As the Presidential race begins, and it has started already, like it or not, it is clear that Hillary Clinton, who will be 69 in 2016, and Joe Biden, who will be 74 in 2016, are the frontrunners, and that Hillary is using up most of the oxygen in the room, way ahead of Biden in polls, with other potential Democratic candidates in single digits.
But despite the confidence and optimism about Hillary and even Joe as a backup, there is a growing case for the argument that the Democratic Party should bypass both Hillary and Joe, no matter how much one may love or admire either of them, and go for a new generation of Democrats, as was done in 1960 with John F. Kennedy, in 1976 with Jimmy Carter, in 1992 with Bill Clinton, and 2008 with Barack Obama!
All of these successful Democratic Presidential winners were young–43, 52, 46, and 47 respectively at the time of the inauguration. All were younger than their GOP opponents, although Richard Nixon was only four years older, but represented a continuation of Dwight D. Eisenhower, our oldest President at the time when he retired in 1961!
But Jimmy Carter was eleven years younger than Gerald Ford; Bill Clinton 22 years younger than George H. W. Bush; and Barack Obama 25 years younger than John McCain!
The fact is ONLY three Presidents were inaugurated at age 65 or older—William Henry Harrison at age 68 and dying a month later; James Buchanan at age 65 but only 50 days short of age 66, and rated by many historians the worst President in American history; and Ronald Reagan, inaugurated at just weeks before his 70th and 74th birthday, and judged by many to have deteriorated mentally, with early Alzheimers in his second term of office!
And we have seen Bob Dole defeated at age 73 in 1996; John McCain defeated at age 72 in 2008; and Mitt Romney, defeated at age 65 inn 2012, but also about 50 days short of age 66 if he had been inaugurated, the same exact age as Buchanan was when he won in 1856!
Meanwhile, the Republican Party future is clearly in the hands of young politicians, including Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, and others, with these candidates being mostly in their 40s and 50s, and all younger than Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden!
Historically, in most elections, the younger candidate wins, and the party of the President usually does not do well if it utilizes someone connected with the administration leaving office, no matter what level of popularity reigns when that President leaves office, as witness:
Richard Nixon lost after Eisenhower
Hubert Humphrey lost after Lyndon B. Johnson
Gerald Ford lost after Richard Nixon
Walter Mondale lost after Jimmy Carter
Al Gore lost after Bill Clinton
If Hilary Clinton runs, she represents Obama’s foreign policy record, for good or for bad, and also brings back the good and the bad of the Presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton.
If Joe Biden runs, he represents what happens to a Vice President under a President, that the negatives of that President harm the Vice President, as with Nixon, Humphrey, Ford, Mondale, and Gore.
Only George H. W, Bush was able to overcome this hex, and succeed Ronald Reagan in 1988, although then losing reelection in 1992, the greatest percentage loss of any President in American history, except William Howard Taft in 1912!
It is reality that Democrats will be heavily favored in the Electoral College in 2016, no matter who runs, but it would be easier for a “New”, younger Democrat to be the Presidential nominee, such as Martin O’Malley, Andrew Cuomo, KIrsten Gilllibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Deval Patrick, Mark Warner, John Hickenlooper, or Elizabeth Warren, all of whom are much younger than Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, with the exception of Warren, who would be 67 in 2016, which makes her a less ideal candidate based upon age!
It is important for Democrats to think carefully before they decide for a continuation of the Obama Presidency through Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, as nominating someone younger and separated from the Obama Administration would be preferable, and easier for the grueling campaign ahead!