Election 2014

Election Brings In a Less Geezeriffic Senate

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In my day, all graphs started at zero and we liked it!
Source: Washington Post

Our next Senate is going to be as fresh-faced and new as a midlife crisis, a youthening down of the crankypants "Get off our lawn!" current class. Once upon a time, our leaders in Congress tended to be middle-aged. But they've aged along with the rest of the country and refused to die or just go away and get a fancy consulting or lobbying gig in the private sector. Now the average age in the Senate is 62. This new crop voted in Tuesday though averages 16 years younger, as more Gen Xers make their way into the corridors of powers as elected officials, not just aides and consultants. From the Associated Press:

Four of the new senators are under 50, boosting a small contingent of Generation X members in the upper chamber. Gen Xers follow baby boomers and were born from the early 1960s to the early 1980s.

At 37, Republican Sen.-elect Tom Cotton of Arkansas is the youngest incoming senator, while Republican David Perdue of Georgia, 64, is the oldest. The average age of the new senators is 50, compared with 66 for the lawmakers they are replacing. All but one of the 11 are Republicans.

I love how they feel the need to explain who Gen Xers are because nobody talks about them or remembers anymore. The younger blood in Congress is not limited to the Senate:

Elise Stefanik, a 30-year-old New York Republican, is the youngest woman ever elected to the House. Also making history is Mia Love, 38, whose election to a suburban Salt Lake City district made her the first black female Republican to win a seat in Congress.

The Washington Post wonders how the newcomers, some of whom say they're more interested in problem-solving than partisan bickering, will deal with the current nature of Senate politics:

After a series of wave elections, retirements and deaths, there are far fewer veterans who saw those dealmaking times up close. When the new class takes office, half of all senators will have joined since 2008, in an era dominated by partisan gridlock.

The leaders who presided over the Senate's descent into inaction — Sens. Mitch McConnell (R) and Harry M. Reid (D) — will also be its leaders yet when the freshmen arrive. All they will probably do is switch places, with McConnell taking over Reid's role as majority leader and Reid becoming leader of the minority.

Still, McConnell has said that he will restore the Senate to its old ways. And the makeup of the new class was enough to make some current senators hopeful that things would really change.

The possibility of a Senate that actually "gets things done" is a good excuse to remind that we might not actually want some of these things to get done. Just prior to the election, Veronique de Rugy detailed some of the conservative love for big government from these Republican Senate freshmen. Read up on them here.

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  1. DeRugy’s article is pretty weak sauce. Mostly it is “they want to bring home the pork” which everyone in Congress including Ron Paul always has and “I won’t vote to destroy social security, medicare or (if its a rural state) farm subsidies”.

    That certainly disqualifies them from the Libertarian club. I don’t see, however, how that prevents them from being an improvement over the Democrats. Are they promising single payer? A real progressive tax system? A $15 federal minimum wage? Having the government make fossil fuels to expensive to use?

    1. That certainly disqualifies them from the Libertarian club.

      It also disqualifies them from the fiscal conservative club.

      1. It’s good that we have a choice between public social security, medicare + farm subsidies and all that stuff PLUS single payer minimum wage hikes and energy cronyism.

  2. I love how they feel the need to explain who Gen Xers are because nobody talks about them or remembers anymore.

    I’m not sure; what do Millenials think about this?

    1. Gen Xers are irrelevant. They’re kind of like the forgotten middle child.

      1. I think they’re more like the only child latchkey kid. If they died, it’d take a few weeks for anyone to notice.

        (I was born in ’72)

        1. How apropos, since we were the first latchkey kids, I believe.

      2. The “Unknown” Generation.

      3. You could literally see the wave of attention that the media paid to us come and go in something like an afternoon. “Heyyyyy, Gen X, cool–wanna buy something? Ohhh, there’s only a couple dozen of ya? Never mind.”

    2. I was just thrilled to be referred to as young[er] blood.

  3. I certainly want to see the Senate get busy doing unnecessary and counterproductive things, just so Joe Scarborough can once more hold his his head up and be a proud limousine liberal Republican.

  4. Electing 30-49 year olds also means they’ll be there even longer since the re-election rates of incumbents is 90%. So when the RNC was joking about a 100 year majority in the House, they were only half-kidding.

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