The Very Gray Democratic Party

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100 Responses

  1. Avatar Kazzy says:

    “…Democratic politician seems much older…”

    Before we go further, why not crunch the numbers and figure out if this is actually true or just seems true?Report

    • Avatar aaron david says:

      There does “seem” to be some heavy lifting going on…Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      This is not a complete overview of all party politicians, but FWIW at least in Congress it appears to be the case. At least somewhat, anyway.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @tod-kelly

        Interesting chart. The Democratic Party skewed younger in Congress right after WWII (and presumably with people who became politically aware because of the Great Depression/New Deal) and in the post-Watergate/post-Vietnam but pre-Reagan era. The GOP is potentially young now because Ryan and Walker and company grew politically aware during the Reagan Revolution.

        Can you comment on how places and events like CPAC work to like recruiting events for the GOP?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @saul-degraw I suspect it’s something more basic than all of that.

        As I’ve noted many times before, despite the moniker of “conservative” the GOP is really the radical of the two parties these days, in as much as such of its fire is ruled by the hope of tearing down a multi-generational status quo in favor of something more Utopian.

        I think generally speaking the more radical the party, the younger it skews in leadership.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Remind me to throw something at a picture of Nate Silver later today for that chart.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “This also seems to support Saul’s sense of the landscape.”

        Though per that article, a 50 year old is a “40-something” when that person’s a Republican (Christie and Paul) , but not when he or she is a Democrat (O’Malley)

        (It’s also a bit strange that Wasserman Schultz got no ink love in that piece, she may not quite have been ascending anymore, but her reputation and power was nowhere near its current nadir back in the summer of 2013)Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        Lee came up with the interesting observation that yonger people on the Left might be more interested in Street politics than Party politics. Occupy vs. Young Republicans. Protests vs. Working through a very imperfect system made up of very imperfect people.

        @chris

        Throw something at a picture of Nate Silver today. If it gives you more rage, he also thinks San Francisco has the best burritos.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I don’t care what he thinks about anything. I do care that he produced a horrible chart. Any data person should know better.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Saul, anecdata alert, but while I don’t know about “younger people today”, back when I was in college, there were some definite differences between the College Republicans and College Democrats. The former had actually been disbanded by the university prior to my arrival and was only reformed my third or fourth year, so (because of that and my evolving politics) I spent the first couple of years hanging out with the College Democrats and the latter two with (mostly) the College Republicans.

        Night and day. The CDs very much seemed to be “Hey, this is bad, we should protest” while the CR’s were “Hey, this is bad. We should invite local Republicans to come speak about it.” The former was full of the sorts of people you’d more expect to vote for Nader than Gore (and I suspect some of them did), while the latter was full of Alex P Keatons.

        This is broad-stroke stereotyping, but I remember being a bit taken aback at the time by the very different cultures.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Hey Chris!

        Don’t forget to throw something at a picture of Nate Silver.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        To be clear, I wasn’t implying that Saul was wrong. Just that age is something very easy to quantify and knowing not only IF the Democratic party skews older but, if so, by how much and other details, we can do a much more interesting analysis of the issue.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @will-truman

        College Democrats at Vassar was very much about the Democratic Party but that was probably because the campus skews left and the big debate was Nader or Gore and not Gore or Bush II. The number of Vassar students who voted for Bush II in 2000 is negligible. O knew some people who were conservative or libertarian but they have all become liberal-progressives now.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @kazzy Oh, I didn’t think you were. Your question just made me decide to google.

        FTR, my concern for the Dems is different but tangential to Saul’s OP. I think they have less of an age problem than they do a relying too much on the Clinton Machine problem.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        You get to keep your purity when you protest even if you don’t get to change the world. When you run for elected office, all sorts of compromises must be made from the campaign onward. You need to be able to survive an election. Unless your in a very safe Democratic district, this means adopting a more moderate rhetoric than an activist and looking more clean-cut and professional. Republican districts are more safer so the rhetoric doesn’t need to be turned down so much. Since liberal and progressive politics usually involve making laws rather than doing nothing or repealing existing structures, you need to negotiate and compromise a lot to get things done. In activism, no compromise is necessary. You just make your demands for a better world.

        I suspect that the reality of politics is more distressful for a young liberal than a young conservative.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “I suspect that the reality of politics is more distressful for a young liberal than a young conservative.”

