Revenge of the Boomers
Eight years ago — eight years ago! — we made a Bold Proclamation about a generational shift in American politics:
This fall, we’re taking over the country. The torch has been passed to a new generation, and this time it’s personal. It’s the Barry & Sarah Show, hosted by Jon Stewart, fortysomethings all. Joe and John will have walk-on parts, but they’re both irrelevant to the story. It’s our world now, and you kids will just have to deal with it.
And eight years later, we’re faced with a choice between Hillary Clinton (b.1947) and Donald Trump (b.1946).
What the hell happened?
In Hillary’s case, the answer is simple: Everybody except an Avowed Socialist and a couple of fourth-stringers was scared shitless to run against her — never mind that the conditions were similar in 2008, allowing a really “unelectable” candidate to reveal how electorally weak she really was.
And in Trump’s case, it wasn’t for lack of trying, but lack of succeeding: After decades of fomenting White Resentment, the GOP was Shocked! that somebody else came along to harvest it.
You could say that both nominations are the result of timidity: the timidity of opponents who were afraid to confront one, or even run against the other.
Whatever the cause, we’re stuck with them for the next six months, and one of them for at least the following four years, and the fortysomethings of eight years ago are now fiftysomethings who will be sixtysomethings before we see daylight again, and you’ll forgive us a twinge of empathy for Prince Charles, who’s been waiting forever for his older generation to just kick off and let go.
At which point the Millennials are just going to take over anyway. But that’s life in the cracks of the demographic sidewalk.