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Virus and Politics Collide to Proclaim: “Goodbye, Boomers”

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Democratic U.S. presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders do an elbow bump in place of a handshake as they greet other before the start of the 11th Democratic candidates debate of the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, held in CNN's Washington studios without an audience because of the global coronavirus pandemic, in Washington, U.S. March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The uncomfortable collision of a perilous pandemic and a boisterous battle for the presidency conveys an unwelcome but unmistakable message to aging baby boomers. The generation that has dominated pop culture and politics for nearly a half-century, that has loomed in the national consciousness as perpetually pre-eminent, may not be so ageless and invincible after all.

Joe Biden (who’ll turn 78 before Inauguration Day) and Donald J. Trump (who’ll be 74), would be the two oldest people ever nominated for the presidency by a major party. And it isn’t only the two survivors of the arduous selection process who demonstrate the graying of our politics. Mr. Biden’s most durable Democratic rivals—Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg—are all septuagenarians.

All of these grizzled geezers also qualify as prime targets for Covid-19, which seems to focus its most virulent ravages almost exclusively on those who’ve passed the age of threescore and 10. American voters like to believe that robust, indestructible chief executives will properly protect them from the world’s dangers, but in the current situation it’s the candidates themselves who seem especially vulnerable, threatened by coronavirus. If we do make it to November with no health breakdowns for either of the aged electioneers, it will still constitute the end of an era—a “Last Hurrah” in the spirit of a marvelous, nostalgic 1956 novel about a political warhorse in his final campaign….READ THE FULL COLUMN AT WSJ.COM.

 

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