Average Age Of Presidents Is 55: Should Democrats Choose A Younger Nominee?

The Democratic Party faces a quandary: Should they choose a younger nominee as more likely to attract younger voters?

Three times in the past half century, the Democrats picked a much younger nominee than the Republicans:

1976 Jimmy Carter 11 years younger than Gerald Ford

1992 Bill Clinton 22 years younger than George H. W. Bush

2008 Barack Obama 25 years younger than John McCain

All three of those Republicans were far less provocative and controversial than is Donald Trump.

Is nominating someone (Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden) who is older than Donald Trump a wise choice?

Is nominating someone only a few years younger (Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper) a wise choice?

Or would it be far better to nominate someone much younger than Trump to attract younger voters, particularly millennials, someone in their 50s or 40s as a multitude of potential nominees are (ranging from Amy Klobuchar at age 60 down to Pete Buttigieg at age 39)–and including women, minorities, and a gay man to move the nation forward in the 21st century, with a greater guarantee that they will live out their one or two terms in the White House?

This is what Democrats in upcoming caucuses and primaries next year have to come to grips with, with no easy answer as to what should occur!

3 comments on “Average Age Of Presidents Is 55: Should Democrats Choose A Younger Nominee?

  1. D May 30, 2019 2:53 pm

    I disagree with the premise of giving consideration for whom to vote the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination based on demographic categories. The focus should not be on demographics.

    After Barack Obama won his 2008 Democratic pickup of the presidency of the United States, people looked at the demographics—like with Hispanics—but failed to keep in mind, with the next cycle in which the presidency flipped Republican (which turned out to be 2016 and Donald Trump), that demographics of voters can (and, in 2016, they did) shift away from the Democratic Party.

    They did this, to name an example, with 18–29 voters in 2016. One of the reason why 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton failed to hold Wisconsin, in the party’s column from 1988 to 2012, was because she severely underperformed with the states’s 18–29 voters. Obama, with re-election in 2012, won Wisconsin 18–29 voters with 60 to the 37 percent for Mitt Romney. That was an actual match to the national numbers. (Obama won the U.S. Popular Vote by +3.86 percentage points.) That was +23 points for Obama. In 2016, Hillary received 55 to the 36 percent for Trump from 18–29 voters nationwide. A margin of +19. Down 4 points from 2012 Obama. (That was enough to be suggestive of losing the U.S. Popular Vote. She went from Obama’s +3.86 to +2.09, a national Republican shift of 1.77.) In 2016 Wisconsin, Hillary carried 18–29 voters with 47 to the 44 percent for Trump. A margin of +3. Party-support decline, from 2012 to 2016, of –18. (In 2016 Wisconsin, she actually lost voters broken down in the range of 18 to 24 with 43 to the 45 percent for Trump.)

    This was demonstrated, with white voters nationwide, in the Democratic presidential pickup year of 2008. In 2004, Republican incumbent U.S. president George W. Bush carried whites nationwide with 58 to the 41 percent for John Kerry. A margin of +17. (Bush won the U.S. Popular Vote by +2.46 percentage points.) In 2008, when John McCain failed to hold the White House in his Republican Party’s column, he carried whites nationally with 55 to the 43 percent for Democratic pickup winner Barack Obama. A margin of +12. That means the 2004-to-2008 national shift with whites was Democratic/Obama +5. This certainly played a role in McCain failing to not only hold the White House in the Republican column but also the U.S. Popular Vote.

