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Composition of the US Senate. A Republic of old men (and a few women)

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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:53 AM
Original message
Composition of the US Senate. A Republic of old men (and a few women)
Edited on Mon Dec-08-08 09:55 AM by Mass
At 49 and soon 50, I got curious to see what was the exiting US Senate repartition in age. The point is simple: where I was a US Senator, 7 senators would be younger than I am, and 25 would be older than my mother.

Now, I am not an old woman, but I am not a young chicken either, and, while I am still in contact with what young families with children need, I am not sure I would still be in 10 years, and even less in 20.

I find just very bothering that the repartition is so skewed (remember that you have to be 30 to be a US Senator and that the youngest is currently Sununu at 44).

I was wondering if efforts were made to get younger people in the Senate, so that some new blood and new ideas could fill the aisle of the Senate. I know the idea is controversial, but I think some kind of term limit (4 terms would be 24 years, for example), would avoid that we have senators unable to do their tasks properly, and that good senators leave the US Senate prematurely because they do not see any way to go up the ladder and take more responsibility.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_United_Sta...

1 senator over 90: Byrd
6 Senators over 80
25 senators over 70
45 senators over 65
...
7 senators under 50
0 senator under 40
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WCGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
1. The best way to do this is through campaign finance reform...
It's just ridiculous that these people who were first elected 25-30 years ago are still deciding which direction the country can go...

And everyone wonders why there is no realisitic plan totry and chip away at the disparity of wealth and proseperity in this country...
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hughee99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
2. I think there's a couple of issues at play here
First, the senate is a state-wide election and many younger people (30's) don't yet have sufficient name recognition to run against an entrenched incumbent.

Second, it's a pretty sweet gig, where you have a lot of power as an individual so you can take credit when good things happen, but since you're part of a larger body, you're never really (solely) responsible when things go bad. Plus, if you do piss all of your constituents off, you may have up to 5 years to help them forget about it before you have to run again. People don't want to give this job up.

Third, younger people with higher political aspirations (eventual presidential run, maybe) seem to be more drawn toward running for governor and then for senator when they're older. Governorships seem to have a much higher turnover rate, so the chances are better you're not running against someone who's been there for years and years.

All in all, I think the senate is starting to get a little younger, but given the very small turnover rate and number of older incumbents who continue to seek reelection, it's going to take a while. As long as senators keep seeking reelection while in their 80's and up, I'm not sure that it will ever change that dramatically.
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