A generational shift is happening in US politics. The 2022 midterm elections are showing us that “the times they are a-changin’,'” to quote Bob Dylan. The song, released in 1964, is just on the border of the generational shift that we’re seeing in Washington. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are fighting for control.
This election cycle, we’re hearing a lot about a couple of generational changes in America’s political landscape. We’re seeing political forces of the Silent Generation, such as Nancy Pelosi, stepping down from positions of power, and Andrew Frost as the first Gen Z member elected to Congress at the age of 25. But where does Gen X fit into the equation?
Before we discuss the roles Generation X is taking on in American politics, let’s look at what ages we’re referring to: according to the Pew Research Center, Generation X was born between 1965–1980.
From Latchkey To Leading The House Of Representatives
During this midterm election cycle, Gen X is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. In fact, the so-called “Slacker Generation” is taking control of leading the House of Representatives. While we’re still awaiting the final results at the writing of this article, it appears that Gen X will hold the top leadership positions in the House. As the majority of the House flips from Democrats to Republicans, party lines don’t seem to matter for this generational shift.
On the Republican side, at least the top two positions will be held by Generation X. Kevin McCarthy, who will be the new Speaker of the House, was born in 1965. He has served as the House Minority Leader since 2019. As for the Majority Leader, Steve Scalise will take that role. Also born in 1965, Scalise served as the Minority Whip in the House and has held his House seat since 2008.
Generation X leadership doesn’t fall just on one side of the aisle. Even as the Democrats become the House minority and Pelosi steps down as Speaker of the House, Gen Xers are likely to be the ones in leadership roles.
According to Jim Clyburn, the current House Majority Whip, two of the three expected new Democratic leaders are in the MTV generation. Clyburn recently tweeted that he would stay on as the Assistant Democratic Leader as he works alongside a new generation of leaders. The leaders Clyburn mentions include Hakeem Jeffries, born in 1970, and Pete Aguilar, born in 1979. Jeffries is expected to be the House Minority Leader, while Aguilar will most likely be the House Conference Chair.
Generation X is letting Washington know that there are a force to be reckoned with.