Age Vs Youth: Will The Republicans And Democrats Be Switching On Their Presidential Nominees In 2016?

When one analyzes the two major political parties in the past forty years, it has been a general reality that the Republican Party has run Presidential candidates who tend to be much older than the Democratic Party nominees for President.

Witness Richard Nixon, nine years older than George McGovern in 1972; Gerald Ford eleven years older than Jimmy Carter in 1976; Ronald Reagan thirteen years older than Jimmy Carter in 1980; Reagan seventeen years older than Walter Mondale in 1984; George H. W. Bush eight years older than Michael Dukakis in 1988; Bush twenty two years older than Bill Clinton in 1992; Bob Dole twenty three years older than Clinton in 1996; John McCain twenty five years older than Barack Obama in 2008; and Mitt Romney fourteen years older than Obama in 2012. Only in 2000 and 2004 did we see George W. Bush older than Al Gore by only two years and in 2004 actually younger than John Kerry by three years.

This phenomenon is maybe just a coincidence, but it has often been said that the Democrats go for youth and the Republicans for experience in their Presidential nominees.

Well, if that is the case, it is about to be switched dramatically in 2016 if one assumes that either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden are the likely front runners for the Democratic Presidential nomination, as Hillary will be 69 in 2016, and Joe will be 74 in 2016. Clinton would be the second oldest first time nominee, behind Ronald Reagan, and Biden would be the oldest first time nominee.

The Republicans are certain to nominate a candidate decades younger, such as Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, or Ted Cruz, all born in the early 1970s, being therefore mid 40s in 2016. If you consider Chris Christie, Scott Walker, or John Thune, they were born in the 1960s, so would be in the mid 50s. Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann all were born in the 1950s, so would be in their late 50s or in the 60s. There is no candidate born in the 1940s seriously mentioned, unless one expects Newt Gingrich to try again for the Presidency, being just a year younger than Joe Biden and four years older than Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats have alternative possible candidates in Martin O’Malley and Amy Klobuchar born in the early 1960s, so either would be mid 50s in 2016, but Andrew Cuomo and Mark Warner, born in the mid 1950s would be nearing or at the age of 60 when running in 2016, and Elizabeth Warren, born in 1949, would be 67 in 2016, only about two years younger than Hillary Clinton.

So we are seeing a likely switch from an older to younger Republican nominee, and a younger to an older Democratic nominee, and the difference in years could be massive, as it was in the past forty years in most Presidential elections.

A final thought: In the nine elections between 1972 and 2012 when the GOP nominee was always older than the Democratic nominee, the Republicans won the election four times, and the Democrats five times, so basically, trying to determine whether age or youth are an advantage is clearly a pure guessing game!