Skip to main content


Let’s put Gen X in charge

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: all “privilege, pronouns and police abolition”. Jamie McCarthy/MG21/Getty

“American politics has become a tug-of-war between two generations,” says Stephen Daisley in The Spectator. Baby boomers (and those even older) dominate positions of power: Joe Biden is 80, and top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, who “continues to freeze during public remarks”, is 81. “The average age in the Senate today is 65.” Millennials frustrated by this gerontocracy “want the boomers to shove off” so their generation can take over. New blood is no bad thing, but would millennials really be an improvement? On the left, you get “privilege, pronouns and police abolition” with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; on the right, wacky neo-Trumpism from Vivek Ramaswamy.

The solution is to “put Generation X in charge”. Born between 1965 and 1980, they read Bret Easton Ellis and Martin Amis, and found their sound in The Smiths and Prince. (“We’ll just gloss over the whole U2 thing.”) The last cohort to make a proper go of smoking and the last to do any drinking worth the name, “if Gen X has a political philosophy it is the great cause of not giving a fuck”. They bridge the gap between boomer prosperity and millennial precarity; on climate, they take the middle ground between “carbon-clingers” and “doom-mongering idealists”. And they carve a path between boomer “self-enrichment” and millennial “illiberalism”. Gen X are the only generation “that can lead America with cool heads”.