Category Archives: election

A Generational Analysis of the Potential 2016 Presidential Candidates

Several years ago, William Strauss and Neil Howe presented a theory on generational cycles in American history. Without going into that theory in depth, suffice to say I have done an analysis of the current crop of suspected candidates for President of the United States.

Strauss and Howe have identified 15 generational “cohorts” in the history of the US. A cohort is one generation which spans, roughly, 20 years, and is comprised of members who share certain characteristics that either mold the times are or molded by them. Those cohorts are:

Awakening 1701–1723
Liberty 1724–1741
Republican 1742–1766
Compromise 1767–1791
Transcendental 1792–1821
Gilded 1822–1842
Progressive 1843–1859
Missionary 1860–1882
Lost 1883–1900
G.I. 1901–1924
Silent 1925–1942
Boom 1943–1960
Generation X 1961–1981
Millennial 1982–2004
Homeland 2005-Present

By identifying each US President with his cohort, an interesting pattern emerges.













Of 43 individuals who have been President, with the title changing hands 43 times (remember Cleveland’s terms were nonconsecutive), only twice has the new president not been of the same or the succeeding generation. That is to say, presidential succession in the US has been generationally progressive with younger generation taking over from older ones, except twice.

The first was Zachary Taylor, an older Compromise generation member who was elected after James K. Polk, a member of the Transcendental cohort. But Polk was forced to accept an agreement to only serve one term in order to secure nomination and was the country’s first “Dark Horse” presidential candidate. Taylor was not late, Polk was early.

The other also involved the Transcendentals and the Compromise generations. Franklin Pierce, Transcendental, was followed by Compromise member, James Buchanan. Buchanan’s successors were Abraham Lincoln, and the crisis that he did little to prevent.

My thesis then, is that the next President is most likely to be a member of the Generation X cohort. Some chance exists that Barack Obama was “early” like Polk, but as he was elected, I think less likely. Also possible that the next President could be a Millennial, the oldest members of which are just old enough to be eligible, but there are no Millennial in the list of probable candidates, at least not yet.

Looking at all 57 US Presidential elections, there are somethings we need to be clear on.

First, it is not at all certain that a candidate from a younger cohort will beat an older one. The older generational candidate has prevailed in 14 elections or just over 50% of generational challenges and preserved the older Generation’s place in every case but the two mentioned where they managed to push the younger generation out.

The difference has been that the younger generation prevails, except for those one election, Buchanan (Taylor died in office and was replaced by his Transcendental VP, Millard Fillmore, what’s more he ran against another Compromise cohort Candidate, Lewis Cass), once they have had a member attain the Presidency. The younger generation has successfully defended the White House from a bid by the older generation in 13 other generationally contested elections–slightly less than 50%. One of those to restore Transcendentals when Lincoln succeeded Buchanan (he defeated the Compromise cohort member Breckenridge).

In addition, two Presidents defeated challengers that were two generations different than themselves. First the Missionary FDR defeated the G.I. Thomas Dewey in 1944 (same Dewey that lost to Lost President Truman in 1948). And then Barack Obama, the first Gen X President, took office against Silent cohort member John McCain in 2008.

The Silent generation is the only cohort that has not had an occupant of the White House, though they have lost three contests, Reagan v. Mondale (1984) and Bush v. Dukakis (1988) were the other two.PresGen2

The figures:

Number of US Presidential elections to date: 57
Number of US Presidential elections between candidates of the same generation: 30
Number of Presidential elections won by an older generation candidate: 14 *
Number of Presidential elections won by the younger generation candidate: 13 **

Adams v. Jefferson (1796)
Buchanan v. Fremont (1856)
McKinley v. Bryan (1896, 1900) –First Progressive
Taft v. Bryan (1908)
Wilson v. Hughes (1916)
Harding v. Cox (1920)
Roosevelt v. Landon (1936)
Roosevelt v. Willkie (1940)
Roosevelt v. Dewey (1944)
Truman v. Dewey (1948)
Reagan v. Mondale (1984)
Bush v. Dukakis (1988)

Jefferson v. Adams (1800) –First Republican
Jefferson v. Pinckney (1804)
Madison v. Pinckney (1808)
Monroe v. J. Q. Adams (1820)
Polk v. Clay (1844) –First Transcendental
Pierce v. Scott (1852)
Lincoln v. McClellan (1864)
Grant v.Seymour (1868) –First Gilded
Grant v. Greeley (1872) –Greeley died during the election.
Hayes v. Tilden (1876)
Clinton v. Bush (1992) –First Boom
Clinton v. Dole (1996)
Obama v. McCain (2008) –First Gen X
Obama v. Romney (2012)

