A Generation X Imprint on the 2016 Presidential Race

While Gen X presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have made much more progress than I expected toward the Republican nomination, many of the stories in the news are about the electoral power shift from Boomers to Millennials.  To be sure, given the demographic numbers of Millennials and Boomers relative to Gen Xers, this is bound to be the struggle, and the major reason that I have been of the opinion that we are unlikely to ever elect a Generation X President.  However, just as Sanders is giving new hope to the previously shut-out Silent Generation, the move of Rubio and Cruz into contention on the Republican side does give some renewed political hope to Generation X.

I was amused to see the Cruz camp use a parody of the movie Office Space in an advertisement.  While I have observed that the Fast and Furious movies may be the most successful films to star Gen X actors, I see the 1999 film Office Space as summing up Generation X attitudes toward work.

By the time Office Space appeared, most of Generation X  was in the workforce and fully attuned to the rule-bound grind depicted in the movie. (Full disclosure – I own the Special Edition DVD with More Flair!)  Ask any Gen X white collar worker about “The Bobs”, TPS reports, Michael Bolton, and what they would do if they had a million dollars, and you would get an Office Space based reply.  Not to mention their red staplers.

From Quickmeme.com
Did I turn into Lumbergh when I became a supervisor?

So last week when this advertisement made the rounds, it seemed only fitting that it came out of one of the campaign of Generation Xer Ted Cruz.  While Marco Rubio has been more overt in talking about bringing a new generation to power (in an appeal, I think, to Gen X and Millennials) I haven’t seen him be as effective as the Cruz ad in creating social media buzz.  We shall see what happens after South Carolina.

Generation X Turns 50 – February 2016 Edition

Generation X continues to turn 50, and today I want to highlight those of us born in February 1966.  Leading off February, fashion designer John Varvatos turned 50 on February 1st.  Then on the 6th, singer and internet meme legend Rick Astley turned fifty. Those of us who have been on the internet forever owe him a special debt.

Actor Neal McDonough, who I keep seeing more of all the time, Turns 50 on February 13th. And then Justine Bateman on February 19th.  I think Family Ties was one of the shows that captures the Generation X formative years.

On the 20th, supermodel Cindy Crawford hits the big Five – Oh. She certainly has to be among the most successful and famous members of Generation X by any measure.

From Cindy Crawford on Google+
Cindy Crawford

February 24th brings 50th birthday wishes to Billy Zane, and the 25th to Téa Leoni.  On the 27th, Donal Logue turns 50 and Ickey Woods shuffles into a second half-century on the 28th.  Disappointingly, I did not find any leap-year Gen-Xers turning 50 on the 29th.

Finally, just in case you didn’t click at the top, Mr. Rick Astley:

Draft Registration for Women

The topic of requiring draft registration for women came up in last night’s Republican Presidential debate.  The question really took me by surprise, but I guess the issue has been in the news the past few months now that all combat roles in the U.S. military have been opened to women.

I am against involuntary servitude, and this includes both the military draft and other forms of mandatory “national service“.  For men in Generation X, selective service registration has been a fact of life, having been authorized in 1980 by Proclamation of President Jimmy Carter.  Since then, upon turning 18, all men have had to register for the draft.  Beyond that, we have to keep proving that we have registered, providing our selective service number in order to get Federally backed student loans and other financial aid, get a government job, or obtain other federal benefits.  Additionally, failing to register could result in a $25000 fine and up to 5 years in jail.  Some states have their own legislation linking selective service registration for men to financial aid and even to being able to obtain a drivers license.

Of course, these penalties only apply to men.  Could this have anything to do with men falling behind in college enrollments?  Probably not.  But is it fair, especially in light of opening opportunities in the military to women?  Would it demonstrate more of a commitment to equality to require women to share in this responsibility to register for the draft and face the same potential penalties as men?  At least Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush said “yes” last night.  I would like to hear what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders say on this issue. (If they were asked in their debate I missed it).  Of course, I would have rather heard them say that we no longer need to register anyone for the draft.

Generation X in the Winner’s Circle – Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz

In the Iowa Caucuses last night, Generation X Presidential candidates made a great showing with Ted Cruz taking the top spot and Marco Rubio coming in a strong third. I have written previously about the possibilities (or lack thereof) of Generation X ever having a representative in the White House.  At that time, the Generation X candidates didn’t look that strong, with the tail end boomers (Bush, Rand Paul, etc.) still looking stronger than the Gen Xers in the field.  The last six months have changed things (and not just with the strength of Donald Trump).

From the Washington Times
The betting man’s favorite.

By October, the various betting markets had Marco Rubio as the favorite to win the Republican nomination. As of this morning, he still had the best odds across a variety of betting platforms.  With Ted Cruz in third place.  So, it seems increasingly likely that we will have a Generation X candidate on the Republican side.  The Democrats are on the other side of the age divide, with either an old Boomer (Hillary) or a Silent Generation Candidate! (Sanders was born in 1941.)  And I thought John McCain was the Silent’s last possible candidate for the Presidency.

Given the small size of Generation X with respect to Boomers and Millennials, the question will be, can the Generation X candidates on the Republican side appeal to them?