By Yuval Levin
America’s top political leaders are remarkably old. Our president will turn 80 this year. His predecessor, who is contemplating running again, is about to turn 76. The speaker of the House is 82. The Republican leader in the Senate is 80, and his Democratic counterpart is a comparatively sprightly 71.
This is very unusual. And it’s not because this cohort has just gotten its turn at the wheel, but because it has held power for an exceptionally long time. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, whose presidencies spanned more than a quarter-century, were all born roughly within two months of one another in the summer of 1946. Nancy Pelosi has been the Democratic leader in the House for almost 20 years. Mitch McConnell has led Senate Republicans for about 15 years. Our politics has been largely in the hands of people born in the 1940s or early ’50s for a generation.