        If my eyes were rolling any harder, I could use them to cut the new sewer line in the front yard and save myself 5 large.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Saul, my alma mater leaned to the left, but was considerably more ideologically balanced than yours. I do know some college acquaintances that have moved to the left, and almost none that have moved to the right. I suspect that most of those who were passionate enough to show up regularly to College Republicans/Democrats are probably still committed to their respective sides.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Will,
        my school had an Objectivist Club (yes, they were idiots).

        AFAIK, the College Democrats were good for free pizza. And Quinto.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        “FTR, my concern for the Dems is different but tangential to Saul’s OP. I think they have less of an age problem than they do a relying too much on the Clinton Machine problem.”

        It is pretty clear that HRC is the second zombie candidate of the century (first being McCain.) What is truly fascinating is watching the left descend into internecine party warfare just as the right had when they were on the outs. I shall now call this Aaron’s Law of Out Party Politics, or A-law.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @aaron-david

        Reminds me of Jane’s Law: “The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.”Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        @chris You have a picture of Nate Silver to begin with?

        Throw something at it, then.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        “I shall now call this Aaron’s Law of Out Party Politics, or A-law.”

        Or better yet AA-law, because there are too few times in the English language you get to use the double-A, and if it’s to be Aaron’s Law we need to take advantage of the opportunity.Report

  2. Avatar Don Zeko says:

    Are the college republicans really a feeder for candidates? My totally unscientific impression is that heavy involvement in college Republicans or young democrats is typical of staff, not candidates.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Not necessarily feeder candidates but it seems that the Republican Party does take a closer interest in College Republicans than the Democratic Party does with College Democrats.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      I’ve seen articles on this but they were a while ago and now I am damned if I can google them but it is what Lee said. Young Republicans/College Republicans is much more connected to the GOP and future positions within the GOP (candidate or otherwise) than anything the Democratic Party had. There is a much stronger connection to the RNC and Young Republicans than there seemingly is to the DNC and the College Democrats.

      Conferences like CPAC seem much more like talent recruitment than NetRoots.Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    My guess is that somehow the Baby Boomer grip on positions is especially strong in the Democratic Party on a federal level. You have a lot of baby boomers intent on staying in office as long as possible because retiring means that your getting old. On the state or local level, I think there are a lot of younger Democratic politicians.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Or it could be that Democrats tend to have more women (remember Pelosi didn’t touch politics for a long time…), and People want Democrats with Gravitas.Report

  4. Avatar Chris says:

    Congress is a poor data source, as the vast (vast!) majority of elected office holders are at the state level. I wonder if there’s somewhere we can get the age for every state senator and representative in every state. If so, I bet we could figure out whether this is true, or just what so much political punditry is: hypotheses pulled out of asses to produce columns to meet deadlines.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      @chris I dunno.

      I agree that those who are recognized as national leaders/potential presidential fodder in the party isn’t everything. But I’d fall short of saying that it’s therefore nothing, or just something someone pulled out their ass.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I know that parties groom people, particularly for statewide and federal offices, but I wonder if the (pretty small) differences in Congress are a result of the Dems just grooming people longer.

        If you look at the chart you linked above, it looks like it may just be a function of who’s in control of Congress: a new party taking over will be younger than the party that’s been in control for a while, perhaps.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        That’s a really good point.Report

      • Avatar A Compromised Immune System says:

        @chris I read it similarly but not entirely. It’s not that a new party taking over will be younger, it’s that whichever party had the last wave will be younger, because the default mode for representatives inside of a safe district is to sit on their butts and get older and the only opportunity for younger candidates is in the more contested districts, where they won’t stay as long because they’ll be out on their butts in the next wave election.Report

  5. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    It’s pretty simple. There’s a whole right wing machine that’s nearly forty years old to build, create, and teach rising stars. You go straight from the College Republicans to a staff job at one of the zillion right-wing think tanks, foundations, or magazines, then you go work on a Senator’s staff, then you find a safe Republican seat (which there are more of, especially in red states) for the state legislature, then you find a safe congressional seat where the incumbent has said something kind of moderate.

    I’m not saying there’s the same kind of structure for the DNC being built, but it’s nowhere as complete or straight forward in the Democratic party or in the progressive movement. Plus, the most important thing – money. Billionaires who are liberals aren’t interested in building the same machine that the Scaife’s, Koch’s, and others have spent millions on, either because they don’t understand, or think they can build it otherwise.

