For decades, Republicans have been hampered by their image as the party of "old, white men," but that could change as a new class of younger, more diverse GOP candidates is elected to office.
"The political dynamics of the 1980s has created a missing generation of Democratic politicians who, having started at the local level, would now be poised to take the national stage. This is the generational problem that will haunt the party for, well, the next generation," Steven Conn, an Ohio State University professor, writes in The Huffington Post
Conn, who will be teaching at Ohio's Miami University in Oxford in the fall, argues that those "angry old white guys who form the core of the GOP are fast fading away" as Republicans have "elected youngsters — like Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley, both 43 — while the party of youth and diversity has put Jerry Brown, 76, in the California governor's office."
On the presidential level, the Republican Party's presidential candidate has been the one usually facing questions related to age and health, but in 2016 it will be the Democrat who could face them.
According to The Washington Post
, at the time of inauguration, the average age of a Democratic nominee (based on the current pool of contenders) is 68.6 years, and the current leader, Hillary Clinton, would be 69. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren would be 67.
On the other hand, the Republican candidates would average 57 years of age on Jan. 20, 2017.
"This is a cycle in which a younger generation of politicians are coming into the race with a view that small-government conservatism is the ideal and who feel no imperative to bend over backward to show that they are compassionate to people," conservative writer Ben Domenech told The New York Times
The success of the presidential candidate from either party, however, will be determined by his ability to recognize and respond to the changing demographics among the voting population.
"Even though Democrats have won the popular vote in five out of the past six presidential elections, they have only once been able to get more than 51 percent of the vote.
Now, though, there are signs that the transformation is starting to pick up steam in our elections. Even though we have yet to feel the full impact at the ballot box, we're nearing a shift that will signal an inevitable political earthquake," Democratic political adviser Doug Sosnik writes in Politico
Sosnik references a Center for American Progress report
that projects that 22 states will achieve majority-minority status by 2060, and that while many used to lean Republican, "most of these fast-growing states are no longer solid Republican base states."
The report, however, says the rate at which each of those states experiences change will differ.
"In fast-growing states such as Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida, the gap-narrowing pattern should be very strong. But in slow-growing, more static states such as Ohio, North Dakota, and Maine, the gap may even widen slightly over time," says the report.
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