On Wednesday, Democrats almost unanimously gave the go – ahead for their party to be led by the same disasters which led them to the slaughter earlier in the month. Nancy Pelosi will maintain her speaker’s gavel in January (she says it will be her last which is likely after her party loses its majority in 2022) and Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn will reprise their roles as her major deputies. What do they all have in common? They are all over 80. Put another way, they are twelve years older than the median Democrat.
All three have been in politics for decades and have a locked in view of American politics. Even, after Trump, it seems they are immune to sensing changing political winds. For example, when warned Democrats had an enthusiasm problem they shrugged it off because of what the outdated polls.
Hardly any Democrat seems to be in love with the trio. On a conference call the day after the election, moderates fought with progressives over messages of “socialism” and “defunding the police.” Pelosi and her team offered little guidance. Even if a venting sesh, it was hardly productive and exposed deep and ugly splits between the party’s mostly white, suburban moderates and urban POC progressives.
Barring a miracle for President Trump, next year, the country will be led by a 78 year old President, an 81 year old Speaker and a 78 Senate Leader. These people will hold significant power to shape the course of a country in which the median age is 38 and will have authorized and supported many of the things the average American has turned against.
Just look at Joe Biden. The Democrat has supported legal segregation, school bussing programs, the War on Drugs, NAFTA, the Iraq War, Cash for Clunkers, the list goes on. Nancy Pelosi is arguably worse considering she has actually led her Caucus for years and been instrumental in the passage of major policy shifts like NAFTA (Biden just voted yes). Good ole’ Mitch, well, he is supply – sider through and through, and as a result has supported many of the same policies.
Truly, the only difference between this trio is on cultural issues which until the 80’s did not seem to be a major fault line in American politics. But, as media has proliferated, as the Coasts have gotten more liberal and elitist, as almost every major institution in America has become more technocratic, cultural issues have become the dividing line in American politics.
It was not until 2016 we saw the true repercussions of 2008 when rural areas of the country rose up and voted in mass for a man hardly worthy of their support. But, he spoke for broken factories, rising inequality, a new elitist class which only asked for your vote and then forgot you, and more. It was in this climate we finally saw the toll the Economic Crisis of 2008 had taken.
Combined with social, demographic and generational change, the shockwaves are rippling through our politics. But, the people who will set the course of the country to navigate them all have a locked in view of politics set in a pre 2000 mindset.
I mean, where to start? Mitch McConnell thinks Americans primary concern is the deficit at a time when a pandemic is killing 250K people and unemployment is taking a toll on the entire nation (no, that is not sarcasm). Nancy Pelosi thinks the nation is clamoring for higher taxes on the wealthy and a bail out of poorly managed states (those same states all tried to raise taxes on the wealthy and even those who were not wealthy said no). Apparently Colorado voting to lower its income tax rate while voting for Joe Biden is a fluke. As for Biden, well, I am not sure anybody knows what he thinks.
If Biden’s cabinet is any indication though, it will be a repeat of the neo – liberal agenda we saw from Obama after his reelection in 2012. His proposed Cabinet reads like a “Cabinet from hell” and his promise to return America to a “kinder” time sounds like the ramblings of an old grandpa.
Maybe, I am moving to far away from the title of the article but the upshot is this group of older leaders is simply incapable of grappling with the issues plaguing America. Forget they all played a hand in creating them but they all ran campaigns based on yester – years themes. Biden’s campaign arguably was a flip minus the pandemic, McConnell ran his Caucus like the free market capitalist he is and Nancy Pelosi thought running a redux of 2018 on healthcare would win the day.
None of these leaders have the faintest understanding of how so many forces are pulling at the fabric of the country. One thing is clear from the direction Biden’s cabinet nods seem to be indicating – if he governs Obama circa 2012 he will open the door for a massive shift in the country’s direction in 2024 and open the door for another Trump to rise up.
Imagine a campaign where Kamala Harris is running against an anti – establishment, populist Republican. In that instance, all bets are off. The arguments will fly past each other as one candidate argues for restraining the elitist, technocratic elite on all levels and the other talks about identity politics and all it entails. Meanwhile, the media and campaigns will still be talking about the same old issues of taxes, abortion, etc. while voters assimilate a very different message. Nobody knows what would happen. I won’t even hazard a guess.
But, one thing I do know is America’s leaders of the House, regardless of their partisan affiliation, are to damn old! America is changing and that means they need to go!