    Plus, unfortunately, way too many liberals only show up for the Presidential elections, then get pissed off that a POTUS had to compromise from turning us into Sweden in two years, so ya’ don’t show up for the midterms, but ya’ know who does show up – the conservatives, for things like school boards, local elections, and so on.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      The hell does the Arkansas Group have to do with electing younger officials?
      Or the Tribune Review?
      Or the EFF?

      … Clinton gave the eulogy at Scaife’s funeral, believe it or not.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Another problem is that young conservatives and young liberals/progressives might be attracted to different types of politics. Young conservatives might find electoral and party politics more congenial than young liberals/progressives, you might find more attraction to advocacy and street politics.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Are parents more conservative than non-parents (all other things being equal)?

      My intuition is to say that they are. Parents probably have stuff like school boards more on their radar than non-parents do.

      If you know you’ll be voting anyway, you may as well vote for the other crap on the ballot.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @jaybird

        This is an old saw that has largely proven to be untrue:

        http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/frame_game/2013/06/pew_breadwinners_poll_do_marriage_and_parenthood_make_you_conservative_about.html

        My anecdotal experience also tells me that there are plenty of liberal parents. I grew up in a liberal suburb with liberal parents. I haven’t seen any of my friends become conservative yet but I have seen them become parents and often parents to more than one child.

        But generally I agree with you re School Board.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        Would your friends tell you they voted C.?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Saul, that doesn’t quite make the case you seem to think it does.

        [P]eople under 50 who didn’t have minor children—the true nonparents—diverged sharply from those who had kids. Compared to parents under 50, nonparents under 50 were less likely to say that working mothers made it harder to raise kids (62 vs. 79 percent), less likely to say that working mothers made it harder for marriages to succeed (38 vs. 56 percent), less likely to say that kids were better off if their mothers stayed home (36 vs. 47 percent), and less likely to call unwed motherhood a big problem (49 vs. 63 percent).

        I’m not sure these questions are the best proxy for “liberal” and “conservative”, though.

        I do think the case for a causal effect is likely stronger for “Being conservative means it’s more likely that you will have children” than “Having children makes you more conservative.” But that’s what Saletan was looking at, not what Jaybird was.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Whether parents are more conservative or liberal is sort of a silly question since so much would depend on how you define conservative or liberal. I’ve met plenty of very conservative parents who are completely fine with state provided medical care or think that spending more money on schools would be good ( both would considered liberal beliefs). Parents might very well be more positive about a social safety net where single people may not have thought about it much.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Meh. I think in the context of this conversation, votes Republican or votes Democrat is a fair enough proxy, and that’s an empirical question (and is not mutually exclusive with knowing lots of liberals with kids, or people who became liberal after having them).Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        It also seems to me that whether parenthood makes people more Republican or Democratic could also be demonstrated, to some degree. You’d just need to look at the same people over time. I’d be interested to know the results. I wouldn’t be surprised either way (ie the self-selection effect could be so large so as to negate a leftward drift). Parenthood has made me more liberal in some respects, and probably more conservative in others.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        We know that there’s has usually been a bit of a gap when it comes to the difference between polling and election results.

        It’s usually explained away by liberals having a GOTV problem that the Republicans are able to overcome (“liberals fall in love, conservatives fall in line”) but Aaron David makes me wonder if the problem isn’t GOTV but the difference in attitudes toward signaling that one is liberal vs. signaling that one is conservative.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        We know that there’s has usually been a bit of a gap when it comes to the difference between polling and election results.

        Not sure I’m sure what you’re referring to here.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Jay,
        yeah,I’m also unclear as to what you’re referring to.
        I’m pretty sure I know a ton of “conservatives” who voted for Obama. Some even in the primary.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Not sure I’m sure what you’re referring to here.

        In any given poll, if the results are 50/50, the Republicans tend to win 51-49 (or 49-51, whichever).

        Or, at least, that’s how it used to work back when I paid attention to this sort of thing.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        My father is one of the most conservative people I know, and he was a district delegate for Obama. On the other hand, when we talk about “liberals and conservatives”, we’re talking about a different spectrum than the one my father is conservative on.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        In any given poll, if the results are 50/50, the Republicans tend to win 51-49 (or 49-51, whichever).

