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Election 2016: The Final Battle between Boomers and Gen X

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The Republican primary election of 2016 is shaping up to be epic struggle between two polar opposite factions: Baby Boomers and Generation X. Boomers are huddled in their well-established, entitled stronghold, thinking it’s still their time, but Xers are laying siege to the walls and splintering the gates with a troll-driven flaming battering ram. There is very little overlap, and the choice has never been more stark, as a comparative timeline of a cross-section of the candidates demonstrates.

The Boomer candidates were all born between 1951 (Ben Carson) and 1959 (Rick Santorum). None of them have held office since 2007. They’ve never campaigned against an Obama electorate. The Iraq War was still in climax when they left office, and some never even held office at all (Carson, Fiorina). In fact, the last time some of them won reelection, in 2002, we hadn’t even started the Iraq War yet.

They haven’t had to vote for or implement a public budget since the stimulus, Obamacare, or sequestration. They will all have been out of direct contact with current policy considerations for exactly a decade when the next president takes office in 2017.

The one major exception to this grouping is Rick Perry, who would actually be the oldest Republican candidate if/when he declares, but was in office until just this January. But given his performance in the last presidential contest, opinions on considering him seriously this time vary.

The Gen X candidates, on the other hand, were all born between 1963 (Rand Paul, 2 years early) and 1971 (Marco Rubio). They are all at least 15 years younger than Hillary Clinton and all still in office. Some have only held office since 2010, others without missing a day since the 1990s. Some are even They have all had to deal directly with current events rather than just preaching about them from afar, and will continue to do so in their current offices until Inauguration Day 2017.

The policy preferences of these two generations don’t constrast as clearly as their ages and careers,however. There are soft speakers and fire-breathers in both generations, moderates and social conservatives as well. With such a wide field of ideological diversity among a young, vibrant generation and an older, more out-of-touch generation, why would we settle for the latter?

To paraphrase the orc flinging severed heads over the battlements, and never mind how it actually turned out… The age of Boomers is over. The time of Gen X has come. (Let’s just hope the upstart Milennials don’t come to the battle late and ride them down.)


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