Nearing the interminable finish line to the rusty whip-fight that is the 2016 Presidential election, a thought occurred: the by the time the 2020 election arrives, I will be 36.
This means I would legally be old enough to be elected president. It also means the Millennial generation is within reach of putting one of their own into positions of power.
If Donald Trump can be recorded in 2005 explaining how to sexually assault a woman, imagine how much history will float to the surface when a Millennial, with all their elective information-sharing, runs for office.
What will people care about? What will you or I share in common with them?
What could you or I potentially have in common with a 2020 Presidential candidate?
By law, an American president must be 36 years old. This means a 2020 candidate could be born as recently as 1984. There's a lot to unpack within that one sentence. No time to dwell though.
Honorable mention: The candidate could potentially have no memory of Reagan being president. Swim in that for a moment.
On to the list.
no. 1 - The candidate might have grown up with an internet connection
What kind of person will that create? Most that grew up with an internet connection grew up knowing faceless cruelty and anonymity's clear liberation. It's alarming to consider they could have grown up as an admitted message board troll. Optimistically, it's more likely they grew up learning the hurt they could cause online, having been younger than most and more innocent in their approach to the internet.
They might have made true friends online. They might have raided in World of Warcraft together. They will have been crafted by the internet in adolescence. They could be the next president.
no. 2 - The candidate might have argued face-to-face that either Sega or Nintendo was superior to the other
In the early 90's there was enough moronic marketing and stunted growth in video games that boys were apt to fight one another over whether Sega or Nintendo was superior.
They were trained that way by TV and magazine ads. There's a possibility a 2020 presidential candidate could have thrown punches for team Sega or team Nintendo on an American elementary school playground, fists bloodied, knees scraped on gravel.
no. 3 - The candidate would have been young enough to illegally sneak into a movie theater to watch South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
Rumor has it the movie Wild Wild West only succeeded because it released at the same time as the South Park movie and younger teenagers bought tickets to that movie so they could sneak into the R-rated South Park.
This 2020 presidential candidate could have conceivably snuck into that restricted movie in 1999 to laugh at outdated Saddam Hussein jokes.
no. 4 - The candidate could have been in college when Facebook launched
Facebook launched in 2004. Users could post their information, favorite books and movies, and interests. They could designate their relationship status.
There were no timelines, at least not until later. There were no aunts or uncles, at least not until later. There wasn't even photo sharing in the beginning.
But this candidate might have been there, at some college in the northeast, sending friend requests to everyone on their sophomore hall.
no 5. - The candidate will be young enough to have used Napster in elementary school
Cursory research reveals Napster launched in 1999. This means the candidate could be savvy enough to come across a fast enough connection to access the planet's loosely-curated musical catalog. They could have stolen gigabytes of Metallica songs.
They might have burned the tracks to discs using an external CD-R drive and sold them to friends. They might have listened to those CDs while driving to high school.
This person could potentially be president in 2020.
no. 6 - The candidate will be young enough to have been sidelined while George W. Bush stole the 2000 Presidential election
Disenfranchised. Only fifteen or sixteen at the time. Ohio. Missing ballots. Florida. No decision until December of that year. Hanging chads.
The result was eight years of false wars, economic decay, and dismal reality television.
This candidate would have grown up knowing they couldn't have been a part of this. They weren't eighteen. They could not legally vote. Now, in 2020, they could run for president themselves.
no. 7 - The candidate might have grown up reading Harry Potter
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone released in 1997. It's verging on 20 years old as of this writing. This future candidate could have read the book at age 13 and be eligible to run for president in 2020.
This is staggering for those removed from the sphere. Moms and dads in certain age brackets consider Harry Potter new. The Millennial generation does not. It's their Star Wars. They're mystery stories, and magical stories, and friendship stories, and maturity stories, and distrusting the errors of past generations.
Harry Potter is all about not repeating the mistakes of your parents. Their impact cannot be understated. They aren't adventures where the protagonist seeks danger and excitement. They're more concerned with living to make it to class the next day. They're about doing right.
Those ideas could have been planted in a kid's head as a teenager. That person might run for president four years from now in 2020.