        I don’t think that’s particularly true anymore, if it ever was. Polls err, but not reliably in either direction. So much of it is weighted modeling now. Which leads to more accurate results, though I fear one of these elections it may do a lot of damage.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @aaron-david

        My friends in the UK vote Labour 🙂

        More seriously, I think they would and they do. I do have plenty of libertarian friends who rag on the Democratic Party and do know some people who have complained when I’ve made potshots at Republicans a la Chait. I do know some people from high school and law school who are conservative and Republican and posted pro-Romney stuff in 2012 including people who supported the Cops over De Blasio over the NYC shooting and fights because of De Blasio’s criticism of the Garner Grand Jury decision.

        The woman I am seeing right now is not-American but she is more conservative than me and describes herself as being pro-Business. That being said, she does not like the social conservatism or religious nature of the Christian Right. She might be a Wall Street Democrat if she were American. She once rolled her eyes at me when I said I was pro-Labor Union.

        But if you look at Vassar College year books from 1980 or 1984, you will see an equal number of people wearing R and D buttons. You would not see this from 1996 onwards.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @will-truman

        Some of the most Republican people I have ever known were also the most hedonistic and party-hardy. Some of the most Liberal people I’ve known were the most personally conservative. I’ve had a lot of people call me one of the most liberal people they know but also remark about how conservative I am in my lifestyle choices and free-time preferences.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Saul,
        can’t help but think your friend got conservative confused with “boring”.
        (and I say that as someone whose life is surprisingly boring).Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Saul, I am sorta of the opinion if you had been born a WASP in Boise, or Nashville, your politics would be well right-of-center. Your lifestyle conservatism being a part of the reason for that.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @will-truman

        Maybe. Sure but isn’t that just an observation that we are formed by our birthplaces and family backgrounds?

        You could probably take a party-hard Young Republican and say he or she would be liberal if they were born Jewish and in the NYC-metro area instead of being born to a Christian family in South Carolina.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        When I think about people who don’t realize that we are formed by our birthplaces and family backgrounds, I think “there but for the grace of God go I.”Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        The party-hardy Republicans are nothing new. P.J. O’Rourke, from the opening essay of his 1978 compilation Republican Party Reptile:

        When it comes to taking chances, some people like to play poker or shoot dice; other people prefer to parachute-jump, go rhino hunting, or climb ice floes, while still others engage in crime or marriage. But I like to get drunk and drive like a fool. Name me, if you can, a better feeling than the one you get when you’re half a bottle of Chivas in the bag with a gram of coke up your nose and a teenage lovely pulling off her tube top in the next seat over while you’re going a hundred miles an hour down a suburban side street. You’d have to watch the entire Mexican air force crash-land in a liquid petroleum gas storage facility to match this kind of thrill. If you ever have much more fun than that, you’ll die of pure sensory overload, I’m here to tell you.

        If you read the essay further, you’ll see that it get even more intensely hedonistic than that. So this sort of thing is really nothing new. Republicans, at least a certain strain of them, can party.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Absolutely. I don’t think that is equally true of everybody. I think there is a lot about you specifically that lends itself to conservatism, but because of other aspects of your life, are roped to liberal pillars instead of conservative ones. Same certainly goes for the hard-partying Republican, and quite a few libertarians.

        On the other hand, I think Chris is Chris (for example) and the overall of his views would remain relatively constant. The same for Greg, Jaybird, Burt, Drew, and numerous others.

        For whatever it’s worth, I think I’m myself in between, but probably closer to you than to them.Report

    • Avatar A Compromised Immune System says:

      @jesse-ewiak , you’ve just described Scott Walker’s entire life.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      @jesse-ewiak

      “It’s pretty simple. There’s a whole right wing machine that’s nearly forty years old to build, create, and teach rising stars. You go straight from the College Republicans to a staff job at one of the zillion right-wing think tanks, foundations, or magazines, then you go work on a Senator’s staff, then you find a safe Republican seat (which there are more of, especially in red states) for the state legislature, then you find a safe congressional seat where the incumbent has said something kind of moderate.”

      This is largely what I meant by using College Republicans as a launching pad. We also have fewer left-wing orgs and those that exist are often independent on the Democratic Party or further to the left like Jacobin.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        Right. College Republican’s have a goal. College Democrat’s are so disorganized and pure that even a hardcore social democrat like me gets upset because they don’t understand the concept of marginal improvements – see the reason why I largely stopped visiting DailyKos outside of the DKE elections subblog sometime during the ’08 primaries.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        If the party is harmed by the Jacobin Left, maybe they should have an anti-Jacobin purge? If the case can be made that their actions effectively make them disloyal, I’m pretty sure that we can re-establish a more stable base of power to the benefit of citizens everywhere.

