On Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she wouldn’t be seeking further House leadership come January, a claim that has politicians turning their eyes to her potential replacement when the Democrats shift to the House minority in 2023.
As various Republicans consider throwing their names in the race for speaker of the House, Democrats are looking inward to evaluate who will replace Pelosi and her fellow leaders if they also don’t pursue House leadership with the new Congress.
The frontrunners could lower the average age of Democratic congressional leadership by more than 30 years.
Last year, CNN reported that nearly a third of the U.S. House consisted of lawmakers who were at least 65 years old, 40 percent of whom were Democrats.
PoliticalVIP Democratic strategist John Brison said a new generation of leadership could begin to balance the scales of generational representation.
“The redistribution of power will lead to a redistribution of opportunities for the next generation. New Leadership means new opportunities for accountability, and setting national priorities in line with the future and not looking to the past,” Brison told Newsweek in an email.
In a CBS News/YouGov poll published in September, nearly three-quarters of Americans supported age limits for Congress. Many survey responses viewed age 70 as the appropriate cutoff age for members of Congress.
Pelosi, 82, has exceeded that number. Her fellow leadership team members, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, are 83 and 82, respectively.
And although new leaders for the Democratic minority haven’t been announced, the fifth-ranking House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, 52, is favored to be the Democratic frontrunner come January.
Other top Democratic leadership positions are expected to fall to fourth-ranking House Democrat Katherine Clark, 59, and sixth-ranking leader Pete Aguilar, 43.
Founder of Punchbowl News Jake Sherman tweeted Thursday that the next minority leader is anticipated to be Jeffries, followed by Clark as whip and Aguilar as caucus chair. Jeffries hasn’t yet made an announcement.
“He said today is about celebrating Pelosi,” Sherman tweeted.
No formal leadership announcement expected today from @RepJeffries. He said today is about celebrating Pelosi.
Clyburn walked by a large gaggle w Jeffries and laughed and said “it’s on!”
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) November 17, 2022
As technology continues to develop at a fast rate, Brison said that Americans need laws to keep pace with evolution.
A younger generation of leaders in Congress who understand the internet and new technologies could influence the policies protecting Americans from corporate overreach and invasion of privacy, according to Brison.
“More than just that, having a new generation of Leadership means having people who are invested in the outcome of their own policies and face more accountability,” Brison said.
“We are not only in a better position for a better future with younger leaders, but a better present as well,” he added.
Sherman tweeted that Clyburn is expected to run for assistant Democratic leader. He also tweeted that Hoyer will not run for a leadership position again and instead will support Jeffries.
If Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar move into the first-, second- and third-in-command positions, the average age of Democratic leaders would drop over 30 years from 82.3 to 51.3, well below Americans’ preferred age limit for congressional lawmakers.
According to the poll, 47 percent of survey-takers believed a younger Congress would make politics better, something that could be put to the test if younger Democrats secure leadership positions for the House minority.
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