Monday, May 01, 2017


With Donald Trump in the White House, Democrats are feeling energized and ready for battle. It's becoming harder to write the usual Democrats-in-disarray story. But Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin of The New York Times have found a new Democratic problem: the potential for intergenerational squabbling.
A vast array of Democratic leaders, divided by generations but uniformly emboldened by President Trump’s perceived vulnerability, have begun taking palpable steps toward seeking the White House in an election that is still three and a half years away.

In a largely leaderless party, two distinct groups are emerging, defined mostly by age and national stature. On one side are three potential candidates approaching celebrity status who would all be over 70 years old on Election Day: [former vice president Joe] Biden, and Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

All three are fiery speakers inclined toward economic populism, and they have urged the Democratic Party to shift in that direction since its defeat in November....

Competing against the Democrats’ senior cohort is a large and relatively shapeless set of younger candidates who span the ideological spectrum....

In the Senate alone, as much as a quarter of the Democrats’ 48-member caucus are thought to be giving at least a measure of consideration to the 2020 race, among them Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kamala Harris of California. All are closer to 40 than 80....

Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, a 38-year-old veteran of the Iraq war who has been a pointed critic of Mr. Trump, has not ruled out running in private conversations. High-profile city executives — like Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, 46, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans, 56, who did a tour of cable shows last week after overseeing the initial removal of Confederate statues from his city — may also consider the race....

Democratic power brokers acknowledge that the field could grow further after the 2018 elections if a backlash against Mr. Trump brings a throng of new faces into high office.
So the last time I looked, Democrats had nothing going for them but "aging stalwarts." Democrats had "no bench." Now they may have too many presidential candidates in 2020?

And I question the taxonomy here. Sanders and Warren are economic populists, and Biden talks populist some of the time -- but he's also a former senator from a banking state. If he's the nominee, will Bernie-or-Busters automatically flock to him?

Also, is this really a generational war? I can imagine supporting one of the old candidates or one of the younger candidates. Age won't matter to me in this race. (If you think age is a disqualifier for Sanders, Biden, or even Warren, then do you also want Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who's older than all of them, to resign?) The "aging stalwarts" argument implied that a party with an old presidential candidate is a party in decline, but the two most zeitgeist-shifting Republican presidential candidates of the past forty years, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, were old. Sanders has had a profound impact on the Democratic Party, and he's old -- an old guy admired by young voters. On the other hand, I'm intrigued by several of the younger candidates.

I don't remember the Republican primary race in 2016 being described this way, even though Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were nearly thirty years younger than the eventual nominee. In each case, the out party ran a lot of candidates. Some were old and some weren't. No big deal.

But there's always going to be something wrong with the Democratic Party, according to the media. If there's a real problem, it's Bernieites vs. Hillaryites, even though plenty of voters were prepared throughout 2016 to support either one, and now would like the infighting to stop. The press will write about that. But the press will write about this non-problem, too,

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