Andy Vila’s mother remembers her son as a bright, rebellious child who enjoyed Harry Potter books and dressing up as the U.S. president. But when he began to embrace the same ideology his family had fled in socialist Cuba, she pleaded in vain for him to stop his political activism.
His socialism made Vila an outlier in his Miami community and opened
deep rifts with relatives. He was briefly exiled from home, and his
mother entered therapy to bridge their differences. To mention socialism
at family dinners, “that’s a no-go,” Vila said. Relatives would “look
at me funny and say, ‘We’ve escaped that.’”
At 21, Vila is part of a wave of young Americans openly supporting socialism, even among Miami’s staunchly anti-left Cubans. Although the definition of the ideology varies widely, it is making particular inroads among millennials and Generation Z voters, who are expected to make up 37% of the 2020 U.S. electorate, according to the Pew Research Center.