The Mystery of the Great Congressional Youth Revolution

Evan Soltas is concerned about the graying of Congress:

Looking at these charts, I got curious about something. The age of Congress increases steadily from the beginning, just as you’d expect given lengthening lifespans. But then there’s a sudden drop in age from about 1958 through 1980. So what would Congress look like if there had been no decline and average age had continued to go up as it had for the previous 170 years? Like this:

We’re right where we ought to be. Life expectancy at age 30 has gone up about 15 years since 1789, and the average age of Congress has also gone up 15 years. So there’s no mystery there. The real question is, why was there a sudden drop over the 20-year period from 1958-1980? Perhaps something related to the World War II generation getting old enough to run for Congress? Followed up later by the post-Watergate congressional classes? Anybody got any other ideas?

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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