        Is there a precedent for this sort of thing?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Jesse,
        Kos is pretty well focused on marginal improvements. They’re the people cheering for Webb (and strickland, today). It’s MoveOn that tends to be pretty pyrrhic.
        [If nothing else, kos does grassroots, and I’ve really enjoyed listening to some of the more local blogs they link to.]Report

    • It seems worth mentioning that the only three Presidents of the post-New Deal era elected to that office before the age of 50 were all Democrats, with the last two Democratic Presidents being included in that group. This seems like a pretty notable datapoint for testing the theory that the GOP has an inherent and longstanding advantage in recruiting youthful candidates.

      It also seems worth noting that for much of the last 6 years, we’ve been talking about how the GOP was becoming the party of old white people and that it risked becoming a regional party because its base was literally starting to die off.

      The possibility that maybe it has a set of prominent young rising stars right now because of it actively and consciously trying to promote its young rising stars as a solution to this problem seems to be getting ignored here.

      In other words, it seems pretty likely to me that sometime around December 1, 2008, Republican officials at the state level started to take a look around at their party caucus meetings and said to themselves, “damn, we’re a grey party. Maybe that’s part of why we’ve been getting waxed the last few elections. We should probably recruit some younger candidates.”Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Adding to what @mark-thompson said, it’s also worth noting that Obama and Bill Clinton both seemed to come from pretty much nowhere to be elected. (Unless you count being noted as “that one guy that made that speech we all liked three years ago” as putting you on the inside track for POTUS, which I don’t.)Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

        @tod-kelly

        Unless you count being noted as “that one guy that made that speech we all liked three years ago” as putting you on the inside track for POTUS, which I don’t.

        Remember that Clinton was lampooned for his speech 1988. It made him well known, but a bit of a joke. He had to do a major-league rehab on his image.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        Um, Markos over at DailyKos was saying in late ’06 (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/12/05/277830/-2008-If-Obama-runs-he-wins), that if Obama runs, he wins.

        You’re really forgetting how pissed people were at Hillary over the Iraq War vote and her commitment to that vote.Report

  6. Avatar alkali says:

    Fundraising and GOTV. Dem candidates need a broader fundraising and GOTV base that takes decades to build. A GOP candidate can get going with just a few wealthy funders and will rely less on GOTV, because the GOP base voters are highly motivated voters.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I wonder how much of it also has to do with younger liberals/progressives/whatevers being more disenchanted, or at least less enchanted, with the Democratic party than young conservatives/quasi-libertarians are with the Republicans. I know that when I was younger, the young, politically active people I knew tended to hate the Democrats at the national level, though they might have thought some local folks were OK.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      Fundraising and GOTV.
      What’s the basis for this claim?

      According to Open Secrets (https://www.opensecrets.org/parties/) Dems out-raised and out-spent the Republicans in the 2014 elections.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        I’m just not talking about the elections. I’m talking about the years in between the elections, the small local elections that Democrat’s never turn out for, and everything else.

        The point is, it takes more money per vote to get the current Democratic coalition to vote for a variety of reasons than the current Republican coalition.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        This:

        I’m just not talking about the elections.

        doesn’t jive with this:

        …it takes more money per vote to get the current Democratic coalition to vote …

        Are you making a claim that can be verified or is this one of those, “it seems like…” points?Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      Man, I am having a lot of trouble with blockquotes today. Would appreciate some help on the above two comments.Report

    • Avatar A Compromised Immune System says:

      GOP candidates can also count on hooking in with various Tea Party groups for free campaign stops and getting lots of free media time from the talk radio machine. It’s one of the most egregious forms of campaign finance fraud available, entire networks built to literally do nothing but campaign advertisement off the official campaign books all election long.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        What the data shows is that most of the “tea party” groups are very close to outright scammers that make money for the people running them and give very little, if anything to candidates. They also focus on quixotic campaigns like drafting Ben Carson for president, (or hell, even RON PAUL! back in the day) and not more practical races like state delegates and local school boards. (there is, however, a completely different apparatus that does that and has been focused there for several decades now).Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        @kolohe This reminds me of the piece I read on the Beast over the weekend on the Tea Party News Network.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        @kolohe
        Do you have any links other than @tod-kelly s for your info on the Tea Party? It doesn’t seem to gel with what the few people on the ground that I know are saying.