Extra: Presidents who inherited office and never stood for election:
John Tyler -1841
Andrew Johnson -1865
Chester Arthur -1881
Gerald R. Ford -1974 (was not on the ticket as Vice President–appointed after the resignation of Spiro Agnew)

The list of current possible Democrat candidates:

Bernie Sanders b. 1941
Joe Biden b. 1942
Ed Rendell b. 1944
Jim Webb b. 1946
Hillary Rodham Clinton b. 1947
Jeanne Shaheen b. 1947
Al Franken b. 1951
Luis Gutiérrez b. 1953
Mark Warner b. 1954
Brian Schweitzer b. 1955
Jay Nixon b. 1956
Andrew Cuomo b. 1957
Janet Napolitano b. 1957
Maggie Hassan b. 1958
Tim Kaine b. 1958
Rahm Emanuel b. 1959
Amy Klobuchar b. 1960
George Clooney b. 1961
Tammy Baldwin b. 1962
Martin O’Malley b. 1963
Steve Bullock b. 1966

Eliminating all but the Gen Xers, we get (D):

George Clooney–Actor
Tammy Baldwin–US Senator (WI)
Martin O’Malley–Gov. Maryland
Steve Bullock–Gov Montana

The list of current possible Republican candidates:

Peter King b. 1944
George Pataki b. 1945
Herman Cain b. 1945
Donald Trump b. 1946
John R. Bolton b. 1948
Jim Gilmore b. 1949
Mitch Daniels b. 1949
Rick Perry b. 1950
Ben Carson b. 1951
John Kasich b. 1952
Rick Scott b. 1952
Jeb Bush b. 1953
Carly Fiorina b. 1954
Lindsey Graham b. 1955
Mike Huckabee b. 1955
Michele Bachmann b. 1956
Bob Ehrlich b. 1957
Rick Santorum b. 1958
Rick Snyder b. 1958
Mike Pence b. 1959
Susana Martinez b. 1959
Chris Christie b. 1962
Rand Paul b. 1963
Sarah Palin b. 1964
Scott Walker b. 1967
Ted Cruz b. 1970
Bobby Jindal b. 1971
Marco Rubio b. 1971

The Gen Xers (R):

Chris Christie–Gov. New jersey
Rand Paul–US Senator (KY)
Sarah Palin–Former Gov. Alaska
Scott Walker–Gov. Wisconsin
Ted Cruz–US Senator (TX)
Bobby Jindal–Gov. Louisiana
Marco Rubio–US Senator (FL)

This is not to say that either party would not nominate anyone from the list, but historically speaking, the ones identified are the ones with the best chance.

Busting Some Benghazi Myths:

Why are we making a big deal of this?  Embassies were attacked a lot more frequently during the Bush administration.

Sort of.

There were 12 attacks on diplomatic facilities during the Bush administration.

2 produced no fatalities.

Of the remaining 10 only 2 produced any US fatalities, and only one of those a diplomatic officer.

A common feature of all 12 attacks is the death or arrest of almost all attackers in a fairly short time frame following the events, a majorly significant difference from Benghazi. None of the attacks were of a prolonged assault nature during which the administration could have had time in which to send help, the most pertinent difference.

Why are we making a big deal of this?  The most important thing is to catch those responsible, not fix blame.

Had there actually been any emphasis on catching the perpetrators, catching them in the act was surely the easiest and most efficient way to do so. And yet every order given (and we don’t know yet by whom) was to stand down.

In all 12 attacks during the Bush administration the perpetrators were dealt with, generally, on the spot because of heightened security and a leadership priority. In this event there was no such environment–requests for more security ignored or denied.

Why are we making a big deal of this?  The attacks during the Bush administration (or any other event that they care to portray as worse) were worse.

First, “worse” when deaths are involved, is a pretty tricky, not to mention sick, calculation to make.

For those who want to compare body counts as a valid measure of better/worse anyway:  twice as many deaths under President Obama, and in fewer attempts (meaning the terrorists are not only bolder, but more efficient as well) is better? It’s also better that Obama has let the perpetrators walk around free for the last 8 months than if they’d been killed in the event or arrested shortly after? Also better that Obama, not only failed to act during the event, but actively ordered, or allowed orders to go out, to not act?

