Whippersnappers

Michael Barone points out a demographic divide that is opening up between Republicans and Democrats: Republican Congressmen are trending significantly younger than Democrats:

The average age of Republican House members in the new Congress convening today is 54.9, younger than the Republicans’ average age in the previous Congress, 56.5. But the average age of House Democrats has risen, from 58 to 60.2. …
the results are historically anomalous. Going back to the Congress elected in 1950, there has never been more than a 2.8-year difference in the average age of House Republicans and House Democrats. The difference in this Congress is 5.3 years, almost double that.
The picture is similar on the Senate side of the Capitol, where the average age of Republicans is 61.4 and the average age of Democrats is 63.1. That’s as wide a margin as in any Senate since the one produced by the election of 1982.

For evidence that the Democrats are a party of retreads, look no farther than California, where senior citizen Jerry Brown embarks on a third term in the office he first won at age 36. Will the Republicans’ growing youthfulness–in relative terms, anyway–increase the party’s appeal to young voters? Not necessarily; recall that young people were Ronald Reagan’s best demographic. Still, the Republicans are in fact standing up for the interests of young people whose elders are saddling them with a crushing load of debt. Maybe the relative youthfulness of the party’s leaders will help to reinforce that message.

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