        Also, what you’re saying about Carson could also apply to fringe candidates like Kusinich.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        http://rightwingnews.com/john-hawkins/50-million-tubes-17-conservative-pacs-spending-money/

        (now, normally, a site called ‘right wing news’ would be a ‘stoppedreadingrightthere.jpg’. But on this subject it’s a statement against interests, has solid data behind it, and has been picked up by the larger political press.)Report

      • Avatar A Compromised Immune System says:

        @kolohe you miss the point. It’s not that they “give money” to the candidates, it’s the gifts in lieu of cash that free up money for other things.

        The candidates can bounce from “Tea Party Rally” to “Tea Party Meeting” to “Tea Party Town Hall”, all expenses of which are paid for by the Tea Party group (renting the venue, refreshments, advertising including advertising an appearance by the candidate, by name).

        They can count on a constant drumbeat of free advertising for themselves and negative advertising for their opponent more-or-less 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Count on a chance to come on the radio to “talk” as a campaign ad anytime they want with the radio hosts rarely if ever having their opponents on and, if they do, count on the radio hosts being as rude and discourteous and confrontational as possible to the opponent while being as fawning and promotional as possible towards the republican candidate.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        It’s one of the most egregious forms of campaign finance fraud available…

        Freedom of the press and of association are not forms of campaign finance fraud; they are what they are.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I hate how tea party candidates are given favorable news coverage on Fox News, myself. That’s practically free advertising.Report

      • Freedom of the press and of association are not forms of campaign finance fraud; they are what they are.

        Not only that, but in this instance, even if you’re an opponent of the Citizens United decision.

        Actually, I’m not even sure why the claim that this is “campaign finance fraud” even warrants a response.Report

      • Avatar A Compromised Immune System says:

        @mark-thompson can you explain to me why paying the entirety of the costs for a candidate’s campaign rally while not counting it as a donation isn’t campaign fraud?Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    My sense is that this goes in cycles. A similar article written in 1987-1988 would bemoan the aging 50 something & 60 something leadership & potential heir apparents like Bush (sr), Dole, Pat Robertson, and Alexander Haig (not to mention the almost literal fossils ensconced in the Senate like Thurmond). Even ‘young’ Jack Kemp was over 50 by then. Dan who?

    In contrast, the Dems had young up and comers like Hart, Gore (jr), Bruce Babbit, the second generation of civil rights activists like Jesse Jackson and Marion Barry, and some dude who was governor in Arkansas.Report

    • This. A lot of it is just the effect of incumbency and inertia – you don’t even need to go back to 1988. How about 2008? The youngest guy in the GOP field was the Huckster, who was 52 or 53. Romney was 59 or 60. Then you had geriatrics in their 70s like McCain and Ron Paul. Giuliani and Fred Thompson were in their mid-60s. Meanwhile, the Dems nominated a dude in his mid-40s that no one had even heard of until he gave a speech in 2003 over an experienced grey eminence who had been a major national figure for 16 years. Edwards was about the same age as the Huckster and was in his late 40s when he was a VP candidate.

      When you’ve got the White House, there’s just not much space for new blood to build up much of a national following, so your bench is going to consist of people who either had a national following before you got the White House or people with close ties to the President, which probably means they’re in the President’s age cohort or are older.

      And I agree with Chris in wishing bad things on Nate Silver for the graph Tod linked above.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        There’s also this. We had two major wipeouts in recent years. In 2006, a lot of dead weight Republican’s got cleaned out of Congress and some state houses. Then, in 2010, a lot of brand new sparkly Republican’s beat the brand new sparkly Democrat’s all around the country, and then again, in 2014, it kind of happened again.

        So, at this very moment, there’s lot of officeholders on the local and state level who are Republican, but also there because they’re a warm body (note – a lot of this happened in the ’06 wave for the DNC as well).

        But, of course, many of the Democrat’s holding on are going to be those that have insanely impressive political machines (hello, Senator Reid) or those that have seniority due to being in blue seats.

        Also, let’s be honest here. Is an average of 52 vs an average of 46 if I’m looking at that chart right really this massive deal?Report

      • Avatar A Compromised Immune System says:

        2010 and 2014 also wiped out a lot of chance for younger Democrats to be groomed, by wiping out House seats. Incumbents in the safe seats tend to just sit on their butts getting older.