Why are we making a big deal of this?  It was physically impossible to get assets to respond moved in the time available.

That’s bullshit. I can’t even imagine where that excuse comes from. Jets in Italy and the Med could have been there in a couple of hours. Security in Tripoli could have as well. Absolute proof of this is that Dougherty and Woods did exactly that, ignoring the order to stand down.

A commercial airliner can fly from Aviano, Italy to Benghazi, Libya in 2 hours and 6 minutes at a regular cruising speed of 500mph. The F-16 Block 30 has a sea-level speed of Mach 1.2 (915 mph) and can achieve Mach 2 at altitude. The units at Aviano have F-16 Block 40s, which I don’t have specs for, but are at least as fast. From first shots fired to the evacuation of personnel was 9 hours. It took Woods and Dougherty 2 hours to drive from Tripoli. A mediocre commander could have coordinated the arrival of land and air forces and done it while a chimpanzee beat him about the head and neck.

Why are we making a big deal of this?  What good could fighter jets have done with an attack on the ground?

Dan Quayle usually gets a lot of disrespect, but there was a day, when George Bush was undergoing surgery and had signed a 25th Amendment letter. On that day, Dan Quayle was President of the United States. On that day also was an attack on the government of the Philippines by communist rebels. It became clear that this was likely to be a successful attack resulting in a coup over President Aquino. Dan Quayle gave orders. The result was low level supersonic flybys over all the engagement areas. A lot of glass was broken in Manila, but the back of the attack was broken by the show of force, and not a shot was fired by US forces. Dan Quayle has more balls, imagination, and smarts, than President Obama.

So, why are we making a big deal of this?  Because someone made a political calculation that left people to die.  I was four, but could have been 35, and the number doesn’t matter.  If that’s not enough for you, another calculation was made to lie about it.  I think that’s plenty.



Check this breakdown at The Anchoress.

Why don’t Admirals run for office?

Of 42 Presidents 32 have had some military experience. Of those, only James Buchanan was never an officer.

Of the ten with no prior military service, Millard Fillmore would command a militia corps after his Presidency, the Union Continentals, from the Upstate New York area, during the Civil War.

Of the remaining 31, only 12 were General Officers and none of those were Admirals.

The only Navy officers have been, John F. Kennedy (Lieutenant, O-3), Lyndon B. Johnson (Lieutenant Commander, O-4), Richard M. Nixon (Commander, O-5), Gerald R. Ford (Lieutenant Commander, O-4), James E. Carter (Lieutenant, O-3), and George H.W. Bush (Lieutenant, O-3).

McCain is the highest ranking Naval officer to seek the Presidency as his party’s nominee (Captain, O-6). Admiral George Dewey ran for President in 1900, but did not gain the nomination of the Democratic Party. The only other Admiral I am aware of to have sought national office was James B. Stockdale, Ross Perot’s Vice Presidential running mate in 1992.

Rear Admiral (ret.) Joe Sestak (D-PA) is the only Admiral to have won a Senate seat.

John Edwards: The Man with the Plan for Iran!

John Edwards revealed a 5 point plan for dealing with Iran:

1) Remove President Bush’s explicit endorsement of a preventive war doctrine from national security strategies, and use “force as a last resort.”

…and terrorists everywhere breathe a sigh of relief.

2) Bolder and more targeted economic sanctions to force Iran’s leaders to realize that their pursuit of nuclear weapons would shut down their economy;

Which will have the effect, as it does every time we do this to a despotic regime, of starving children and making us appear to be the enemy to the population.

3) Enforcing the Iran Sanctions Act that punishes companies that do business with Iran

I’m not going to dump on a good idea. I’m generally in favor of enforcing the law. So we’re 1 for 3 so far.

4) Using diplomatic measures to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Mr. Edwards also said that the United States should work with Western European countries to srengthen the economic sanctions and prevent Iran from skirting them by going through third parties. The plan includes working with China and Russia, both of which have trade and energy ties with Iran.

China and Russia seem to have things that Iran wants, so there might be negotiating that could be done there, if China and Russia were on board with our ideas vis Iranian nuclear ambitions. Not convinced that that’s the case. I’ll sum up my thinking on the plausibility of negotiating with Iran generally with point 5.

