Comments left on Althouse about Democratic Party Presidential Nominee Ages

January 10, 2013 at 3:10 am (Icepick)

Comments made on the

“”Clinton will take a long, much-deserved vacation, then assume a low-key schedule of advocacy work and lucrative speaking engagements.””

 post from January 9, 2013.

Blogger Icepick said…

The Dems haven’t nominated anyone as old as Hillary in yonks. The Dems love their youthful conquerors.Kerry was ancient by Dem standards at age 61.Gore was only 52.

Clinton was sworn in at age 46.

Dukakis was turned 55 right around election day in 1988.

Mondale was 56 in 1984.

Carter was a youthful 52 in 1976. (And a decrepit 56 in 1980, of course.)

McGovern was 50 in 1972.

Humphrey was only 57 in 1968. And the Dems really had the hard-on for that little twerp RFK, who was 42.

The one that surprised me was LBJ in 1964: only 56!

JFK was only 43 when he was elected in 1960.

Adlai Stevenson was only 52 and 56 for his runs in ’52 and ’56.

That gets us all the way back to Truman, who was 64 when he ran in 1948. But his circumstance (like LBJ’s) was complicated by the fact that he was running as a sitting President, having assumed office on the death of his predecessor.

When FDR ran in 1932 he was only 50 years old.

Al Smith was only 54 when he ran for office back in 1928.

John W. Davis was only 51 when he ran in 1924.

James M. Cox was only 50 when he ran in 1920.

Back to 1912, when we get Woodrow Wilson, who was 55.

William Jennings Bryan was only 48 when he ran in 1908.

In 1904 the Dems nominated Alton B. Parker, who was only 52.

In 1900 it was William Jennings Bryan again, this time only 40.

In 1896 William Jennings Bryan ran at age 36! It was a weird year, and the Dems had two candidates, of which Bryan was the regular. The gold one was a golden oldie, the 79 year-old John M. Palmer! But Palmer was part of a splinter group. The actual nominee was the very young Bryan.

The you get Grover Cleveland, who ran three times, in 1884, 1888 and 1892. He won the first time, at age 47. He was only 55 for the last run.

Winfield Scott Hancock was 56 when he ran in 1880’s closely disputed election.

All the way back to 1876, when the Dem nominee was Samuel J. Tilden, who was 64! It was another closely disputed election. (It came down to a controversial count in … wait for it … wait for it … FLORIDA!)

All the way back to 1876, and only two men (Kerry and Tilden) over 60 were nominated to be President. (I don’t count presidents who were already holding office, which excludes Truman.)

I’ll keep looking back at the records, but Dems just don’t like old people.

1/10/13 12:16 AM


Blogger Icepick said…

Horace Greeley would have been 60 on election day 1872. Another ancient. Just as well he didn’t get elected – his wife died shortly after the election, then he went mad and died before the electoral votes had been cast! That would have been a total freakin’ nightmare.Horatio Seymour ran in 1868. He would have been 58 at the time.McClellan would have been 37(!) on election day in 1864.

In 1860 we had two Democratic candidates, Stephen A. Douglas from the North (age 47) and John C. Breckinridge (age 39) from the South. Douglas died in June of 1861, by the way, of typhoid fever.

Surely in 1856 we must have gotten some old fart from the Dems. James Buchanan Jr. age 65! Woohoo!

Franklin Pierce was only 47 on election day 1852.

Lewis Cass lost in 1848, at age 64.

James Knox Polk was the winning candidate in 1844, age 49 on election day.

Martin van Buren would have been 53 on election day 1836.

Then we get all the way back to the Founder of the Party, Andrew Jackson. He was 61 on election day in 1828. He won that election. But it was a grudge match from four years before, when he would have only been 57.

Now all of those candidates in the old days of the 19th Century probably were in a bit worse shape than we might expect for their ages. But still, going all the way back to the founding of the Democratic party, we only have a handful of Dem nominees who were 60 or older when nominated for their first run. Only seven by my count (it’s late, I’m tired, if I miscounted someone correct me) and several of those were prior to the Civil War.

Not counting Truman (anomalous because of how he was chosen President) or the splinter party candidate Palmer, there is a huge gap of 128 years between Tilden getting nominated at 64 and Kerry getting the nod at 61. One-hundred and twenty-eight years! And let’s face it, Kerry was a somewhat youthful 61.

So only six regular first-time non-sitting candidates over age 60 since the party was founded. There have been 10 under 50! That includes the last two that actually won the Presidency for the Dems.

Hillary will be 69 on election day 2016. She would be the oldest regular Democratic nominee ever, by 4 years. She couldn’t beat a back-bench-er of a state senator who barely did anything with his then current job when she was only 61 and had the backing of a large swath of the Democratic party, name recognition, and all the money in the world. Why should we think she’ll be able to do better now that she’s eight years older and has more record for opponents to chew up?

