to understand how much millennials are changing "the Democratic Party's DNA,"
Biden has previously said younger Democratic voters aren't a generation of socialists but a November 2019 YouGov poll indicates that millennials are opening up to socialism . In it, 70% of millennials said they'd be somewhat or extremely likely to vote for a socialist candidate. It also found that millennials and Gen Z are less likely than older generations to favor capitalism.
Democratic strategists told Amie Parnes of The Hill that most of Biden's support comes from people who are familiar with his name and that millennials aren't identifying with his policies.
There are two key things Biden needs to do to reactivate the young voters of "the Obama coalition," they said: Create an agenda on millennial issues like climate change and student debt and be authentic.
Biden may be calling for more engagement from younger voters, but he, too, needs to work on engaging with millennials.
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SEE ALSO: 70% of millennials say they'd vote for a socialist. 5 facts about their debt-saddled economic situation tell you why.
DON'T MISS: Edit in Viking Meet the average American millennial, who has an $8,000 net worth, is delaying life milestones because of student-loan debt, and still relies on parents for money