Potentially joining the club

With the primary election in Hawaii pau, we now know the makeup of the major races for the General. Of course, we are all aware of who will be on the ballot for Governor/Lt. Governor — Josh Green and Sylvia Luke vs. James “Duke” Aiona and Seaula Jr. Tupaʻi vs Keleionalani Taylor and Charles (Kale) Keoho (Nonpartisan, we include all here at PHwSF).

Of the top two, we will shorthand it to Green vs. Aiona, there is an interesting angle that most have not picked up on. Typically, we don’t talk about age, let alone generational labels about our leaders, but this time around, maybe we should at least acknowledge what we are choosing through that lens.

For the Aiona team, we have as a choice a candidate for Governor that is a Baby Boomer, with a Lt. Governor that is just at the end of the X-generation (we’ll get back to the age range on that in a moment). For the Green team, both Josh and Sylvia are from the early X-Generation (Josh is 52, Sylvia is 54).

The “X-Generation” is the first one that has not been defined by a phrase (quiet generation, baby boomer) but by just a letter, undefinable and wholly subject to the eye of the beholder. PC: “X-Men Insignia Pin” by JD Hancock is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

So, one way or the other, depending on who is elected, we will have Lt. Governor a person from the X-Generation, and, potentially both Governor/Lt. Governor also. If Aiona gets in, it will be a continuation of a Baby Boomer governor, which started with John Waihee in 1986 (he was born in the first year of the Baby Boomer era, 1946).

And potentially, this could be the time Hawaii gets added to the list of Governors who are X-generation in the United States.

CURRENTLY, THERE ARE 14 governors, 2 territorial governors, and the Mayor of Washington DC, that are the X leaders of the nation, making up 28% of the leaders of our states. The average age of this cohort is about 50 years old, which makes 1972 the year that the average X leader was born. Overall, there are 65.2 million identified as X-generation in the United States.

The age range of what is called the X-generation, is currently 42 years as the youngest, to 57 as the oldest. If your wondering, here is the list of the 14 governors that are in this generation,

Gavin Newsom, California, 54
Jared Polis, Colorado, 47
Ron DeSantis, Florida, 43
JB Pritzker, Illinois, 57
Eric Holcomb, Indiana, 54
Andy Beshear, Kentucky, 44
John Bel Edwards, Louisiana, 55
Gretchen Witmer, Michigan, 51
Tate Reeves, Mississippi, 48
Chris Sununu, New Hampshire, 47
Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma, 49
Kristi Noem, South Dakota, 50
Spencer Cox, Utah, 47
Glenn Youngkin, Virginia, 55

With the X-generation on the move, winning more elections for governor, it might not be long before the United States will experience this generational shift at the White House. As you can see from this list two governors — Gavin Newsom of California and Ron DeSantis of Florida — are being talked up now as potential 2024 nominees of their party for the presidency. With a potential X leader in 2024, that would mark the end of a string of Baby Boomer presidents that started with the election of Bill Clinton in 1992–32 years.

Will we hear the same level of high political rhetoric as we heard when JFK made his speech, announcing the dawn of a new era with a new generation leading it? PC: “John Kennedy’s Goal” by NASA APPEL Knowledge Services is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Now whether the political rhetoric (speeches, and statements) will reach the level of what was said when the Greatest Generation (with John F. Kennedy in 1961), let’s see what JFK said at his inauguration on this,

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans — born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage — and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

It remains to be seen.