News & Politics

Andrew Yang Is the Last Gen-X Presidential Candidate Standing

Cory Booker is the most recent Gen Xer to say "whatever" to the race.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Andrew Yang (born in 1975) is the only representative of Generation X running for President now that Cory Booker (1969) has left the race.

It’s important to note that Michael Bennet almost makes it: He was born in late November 1964, a month and change before Pew Research Center’s 1965 cutoff. But rules are rules, and all the other Gen Xers under Pew definitions have departed, including Kirsten Gillibrand (1966), Tim Ryan (1973), Seth Moulton (1978), Julian Castro (1974), Wayne Messam (1974), and the arguably most Gen X’y of all the contending Xers, Beto O’Rourke (1972), who said “whatever” to the race last November.

Yang is thus the only hope for people who want a President who had OK Cola marketed directly to him. But right now he’s polling around 5 percent in Iowa, according to a recent Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll, while Bernie Sanders (silent generation, 1941), Elizabeth Warren (boomer, 1949), Pete Buttigieg (millennial, 1982), and Joe Biden (silent generation, 1942) are all in double digits. That’s a lot of generations to fight!

Republicans, too, have to hold out for their slacker hero: Donald Trump (boomer, 1946) handily dispatched Xers like Marco Rubio (1971) and Ted Cruz (1970, though what self-respecting Gen Xer would disavow being Canadian; come on, Ted) in 2016. Paul Ryan (1970) left politics to get away from DC and then, in an impressive display of his grasp of irony, moved to the DC area.

Why is it so difficult for Generation X to take power, even as its members are in our 40s and 50s, traditionally the time when Americans assert their power and influence? Well, we’re much smaller than the generations that surround it. Trying hard was never our strong suit. And right now our biggest moment on the national stage was Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight—it’s kind of hard to argue that was a win for us. As I wrote last year, Gen X’s best hope might be Generation Z, many of whom are our children and thus have absorbed the grudges we hold against millennials and boomers but don’t talk about at work. If we live until 2032, our revenge will be so sweet.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.

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