Bernie Sanders is 74; Donald Trump is 69; Hillary Rodham Clinton is 68. I wish I had a fraction of their energy, and I am significantly younger, although no youngster myself. But I’m really sweating this election.
Besides their ages, this election cycle is fraught with a “Back to the Future” sense of direction for our country. The Trump and Sanders campaigns have motivated followers to get excited about undoing. The Clinton Campaign has been rather uninspiring, but has been attempting to veer left, while remaining centered on the importance of strengthening our institutions, rather than upending them.
The Trump and Sanders campaigns feel unconventional, not just because no one initially expected either one to go to the Conventions, but because they have aroused the energy of anger and outsider status, ironically of mostly white males, who seem to relish the “outsider” candidate who says what they are thinking, and maintains a steady sense of chutzpah.
And HRC….she maintains that her entire life has been chutzpah; the boldness to work hard and achieve in various leadership positions, and get knocked down over and over, and keep pushing forward. The media has not captured inspiring snippets of her. Mostly, she’s talked about in the media as being disliked and around forever, which has become a serious negative in this cycle.
Her quality of being guarded tends to fuel suspicion, and of course, she’s had a history of cozying up to the rich and powerful, and then having a private e-mail server as Secretary of State. None of which is unique to her, or illegal; just not okay either. These issues that continue to plague her feed the narrative of the Clinton Chutzpah (as opposed to her own lifetime of experience and service)— not the audacity of hope or of dismantling the status quo, but of getting away with what they can at the time.
Both Hilary and Bill Clinton have great intellects, yet do stupid stuff all the time. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton can be shrewd and competent, and create long lasting alliances across demographics and across the world, yet still manage to generate ire at home. Hillary Clinton, unlike Bill, does not seem to enjoy the political campaigning, but she has created an amazing resume that has her in most ways uniquely and historically qualified to become POTUS.
But in 2016, experience is the enemy. It’s a narrative of what is wrong with US, and although 3 candidates who occupy all the air time are all Senior Citizens, this country seems to be suffering from Senioritis. Enough with the plodding along and policy that can be worked on by those with different ideas.
In fact, the parties themselves are in disarray. Will we end up with the party of the affected and the party of the disaffected? It’s getting to be more perspiration than inspiration. Being inspired by being disaffected and angry is a dangerous path.
So is the only way that these old timers can inspire is to invoke old stories and old grievances? Somehow, it’s been a sweat inducing exercise thus far.