Crystal Balls and Presidential Victories

4 Feb

I’m not much of one for politics, particularly the national kind. But I’m much of one for watching trends, shifts in direction and generational influences. So, I’m going to “crystal ball” the presidential elections. I’ll be using the Strauss and Howe generational theory and The Fourth Turning as my primary reference info to do so.

OK. Here we are: America is at the end of the end of a cultural mood known as an Unraveling: Feelings of personal optimism are high; feelings of public trust are at their nadir; great politicians can be sunk by one small blunder; even the best of plans are stuck in the mud of compromise by the Silent Gen reign of many decades. The acerbic and long-standing fighting (and very little action other than talk) of the Boomers is getting on pretty much everyone’s last nerve. There is, to sum things up, little belief in the power of institutions, little hope that large problems can be solved, but, eh, ya know … things aren’t so bad on the personal front for most people. Sound familiar? That folks is now, and that is an Unraveling Era.

Given that America is just entering into the generational constellation that has, for the past 500+ years of Anglo-Saxon culture, produced a rip-roaring Crisis right at this point, the likelihood that a swift and sudden Crisis will hit soon is high.


But on to the Crystal Ball. First, the Republicans.

Personally, I ain’t feeling the Republicans. I just don’t get a vibe on them having much cultural power right now. GenXers (Nomads) lean Republican, but they vote for efficacy and survival — short-term AND long-term, first. They’re also more independent voters than other generations, so don’t count on them for towing any party, or the party line.

Crystal Ball #1: The absolute worst choice Americans could make at this time would be McCain. Not because of who he is, but because he was born in 1936, is a Silent Gen, and the current generational constellation is ill-served by Silent leadership. The Silent compromise ethic is NOT what is needed in a Crisis era. While beneficial and necessary in other times, a compromise-oriented leader is a disaster in a Crisis Era.

Crystal Ball #2: Huckabee (1955) actually has more of an edge that would bring swing voters, particularly GenXer parents (Nomads generation parents tend to lean conservative) over to vote for a Republican presidential candidate. Unfortunately, the man just doesn’t have “National Leader” stamped on his forehead, and nothing can put it there. Oh well. Sorry, Republicans, I think you’re out of this election.

**** Now for the juicy stuff: Da Dems ****

Hmmm, interesting how the Republicans are often referred to by last name, while the dems are by first. Let me go informal here.

Scenario #1: No Crisis
(as in THE WHOPPER Crisis that’ll last quite a while). If The Crisis doesn’t hit before the Democratic National Convention, then Hilary will probably win.

  • The Silent Gen (1924 – 1942), honoring sensitivity and their civil rights roots, PLUS needing their information to come from experts, will probably provide a chunk of Hilary voters. While small in size, relative to the other generations, they’re 32 million members DO VOTE!
  • Boomers, while larger in size at 64 million, are not historically (as a Prophet generation) very active or dependable voters, preferring the spiritual to the political path for deep change.
  • Nomads (today’s GenXers), while typically not big voters, do become voters (usually conservative) when they have families. And today’s GenXers, ages 27-47, and numbering 82 million, are solidly in The Family-raising Years.
  • About a third of the 79 or so million Millennials will be of age to vote. Most of them will have Boomer parents. (GenXers will be the parents of most Millennials in high school and below.) Most Millennials will vote, now at least, as their parents do, as they trust adults to make good decisions FOR THEM. As in, for their interests. As Boomers are quite divided politically by the time they reach mid-life and early elderhood, the Millennial vote will probably be a wash now … not in numbers, but in impact. Just add a notch to whatever side their parents vote on for now. (Later in life, Heroes — today’s Millennial generation — tend to vote largely Democratic, but that’s down the road.)

Now, sales professionals know: People buy emotionally and back things up with logic and fact. Without much emotion about the election and the direction of the country (and there ISN’T much emotion or carrying about the public in an Unraveling Era) then Hilary has more of a chance. Why? Because people will vote with their minds and she is a good candidate on paper and logically so for many. Crystal Ball #3: Sans Crisis, Hilary is in.

Scenario #2:
Crisis hits before the Democratic National Convention. Hands down/Crystal Ball #4. Obama. By a landslide.Why? Because he really is the only candidate capable of handling The Crisis. And people feel him when he speaks. They may not like him. They may not find him the most qualified, but he has a tonal quality to his voice that speaks to a capacity to cut through BS, frame issues intelligently and take action, without being stuck of the moral fighting so typical of his next-elder colleagues. And in a Crisis, that’s what’s needed. Plus, Americans will need someone who can instill hope and offer a vision, and he can do this.

People make decisions first with feelings and intuition …  support it later with logic. In a Crisis, that feeling-based decision-making process will become clear and dominant. Why? Because a Crisis will accelerate emotions. An Unraveling doesn’t. Hilary, qualified as she is, doesn’t stir people’s hearts. Though she can stimulate their minds. Obama stirs people deep inside … even if they don’t THINK he’s the best candidate … he’s the best (currently identified) national leader in a Crisis.

Americans will know, intuitively, from conversations on the street, at work and around town; they will know that he is the one to lead them through these dark times. And so it is. The silver lining of the dark cloud of a Crisis Era is that all the generations are lined up perfectly to come together, unite and evolve into something greater on the other side of the Crisis. Boomers will be in elderhood, providing principled moral leadership. GenXers will be in prime positions of leadership, managing the Crisis for the good of all. Millennials will unite as a can-do, upbeat team (Army?) under their next and next-next elder generations, and the Homeland Gen children will serve their necessary role of being over-protected in an era of adult self-sacrifice.

Such is the Anglo and American history for the last 500+ years; it’s a cycle that moves with amazing consistency.

The only question is who will be our president when The Crisis hits? I offer that the answer lies in whether the Crisis — in whatever man-made form it takes — hits before the Democratic National Convention or after it.


If you’re local to the B-W area, I’m offering an introductory class on generations: one on Wed and another on Friday. Come. It’ll fun.

This is, of course, just crystal ball-ing a scenario. I might need some Windex and a soft, linen-free cloth to clean mine up. 🙂 Rock on.


One Response to “Crystal Balls and Presidential Victories”


  1. Presidents and Crystal Balls « Jessie X - November 5, 2008

    […] Comments I was just reminded by a friend of a blog post I wrote back in early February. It’s here and it’s long. In it, I articulate who I thought would win the presidential election and why, […]

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