It's common, easy, and often necessary to shit on the Democratic Party in the same way it's easy to shit on the Cleveland Browns. The amount of material they give you to work with is…extensive.
As usual, 18 months before the 2020 election kicks off – yes, it'll be here before you know it – lots of names are being thrown out there. And just as usual, the names are often recycled self-nominees or media speculation about candidates with very little track record who look good on paper but may not even be willing to run.
Unless this story is trolling, John Kerry is apparently putting out feelers. Joe Biden too. Maybe Hillary again. Maybe Sanders again.
Now. An important caveat. The Democratic Party as an organization has nothing to do with this. Anyone can say they are thinking about running. Also, don't forget that in this "Invisible Primary" period people gravitate toward names that are familiar. Those names will do well in a hypothetical poll because they're the ones people know.
That said, consider for a moment the current state of Democratic leadership in Congress and prominent (at least in terms of name recognition) maybe-running candidates for 2020: Schumer (age 67), Pelosi (77), Bernie (76), HRC (70), Biden (75), Durbin (74), Steny Hoyer (78), and Kerry (74). All of those people are white. Two are women, one of whom (Pelosi) has never even suggested aspirations beyond the House.
We may reasonably ask if having so much power within the party that is supposed to represent a diverse America better is not helping matters. This is not a shit-fest; all of these people have done good things at some point in their long political careers. But is a retirement-aged white guy really the way forward? For anything?
I don't think this issue is unique to the Democratic Party or even politics. With no disrespect to the more aged and experienced among us, I can't help but feel like the current generation of older people is remarkably unwilling to ride off into the sunset and let The Youths (say, some spry 55 year olds, maybe) take over. Look, that generation had a very long run. It has to end at some point. It is OK to elevate people born after 1960 into leadership roles, in politics and everywhere else.
Part of the problem for the parties, of course, is that younger people today either see life in politics as nightmarish, can't afford the very high cost of entry, or both. Congress has done a very good job, alongside the right-wing media, of making the idea of a career in Washington seem highly unappealing. Why would anyone get into this game to be torn to pieces, threatened by lunatics on the internet, dumped all over, and blocked at every turn by special interests? The only answer is ego. You'd put up with all of that if you had an enormous ego that needed power.
So that guarantees that even if younger people do enter the game they're probably not the kind of person who is likely to do anything to improve it.
Yes, there are younger Democrats who could run in 2020. And people like Biden and Kerry may not be all that serious about trying again. It is a problem that goes beyond the 2020 Democratic candidate pool, though. It's a delicate topic because it makes older people feel stigmatized and attacked, but it's very difficult to rebut the idea that maybe, just maybe, part of the problem with a lot of our institutions is that the powerful people in them are so often so old. Maybe someone with less "experience" (in a broken system) is a logical alternative.
I mean, it couldn't go much worse.