"We are locked in a generational war, which will get worst before it gets better," wrote economic commentator Robert Samuelson in 2013. America's clash of generations is "inevitable."
Indeed it is, brought about primarily by the baby boomers, all 45 million or so of us apparently born together within 15 minutes. Coming of age at the Newport Folk Festival of 1965, rising then to Father Yod and the incredible hippie scene in the Summer of Love, then onward and upward to President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonFederal judge changes his mind about stepping down, eliminating vacancy for Biden to fill Joe Biden's gamble with history Can America prevent a global warming cold war? MORE at the apex of our journey. We enter now Final Jeopardy.
The classic, cataclysmic shift of generations is today at hand and the 2016 race to the Oval Office is prelude. At the crux of the crisis are those aged perfect masters of the boomer generation, Bill and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE.
"I come from the Sixties," Hillary said in the last Democratic debate with some self-affirming swagger. "A long time ago."
If Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House is successful — really, a Bill Reconstruction — it could very well end in catastrophe. At worse, if she is elected president, the widely disliked Clintons arriving again in the Oval Office could bring America to its knees as most nostalgico, reconstructionist attempts by political generations which refuse to go away tend to implode. Napoleon's exile at Elba comes to mind; Madame Mao and the Gang of Four. And to be sure, Bill Clinton sees himself as in the same league with such grand, global, mythic figures; the erstwhile god king of the post-war American conquest. And so does his wife. And so do maybe half the people my age.
Under such circumstances, conflict could advance. It is already forming and has been moving in that direction for at least a decade in red state/blue state contention.
The young today, the millennials, turn now to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and there is substance to Sanders.
The opposition acutely turns away. But "We deride chances of Marine Le Pen and Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE at our peril," reads a headline this morning in the Financial Times, as "the rise of political extremists says something disturbing about liberal democracy in the West."
The contrast will get markedly worse if Hillary Clinton is elected, as the attempt at building a Bill Reconstruction — a Sixties reenactment — will create a Kafkian cultural void, advancing America to global irrelevance. The world has moved on. Four more years of the Clintons could well advance Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo On The Money — Biden stresses calm amid omicron fears MORE (R) to the front by 2020.
There is a good amount of panic talk today of a Republican brokered convention to replace the current primary leader, real estate mogul Donald Trump, with the more mainstream former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP's nominee in 2012. But it will not stop the red state forces from gathering to a new autonomy. It would be more relevant to the partisan contention of the times to get beyond the Clintons now and play it through in 2016 between Bernie and The Donald. The only problem is that, as Hillary Clinton holds more than a 25 percentage point spread in current polling, Sanders is unlikely to get the Democratic nomination.
Thus it is the Democrats who should be thinking of a brokered convention, to begin again with the one who singularly brought a challenge to the Democrats and who just this week refused to join the devoted Hillary Clinton contingent in a soiree on Capitol Hill: Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Restless progressives eye 2024 Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run MORE (D-Mass.).
We are possibly seeing a prototype emerging here as in the first days of the creation: Sanders and Trump are rough drafts of the future. But it is Warren and Cruz who will advance to single combat ahead, likely in 2020.
A brokered convention would bring Warren in now to face Trump in 2016 — lest she face the capable Cruz in 2020, his constituents enraged and empowered by four more years of the Clintons, advancing America to a new, long-term conservative era.
Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at email@example.com.