The Bernie Sanders Revolution Has Moved to Mom’s Couch

Earlier in the primaries, they disagreed especially on the role of female representation. Ms. Geye’s mother liked the idea of supporting “a very smart woman” like Ms. Warren, while Ms. Geye’s view on gender was more straightforward: “I truly don’t care.”

She wasn’t impressed by Joe Biden’s commitment to selecting a female vice president at Sunday’s debate, the first since Ms. Warren dropped out of the race, nor deterred by Mr. Sanders’ lack of a commitment.

Like other young female Sanders supporters, voting for a woman doesn’t feel pressing — especially at a time of social, economic and now public health crisis.

“Seeing yourself in political leaders only goes so far,” Ms. Geye said. To ensure her mom’s support for Mr. Sanders, she reached deep into her political arsenal: “I told her the only way I could afford grandchildren was the world Bernie was working toward. So I may have leveraged grandchildren, but it worked.”

That desperate times call for desperate measures is a view almost axiomatic to some Sanders supporters. And some feel that in upending work, school and economic routines, the coronavirus outbreak could make voters more sympathetic to Mr. Sanders’s message of remaking government and a larger social safety net. Mr. Sanders made the point himself during Sunday night’s debate, telling viewers that the pandemic exposes “dysfunctionality” in the country’s health care system.

Kirsten Gronlund, 24, who is in self-isolation in her East Village, New York City, apartment, said amid her fears about the coronavirus, she’s also held on to hope that it could be a catalyst for “sweeping, fundamental changes to American life.” The anxieties of quarantine make it challenging for her to focus on day-to-day work, she said, but more meaningful to talk to voters about a brighter vision for the country’s future.

“It’s hard to focus on work when everything feels so apocalyptic,” she said. “It feels like we’re so helpless watching world leaders scramble and flail. But something like organizing for real political change feels like an appropriate response.”

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