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.
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.