Bernie Sanders for young and old
© Getty Images

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE (I-Vt.) is the intergenerational candidate of progressive populism who calls for young people to be offered the opportunity for a free education at public colleges, and calls for senior citizens to be treated fairly with increases in Social Security benefits.

ADVERTISEMENT
Sanders is driving the debate on the Democratic side of the presidential campaign as Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Michelle Obama is exactly who the Democrats need to win big in 2020 Wells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing MORE (D-Mass.) is driving the debate from the Democratic side of the aisle in Congress. For those who care about the values and future of the Democratic Party, and understand the urgency for Democrats to motivate their supporters to vote in elections, Sanders and Warren may be the two most important Democrats in America.

The intergenerational appeal of Sanders is one of the least understood aspects of the Sanders' popularity and has gone underreported by media commentators, who are consumed by which group of Americans Donald Trump is insulting on any given day.

While Trump is insulting a large swath of Americans, Sanders is appealing to Americans across all age groups.

When Sanders calls for a free public college education for young people, he is championing some of the great principles in American politics in common sense, simple justice and long-term economic growth. Why should so many young people be left out of the great opportunities that college education brings? Why should so many young people — and their moms and dads — be burdened with a lifetime of crushing debt resulting from the hugely expensive cost of college education?

Sanders is right in saying that education should be a right. He would dramatically expand economic equality, which would grow in direct proportion to educational opportunity. Free education at public colleges is a great idea, and financing this right through a modest tax on Wall Street transactions is also a great idea. It is not surprising that so many young people view Sanders as their champion.

Sanders also understands that senior citizens, who have given so much to their families and our nation, deserve Social Security benefits that are fair and rise with the cost of living. It is inexcusable and wrong that Social Security cost of living adjustments will not rise a penny in 2016, and it is wrong and inexcusable that Social Security benefits have long lagged behind the true cost of living.

Sanders is right in saying that that Social Security benefits should be increased for every senior except the wealthiest, and every Democrat, including Hillary Clinton and Democratic leaders in Congress, should join him and support this.

Bernie Sanders is a true populist and true progressive and from young students seeking a college education to senior citizens seeking fairness in Social Security benefits, he offers an intergenerational populism and progressivism that is good for Democrats and good for America.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at brentbbi@webtv.net.