Nov 15, 2017

The Democrats' old-people problem

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

Situational awareness

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Mike Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 NDAs
  2. Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges
  3. Bloomberg campaign says Tennessee vandalism "echoes language" from Bernie supporters
  4. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  5. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 nondisclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company will release women identified to have signed three nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their allegations against him if they wish.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Bloomberg’s shift in policy toward NDAs comes as he tries to stanch his loss of female support after the Las Vegas debate. It is an effort to separate the total number of harassment and culture complaints at the large company from those directed at him personally. That could reframe the criticism against him, but also protect the company from legal fallout if all past NDAs were placed in jeopardy.