First, depending on how you define the term, there have been anywhere between 11 and 14 generations since the time of George Washington’s birth. Each has produced, on average, three presidents. The “Greatest Generation,” most commonly associated with those who served in World War II, boasts the most, with seven presidents spanning from John F. Kennedy to George H. W. Bush. The baby-boomer generation, having already had three presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and, just barely, Barack Obama — is on the verge of what boomers may view as a premature passing of the torch to Generation X.
Then there’s the number 19. That’s the average number of years served in office by each generation’s presidents. Again, the Greatest Generation served the longest time, 32 years, which might have been even longer if not for the truncated terms of Kennedy and Richard Nixon, and the one-termers, Jimmy Carter and Bush Senior. By the time Obama leaves office in January 2017, the boomers will have collectively served an above-average 24 years in office. Should another boomer win the White House and serve two terms, it would tie the Greatest Generation’s 32-year tenure.
Of course, each generation’s luck eventually runs dry. For boomers who came of age during a time of street protests and marches on Washington, it could be the way in which the intense, and at times violent, political climate of their youth has morphed into perpetual dysfunction in adulthood that finally does them in.