In the Senate, majority leader Chuck Schumer is the spring chicken of the leadership bunch. He turned 72 last month. Schumer’s deputy, Senate majority whip Dick Durbin, is 77 years old.
Senate Democratic ranks will see a little fresh blood after next year’s midterms thanks to retirements — but only a little. Vermont senator Pat Leahy is leaving at age 81, after 48 years in office. His hand-picked successor will be Peter Welch, Vermont’s only House member. He is 74 years old.
A geriatric leadership problem extends to both parties. President Trump would be 78 if he ran for office again in 2024. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Minority Leader, is 79 years old. In Iowa, GOP senator Chuck Grassley is running for reelection at age 89.
But overall it’s Democrats who face the biggest seniority problem. The Democrats in power today came of age in the 1960s, when Great Society programs were popular and the radical counterculture reigned supreme. They have learned nothing from those failures, and in their dotage, they have failed to contain the progressive forces that have endangered the party’s electoral prospects.