Re-watching, for the first time in a while, the John Cusack classic, Better Off Dead, and marveling on how dark it is… what with the multiple suicide attempts by the protagonist. I had always perceived it as a mid-‘80s-trope-filled comedic romp…with raisins (but then again, don’t we ALL like raisins?) but there is a reason why the title was aptly chosen.
True story/digression: back in the summer of 2006, as I was staring at my white-board, pondering the potential for a Gary Hart come-back (this was, of course, prior to then-Senator Barack Obama making the official Announcement regarding his candidacy for Chief Magistrate), I considered reaching out to Mr. Cusack to inquire about his electoral ambitions for ’08 and beyond. Life intervened and that email was never sent. Selah, as the saying goes.
My point insofar as I have one is this…the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee should be someone who is around Mr. Cusack’s age (born in 1966). It is time for a Gen X presidency, it might be our last shot before the Millennials dominate the political scene for the next generation and a half. Furthermore, it would help advance the new generation/new ideas “contrast” narrative against Mr. Trump, the presumptive 2020 GOP nominee and current defiler of 1600 Pennsylvania.
So let us check some birth dates. First, let’s start with some women as I believe the ideal Democratic nominee in 2020 would be a woman who is either a Senator, a Governor, a former Cabinet Secretary, and/or a household name…
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Born 1966. Same year as Cusack.Senator Kamala Harris. Born 1964. Borderline Gen X/Boomer, but clearly an X’er in spirit.
Senator Amy Klobuchar. Born 1960. OK, late-stage Boomer but close.
Senator Elizabeth Warren. Born 1949. No doubt about her Boomer status.
The Oprah Winfrey. Born 1954. Mid-Boomer.
And now for some men…
Former Vice President Joe Biden. Born 1942. Pre-Boomer, namely, the Silent Generation.
Senator Cory Booker. Born 1969. On the younger side of the Cusack line.
Senator Sherrod Brown. Born 1952. Boomer.
Governor Steve Bullock. Born 1966 (April). The most contemporaneous match with Cusack.Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Born 1982. Younger than Cusack, younger than the present author who remembers 1982 quite vividly. Cretaceous stage X'er/borderline Millennial.
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro. Born 1974. X’er.
Former Governor and former Senator Lincoln Chafee. Born 1953. Boomer.
Governor Andrew Cuomo. Born 1957. Boomer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio. Born 1961. Late-stage Boomer.
U.S. Representative John Delaney. Born 1963. Tail-end Boomer.
Mayor Eric Garcetti. Born 1971. Classic X’er birth-year.
U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez. Born 1953. Total Boomer.
Governor Jay Inslee. Born 1951. Boomer.
Governor John Hickenlooper. Born 1952. Boomer.Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Born 1951. Boomer.
Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander. Born 1981. Late stage X’er.
U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy III. Born 1980. Another late X’er.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Born 1960. Boomer.Former Governor Terry McAuliffe. Born 1957. Boomer.
Senator Jeff Merkley. Born 1956. Boomer.
U.S. Representative Seth Moulton. Born 1978. X’er.
Senator Chris Murphy. Born 1973. X’er.Former Governor Martin O’Malley. Born 1963. Late Boomer.
Former Governor Deval Patrick. Born 1956. Boomer.
U.S. Representative Tim Ryan. Born 1973. X’er.
Senator Bernie Sanders. Born 1941. Silent Generation.
U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell. Born 1980. X’er.
So perhaps the test should be this…walk up to one of these potential candidates and say, “I want my two dollars!” If they break out into a knowing smile, perhaps they should get the nod in 2020.