The Guard Is Trying To Change

Monday morning, I was reading online newspapers on my iPad as is my usual practice. When I opened the Washington Post a banner informed me that Elissa Slotkin had just declared that she was a candidate for the Michigan Senate seat Debbie Stabenow was vacating. I’m detecting a pattern here and I like it.

The 2024 election is going to be challenging for the Senate Democrats. The Democrats are defending 23 seats while the Republicans are only defending 10. With some luck – and I wouldn’t put it past the Republicans to manufacture it – I could see them taking back the chamber. Making things even more demanding is the fact that several of the Democratic seats are in swing states, (Michigan being one of them), and with the possible exception of Rick Scott in Florida and his “self-inflicted wounds” none of the ten Republicans look particularly vulnerable.

Going into this year one of the legitimate complaints about the Democratic party’s national leadership is that it was too old. 2023 appears to be the year the old guard is fading away and making room for a younger generation of leadership. (40 is barely a teenager in American politics.) Borrowing a line from Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changin’.

As the Democrats organized their caucus in the 118th House Nancy Pelosi stepped aside accompanied by her number two in Steny Hoyer. Number three James Clyburn took what was basically a step down. That cleared the way for a new and younger leadership team of Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark and Pete Aguilar. While 2024 electoral prospects appear less than bright for the Democrats in the Senate the opposite is the case in the House. I fully expect the Democrats to take back the house in ’24 and Jeffries to become speaker in the 119th Congress.

It didn’t escape my notice that Elizabeth Warren endorsed Katie Porter who announced her candidacy for Dianne Feinstein’s seat before Feinstein announced that she was not going to seek reelection. If you think powerful forces in the party were squeezing Feinstein (their oldest member of the upper chamber) out you are correct.

Now we have 46-year-old Slotkin running to replace a woman 26 years her senior.

The old guard is changing. Best of luck to the Democrats on their youth movement!

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