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From left to right: Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer and Steny Hoyer. Photos: AP

Democrats are rethinking their future — but doing it with the leadership of old men and women deeply rooted in the past. The top three House Democrats in leadership are all nearly 80 years old.

By the numbers: The average age of Democrats serving under them is 61. Three of the most talked-about 2020 contenders are Sen. Bernie Sanders, 76; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 68; and former Vice President Joe Biden, 74.

Why it matters: Older Democratic leaders are unwilling to give up their seats, even as younger Democrats call for "a new generation of leaders," as top House Democrat Linda Sanchez said when she asked for Nancy Pelosi to step down. And former DNC Chair Howard Dean told MSNBC: "Our leadership is old and creaky, including me."

The elderly trend among Democrats:

  • A recent CNN poll found that five of the six people voters view as the leaders of the Dem Party average 71 years old (Sanders, Clinton, Schumer, Warren, Biden).
  • Four Democratic Reps. are more than twice the average age of their constituents: Rep. John Conyers (Mich.), 88; Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), 81; Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.), 76; Rep. Jose Serrano (N.Y.), 74.
  • A few senators running for re-election will be in their 80s after another six years in office: Feinstein, Sanders, and Sen. Bill Nelson, 75.

A handful of younger Dems have considered running for president in 2020, like Mayors Eric Garcetti, 46, and Mitch Landrieu, 57. Rep. Tim Ryan, 44, hasn't ruled out running and he challenged Pelosi for her leadership post last year. And Californians like Sen. Kamala Harris, 53, and billionaire Tom Steyer, 60, are speculated to run against Trump in 2020.

What they're saying, per Tara McGowan, co-founder of the digital-first political organization ACRONYM, which helps elect progressive Democrats: "When we combine running candidates who look more like our voters with organizations run by people who understand the value in reaching voters where they spend their time online, we can drive record turnout — especially among young people."

Go deeper: Meet the new generation of Democrats that swept the 2017 special elections, and go inside the progressive push starting in California.

Go deeper

Biden confronts mounting humanitarian crisis at the border

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Pool/Getty Images     

Just over a month into his presidency, President Biden is staring down a mounting crisis at the border that could be just as bad as the ones faced by Barack Obama and Donald Trump, if not worse.

Why it matters: Immigration is an issue that can consume a presidency. It's intensely and poisonously partisan. It's complicated. And the lives and welfare of vulnerable children hang in the balance.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The rise of vaccine passports

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Vaccine passports were touted early in the pandemic as an important piece of the plan to get people back to normal life. Now they’re becoming a reality.

Driving the news: CLEAR, the secure digital identity app that you see in airports around the world, and CommonPass, a health app that lets users securely access vaccination records and COVID test results, have joined forces.

"Vaccine tourism" stretches states' supplies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans who are highly motivated to get vaccinated are traveling across state lines after hearing about larger vaccine supplies or loopholes in sign-up systems.

Why it matters: "Vaccine tourism" raises ethical and legal questions, and could worsen the racial socioeconomic and racial inequalities of the pandemic.