    The point is this: It is not the demographics of the candidate that determines who and which political party wins an election. It is the situation. The national situation. And it is also the type of election. 2008 and 2016 were elections with term-limited U.S. presidents which forced the elections of new U.S. presidents. Since the 1950s, only once did a party win a third consecutive presidential election—the Republicans in the 1980s—so, every time a new president was elected, we switch the White House party. What people who are not wanting to see re-election for Trump are doing is trying to figure out how to unseat Trump. That leads to asking, “With whom?” People should also ask, “With what?” The answer may be that there is next to no way to achieve this. Trump has about 90 percent approval from his own party. That means he is as good as 100 percent likely to win re-nomination, at the least. (Trump also majority approval on his handling of the economy.) What the 2020 Democrats, if they are to succeed in unseating Trump, need to do is nominate a candidate who actually represents change—and one who is authentic—but not just change in the country, with policies to take the nation and its people in a different direction, but one who will also deliver change in how his or her political party operates. That happened with the examples of 20th-century U.S. presidential challengers who unseated incumbent U.S. presidents. Franklin Roosevelt’s Democratic Party changed after he unseated Herbert Hoover in 1932. Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party changed after he unseated Jimmy Carter in 1980. Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party changed after he unseated George Bush in 1992. If the 2020 Democrats unseat Donald Trump, well with regard for the party divide that has played out since at least 2016, they will not achieve this without a candidate and nominee who represents change for his or her party. Right now, the corporate Democratic Party Establishment wants to make sure no real progressives have meaningful positions let alone control in the party. With Tom Perez’s 2017 election as DNC chair, following the previously elected and disgracefully corrupt Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Bill Clinton told Tom Perez—whose election to his position was arranged by the Clintons and Barack Obama—to make sure the Bernie Sanders people do not get control of the Democratic Party. That is what Perez has been doing. And, if we get yet another hollow corporatist as the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, we will see re-election for Trump. If this manifest, it would render the writings and talks, with a focus on the particular demographics of a potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, an utter joke.

  2. Former Republican May 30, 2019 5:18 pm

    Speaking of the topics of demographics and Trump lying –

    A Practical Joke Or Wishful Thinking From the Trump Campaign


    Someone from the 2020 Trump campaign talked to Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene of Axios recently. They told the reporters that a digital campaign is being developed to boost support for the president among African Americans, Hispanics, and suburban women. I kid you not! They went on to provide examples of the kind of messaging they’ll use with each group.

    Across the board, the campaign plans to play up the strong economy and historic low unemployment.

    For Hispanics: They’ll emphasize that Trump supports school choice and expanding educational opportunities.

    For African Americans: The campaign will tout that how Trump supports health care policies that protect patients with pre-existing conditions. They’ll also play up the administration’s success on criminal justice reform.

    For suburban women: They’ll focus on how the “energy revolution” has made energy more affordable, creates jobs, and reduced carbon emissions. They’ll also highlight how the president supports dedicating $500 million over the next 10 years to fund childhood cancer research and therapies.

    Frankly, I suspect that someone in the Trump campaign was just trying to have a little laugh at the expense of the Axios reporters, because it is impossible to take any of that seriously.

    In terms of the big picture, Trump has always catered exclusively to his white base of supporters. He does that by attacking the very groups identified above, making them the enemy that must be feared. His rhetoric about Hispanics and African Americans includes words like “rapists,” “criminals,” “s–hole countries,” and “very fine people on both sides” of a pro versus anti white supremacy demonstration.

    Suburban women aren’t going to quickly forget that the pussy-grabbing misogynist embraced Russian help to win the electoral college, defeating the most qualified person to ever run for president—who also happened to be a woman.

    Let’s also not forget that, like every other sentient being on the planet, Hispanics, African Americans, and suburban women are able to see that Trump is a narcissistic bully and a pathological liar who is mentally unfit for office.

    But let’s get back to those messages someone in the Trump campaign came up with. It doesn’t take a political junkie to know that, rather than supporting healthcare policies that protect people with pre-existing conditions, Trump collaborated with congressional Republicans in an attempt to repeal Obamacare and take away those protections.

    How about that whopper these folks suggested they’d tell to suburban women? The guy who thinks climate change is a hoax and has done everything in his power to roll back the efforts of the Obama administration to address the issue will now try to tell us that he launched some kind of “energy revolution” that will reduce carbon emissions. Puhleeze!

    Seriously… I don’t think Trump gives a s— about winning the votes of Hispanics, African Americans, or suburban women. As I said, this is more than likely a joke rather than a serious leak to the reporters at Axios. Either that or it’s a fantasy from someone involved in the Trump campaign who knows that this is the kind of thing the president would need to do in order to get re-elected, so they sent out a pack of lies on a wing and a prayer.

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