The leadership of the Democratic Party has an age problem. How do you see them addressing this?
Right now, though, the Democratic party leadership is rather old. Not just a little bit old. A lot old.
Hillary Clinton has been one of the leading candidates for president the last two election cycles, and is the front-runner for the nomination this year. She has been one of the leading voices in the Democratic party since Bill Clinton’s nomination in 1992, which put her in a leadership role of some capacity for about 24 years. She’s currently 68 years old, and will be 69 by inauguration day.
Bernie Sanders is relatively new to being formally a part of the Democratic party. Nonetheless, he is one of the leading candidates for president, and is likely to be in a position of influence come the convention, whether he wins or not. If he does win, his influence will be more. If he doesn’t, he’ll still have a major role in setting the party agenda and priorities. He is currently 74 years old, and will be 75 by inauguration day.
Barack Obama is finishing a 2-term presidency. He has been the leader of the Democratic party for the last 8 years. By nearly any measure, within the Democratic party, he has been wildly successful. However, after being POTUS, there isn’t generally much left to do, politically. If he is not actively engaged in any political office or candidacy, he’s unlikely to continue as a leader, though he’ll likely retain significant influence (see: Bill Clinton). He is currently 54, and will be 55 by inauguration day.
Joe Biden is finishing his second term as Vice President. He has been in a leadership position in the Democratic party in some aspects since the early 80s, and by almost any measure since at least his 1988 Presidential candidacy. He was pushed to run for president this year, but declined for a variety of reasons (son’s death, stress of candidacy, what have you). That means he has been in a leadership role for the party for almost 30 years. He is currently 73, and will be 74 by inauguration day.
18 Governor’s offices are currently held by the Democrats. These Governors vary in age from 45 years old to 78 years old. Those not in their first term vary in age from 55 years old to 78 years old. The median age is 60 years old, with only three under 55.
|Harry Reid||Senate Leader||76|
|Dick Durbin||Assistant Leader||71|
|Chuck Schumer||Vice Chair of the Conference and Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center||65|
|Patty Murray||Secretary of the Conference||65|
|Debbie Stabenow||Vice Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center||65|
|Amy Klobuchar||Chair of Steering and Outreach Committee||55|
|Elizabeth Warren||Strategic Policy Advisor to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee||66|
|Mark Warner||Policy Development Adviser to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee||61|
|Jon Tester||Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee||59|
|Nancy Pelosi||Democratic Leader||76|
|Steny Hoyer||Democratic Whip||76|
|James Clyburn||Assistant Democratic Leader||75|
|Xavier Bacerra||Democratic Caucus Chairman||58|
For the sake of putting those ages in perspective, the Republicans are investing in youth at many levels of leadership.
- Ted Cruz is a current candidate for US President. He is 45 years old.
- John Kasich is a current candidate for US President. He is 63 years old.
- Paul Ryan is Speaker of the House and the 2012 Vice Presidential candidate. He is 46 years old.
- Kevin McCarthy is the House Majority Leader. He is 51 years old.
- Steve Scalise is the House Majority Whip. He is 50 years old.
- Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the House Republican Conference Chairman. She is 46 years old.
- Luke Messer is the Republican Policy Committee Chairman. He is 47 years old.
- Mitch McConnell is the Senate Majority Leader. He is 74 years old.
- John Cornyn is the Senate Majority Whip. He is 64 years old.
- John Thune is the Senate Republican Conference Chair. He is 55 years old.
- John Barrasso is the Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman. He is 63 years old.
- Roger Wicker is the Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He is 64 years old.
- Roy Blunt is the Vice Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He is 66 years old.
- Reince Priebus is the RNC Chairman. He is 44 years old.
- 31 Governor’s offices are held by Republicans. They range from 45 years old to 74 years old. Those not in their first term very in age from 44 years old to 74 years old. The median age is 59 years old, with one under 45, three under 50, and eight under 55.
While the Republican Senate leadership would certainly fit in, age-wise with Democratic leadership, they are still younger.
So, the question is what the Democratic party is going to do about the future of their leadership? They have not one member of their legislative leadership nor one experienced governor under 55 years old. Half of their governors are over 60 years old, and the vast majority of their legislative leadership is 65 years old or older.
- What do you see as a plan for addressing this problem?
- Who do you see filling in upcoming leadership roles?
- Will this have any impact on the upcoming election?
- Anything else you can think about on this topic.