1/10/13 12:48 AM


Blogger Icepick said…

What’s really bad is that a few of the 60+ candidates for the Dems can be dismissed from consideration.As I’ve mentioned in the previous two comments, Truman was in his 60s but was running as an incumbent, having been selected for the job in 1944.Palmer was a splinter candidate.

Greeley was the candidate more or less by default, as no one with more credibility wanted to run against Grant in 1872.

And Andrew Jackson himself had been in his fifties when he first ran, losing a hotly disputed election in 1824.

When you get right down to it, the Dems have really only picked first time nominees over age 60 on four occasions: in 2004 (Kerry, lost), 1876 (Tilden, lost), 1856 (Buchanan, won) and 1848 (Cass, lost). And again, they’ve gone under 50 either nine times (if you only count Bryan’s three runs as one run) or eleven times (if you count all three). And yes, I apparently miscounted in the prior post.

Still, Hillary would appear to have missed her shot. Dems do not nominate people as old as she’ll be in 2016, and only rarely people as old as she was in 2008.

1/10/13 1:00 AM



  1. karen said,

    Thank you, God- for the favor of (hopefully)being spared Clinton.
    How old is Chelsea?

    Thank you, ice- for the historical info.
    Do the Republicans like old farts- minus McCain?

    ps- can’t wait for her to start testifying on Bengazi.

    Also- not to be insensitive, but today’s Liberals may seem more accepting of an aging Hillary as– they, too- are aging and 65 is the new 50… or, something:0).

  2. amba12 said,

    Wow! Thanks for doing this research.

    Now what about Republicans? (No, no, let somebody else look that one up.)

  3. Icepick said,

    I’ll look up Republicans some other night. My feeling is that they’ve tended to skew older since WWII: Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush I, Dole, McCain and Romney spring to mind as people in their sixties or older. But I might be wrong on the particulars. I was very surprised to see that LBJ was as young as he was in the 1960s, for example, and was also surprised at Humphrey’s relative youth.

    But before WWII I expect I will find a somewhat similar pattern to the Dems. The first Republican Presidential nominee (I believe) was Lincoln, and he wasn’t that old. Neither was Grant who followed. TR is another special case as he assumed office upon the death of his predecessor, but he was clearly a comer, and very young.I’m not sure how old the guy after TR but before Eisenhower were, and I’m way to tired to look it up now.

    Really I think that Reagan just had a big impression on those of us who are younger: We tend to think of him as THE President (even those that hate his guts), and think of him as the archetype. (I think those a little older think of JFK in that way, perhaps.) But really, the job is one for men still fairly in their primes, especially in the modern era of non-stop campaigning.

  4. karen said,

    Heh- and now we have a very young President and a Titanium Trillion dollar coin in the works. Woohoo- youth!!

    If you did all that Repub history stuff off the top of your head– wow.

  5. wj said,

    karen, all the $1 Trillion dollar coin stuff is lots of fun. But nobody seriously expects it to happen, or even be seriously considered by the administration.

    Of course, we do have a situation where Congress (if it doesn’t do something) will have passed laws which are not simultaneously possible to execute. The tax laws raise a certain amount. The spending laws mandate spending a larger amount. And the debt ceiling law prohibits borrowing enough to cover the difference.

    It makes an interesting exercise to wonder how the Congress expects the President to carry out his duty to faithfully execute the laws when the laws are mutually contradictory like this. Too bad there isn’t time (or probably a mechanism) to ask the Supreme Court for a ruling on which laws take priority.

  6. karen said,

    I got the kind of coin wrong– it’s platinum.

    Wj– i’m so tired of all the bull going on– how Geitner is gold and will go down as the greatest of Treasury Sects, etc. I’ve never even heard of a coin to be minted to get out of 1trillion$$$$s debt before. What a joke- i’d be so embarrased to ever have that idea connected w/me.

    Cuppa Joe or Morning Joe or whatever was tense- saw the video. Point in case of the bs.

  7. Icepick said,

    Karen, take my remembrances of those Republican candidates with a grain a salt. If you’d asked me 24 hours ago how old LBJ was when he was President I would have told you he was in his sixties. I was very surprised at his [relative] youth. I am not even more impressed than I was with his power as a Senator. LBJ is widely regarded as one of the most powerful Senate Majority leaders ever. It’s amazing that he accrued that much power by his early 50s.

  8. chickelit said,

    It’s amazing that he accrued that much power by his early 50s.

    And he did it with too-tight trousers that pinched his privates: link

  9. mockturtle said,

    I’ve always gotten a big kick out of LBJ. I’ve probably read more books about him than of any other US President. He was one of a kind.

  10. karen said,

    Eeewww- does every conversation off the President’s phone get recorded?
    “Cause- that’s private stuff and embarrassing to hear. It is lol, though.

    Bunghole- geesh.

  11. Icepick said,

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