5) “We should begin building a new course of diplomatic relations with Iran by expanding low-level talks between government officials on both sides in a neutral country.”

The level of the talks matters? I don’t think so and it’s futile anyway. It’s always seemed to me that you had to have something to offer the other guy, something that they want, for negotiating to be successful. And I guess we do—we could offer one of two opening gambits:

a) If you stop killing, and facilitating the killing, of US and Coalition troops and Iraqis, we’ll let you have a nuke.
b) If you give up nuke building, we’ll look the other way while you supply the bad guys in Iraq with explosives that kill our troops, our allies and Iraqis.

Either of those seem like winners to you?

Fisking the Ron Paul platform: "American Independence"

An illustration of why Ron Paul is no choice for holding any office in the Republic, let alone the Presidency. The following are from Ron Paul 2008, Hope for America.

So called free trade deals and world governmental organizations like the nternational Criminal Court (ICC), NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and CAFTA are a threat to our independence as a nation. They transfer power from our government to unelected foreign elites.

And he just lumps all of these together. No analysis of any of them, no differentiation. The only one listed that represents a real problem for US sovreignty would be the ICC, which we haven’t entered into. Might be a reason for that.

The ICC wants to try our soldiers as war criminals. Both the WTO and CAFTA could force Americans to get a doctor’s prescription to take herbs and vitamins. Alternative treatments could be banned.

He gets the crux of our problem with the ICC correct, though again, no substantive analysis. The ICC has far more problems for US sovreignty that it’s potential for attempting to try US Soldiers (Soldier is a word that should be capitlaized, btw, just like Marine, Airman or Sailor).

Since Ron Paul believes that our troops are War Criminals, I’m uncertain why he’s concerned that we should be tried as such unless it’s just a jealous impulse; he wants to do it himself. As for Vitamins, I’m no expert on the CODEX ALIMENTARIUS, but I can’t find anything in a quick reading to support the charge here.

The WTO has forced Congress to change our laws, yet we still face trade wars. Today, France is threatening to have U.S. goods taxed throughout Europe. If anything, the WTO makes trade relations worse by giving foreign competitors a new way to attack U.S. jobs.

International agreements do indeed cause, where they are agreed to in good faith, nations to alter behaviors and laws. They can’t be entered into lightly. If the argument is that making such an agreement limits the sovreignty of nations taht enter into them and as such are anathema, I look for any Paul administration to rescind all agreements. Texas will become an independent Republic again, California will returned to Mexico, the Luoisiana Purchase to France…. I wonder if we’ll resume states of war with all the nations we’ve fought through history, or would those wars be retroactively cancelled?

NAFTA’s superhighway is just one part of a plan to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico, called the North American Union. This spawn of powerful special interests, would create a single nation out of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, with a new unelected bureaucracy and money system. Forget about controlling immigration under this scheme.

As a resident of Texas and a former resident of Oklahoma, I welcome the superhighway. Propserity all along the route. But Congressman Paul is opposed to any kind of international cooperation. And, of course, immigration control is a strawman. If we control immigration in a sensible way then there’s no reason why some dedicated transportaion routes would hinder this.

And a free America, with limited, constitutional government, would be gone forever.

Nice posturing. You can just imagine the Congressman atop a craggy peak staring sternly backward into the distant past with a 13 starred (having returned the other 37 states) American flag waving in the background.

Let’s not forget the UN. It wants to impose a direct tax on us. I successfully fought this move in Congress last year, but if we are going to stop ongoing attempts of this world government body to tax us, we will need leadership from the White House.

I can’t even find any credible evidence for this statement.

We must withdraw from any organizations and trade deals that infringe upon the
freedom and independence of the United States of America.

Even if that infringement only exists in the mind of Congressman Paul. And any fevered imaginings must be heeded no matter what the cost, economically, diplomatically, militarilly….

Isn’t Ron Paul a Doctor?

Yet when asked a question about healthcare, something he presumably know something about, he runs to the anti-Imperialist garbage.

What a tool.

Not that he ever had a chance at my vote.

Mitt Romney just lost any possibilty of that though. He thinks he’s being clever talking about healthcare, “you wouldn’t want the people running healthcare that ran the Katrina response.” He obviously knows nothing about the Katrina response and I’m going to take it personally so….

Huckabee’s got the healthcare root cause down. It’s costs. Not sure I agree with his method of dealing with it though.