        The GOP also have a marked advantage in Gubernatorial elections. 34 states elect for 4-year terms during the midterms and another 5 do it in the off-year, which gives the GOP a boost in the number of available gubernatorial candidates with a built-in Senile Vote advantage.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Or conversely, the Democrats built in lazy and stupid vote disadvantage. As long as we’re casting aspersions here.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      @burt-likko

      OT but I have a hard time taking that article seriously because Eric Swalwell is being called an outsider. He is probably a good guy but an outsider he is not.

      His wiki page reveals that he interned for Ellen Tauscher and worked as a Deputy District Attorney. There is nothing outsider about those positions. He was also on the Dublin City Counsel before beating Pete Stark in the primary. This could be a very impressive feat but he is not an outsider.

      Now Christine O’Donnell, she was an outsider.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Well, jeez, what do you want here?

        You were complaining there’s no farm team, no cadre of young Democrats getting groomed for better things in the future. Swalwell seems like exactly that — He’s in his early thirties, he’s in Congress, he’s good-looking, he’s a Democrat, he’s a protege of none less than former Speaker of the House and current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, he’s popular enough and has enough access to money to unseat an entrenched incumbent, he’s on the most rawly political and partisan of assignments available to a Member of Congress. “Smart” isn’t even particularly important so much as “not-a-damn-fool,” which is presumed albeit as yet untested. He’s got the potential to go far, and a long career ahead of him as long as he doesn’t make any damnfool moves in his personal life or fundraising activities.

        Now you want him to be “an outsider,” too? Can you settle for “in the minority”?Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    @leeesq

    Something you said above.

    1. Democratic districts are much safer than GOP districts because they tend to be urban and compact. Partially because of Gerrymandering, partially because Democratic types like to live in cities. Your average safe Democratic district goes D by something like a 65-70 percent margin. The average safe R district is safe by about 55 percent of the vote.

    2. Sometimes urbanity works against the Democrats, hence your observation that NYC Mayor is the most powerful dead-end position in the United States. Though urban Democrats in other states can win state-wide elections. See Jerry Brown, Kamela Harris and Diane Feinstein. Gavin Newsome will probably join this rank. See Cory Booker in New Jersey, etc.Report

  9. Avatar Chris says:

    A couple quick charts from the House (Senate is older and smaller, but I can do that too). First, the % of Dems and Repubs in various age groups:

    dems and repubs age histogram

    Then box plots (Min,Q1,Median,Q3,Max) of the ages:

    dems and repubs age box plots

    Added: Data from here. Senate data is here.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      You can see pretty clearly that Democrats are older than Republicans, but this appears to result mainly from the differences in the middle aged to older representatives, rather than the young, though their aren’t a whole lot of ’em under 50 in either party anyway, so I’m not sure what that means.Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Framing incorrectly. Let me help:

    “Are Republicans more ageist than Democrats? Should Baby Boomers and other senior citizens rethink their loyalty to a party that doesn’t want people like them as part of their own leadership?”Report

  11. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    @will-truman

    Re: My Politics.

    I am not sure whether I should be offended or not by your observations as compared to saying others would be who they are politically regardless of where and how they grew upReport

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I think the bulk of most people’s political convictions come down to personal experience, temperament, and environment, and how these things interact. The rest is philosophy, which also interacts with the other three. Some people have temperament that place greater or lesser emphasis on environment (and others on experience). I think you have that sort of temperament. Compared to the others I mentioned, I think I do as well (albeit not quite the same temperament).

      Anyway, it’s certainly not meant as an insult.Report

  12. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    So, I think there’s a pretty simple explanation for this:

    The age that people get into politics part of a social change. And like most social changes, the blue states are at the front of it.

    Look at the 538 chart. The numbers go down until the late 70s, and then start going up. While the trend was going down, new democrats were younger than new republicans. Then in 77, the Democrats start getting older–and four years later, the republicans start getting older. I suspect that if the trend reverses again, that the democrats will be younger than the republicans.Report

  13. Avatar ScarletNumber says:

    I think a part of the perception is because young Democrat is dog-bites-man, while young Republican is man-bites-dog.

    Also, the Republicans tend to be more attractive physically.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

      You realize the GOP’s average is likely to go down a bit if Aaron Shock goes down in ethical flames, like it looks like he will, right? 😛Report