Here’s What It Sounds Like When Generation X Runs For President

Declaring Tupac Shakur superior to The Notorious B.I.G. Listing off favorite Clinton-era episodes of The Simpsons. A romantic epiphany that involved a foam party and a pay phone.

It could all be late-night chatter in a mid-1990s dorm room – or the recent musings of Republican men vying to be the leader of the free world.

Generation X has hit the campaign trail.

For the first time, multiple members of Gen X are running for president – candidates who came of age during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the fall of Communism, the first Gulf War and the 24-hour news cycle. They expertly quote from ‘80s and 90s movies and music. They admit to being hooked on video games and binge-watching "mind candy" television.

Politically, they are painting themselves as young, fresh alternatives to lead the country in a new direction, away from candidates named Bush and Clinton. Their politics largely lie in the same narrow band as most of the rest of the GOP field. What’s different – often around the margins, sometimes front and center – are the stories they use to relay those views and the experiences that shaped them.

“We live in an HBO, ESPN, TMZ society,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Most people do not follow politics that closely. Sometimes, talking about something other than politics can be smarter than talking about politics.”

Read more from Katie Zezima and Sean Sullivan at The Washington Post

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Analysis & Political Strategy