The looming die-off of Baby Boomers (persons born between 1946 and 1964) might threaten the election efforts of TV personalities, Donald J. Trump (R-New York) and Oprah Winfrey (?-Illinois).
Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1997) overtook Boomers as America’s largest generation in 2016, Pew Research reported. There are currently around 75.4 million Millennials and 74.9 million Boomers in America, that gap will be wider in 2020.
The number of Millennials is expected to increase by around four million in the next decade, Knoema forecast. That coupled with an increase in the death rate for white, middle-aged men (likely Trump voters and TV watchers), detected by Anne Case and Angus Deaton shows Donald and Oprah will be pursuing a shrinking pool of votes. Even as the voter base for their younger, tech-savvy opponents grows.
Throw in 65.6 million Generation Xers (those born between 1965 and 1979), and 73.6 million members of Generation Z (persons born since 1998) who are entering the voter rolls, and you can see that Boomer candidates like Donald and Winfrey will have a real challenge connecting with a lot of voters in 2020.
Sorry, Oprah and Donald, the Millennials and Generation Z have already tuned you out
This is problematic because Donald and Oprah’s whole appeal is based on their television personas. How are they supposed to appeal to younger voters that do not watch television?
Only around 53% of Millennials watch traditional TV, Ad Age reported. Nearly half the members of that age group (47%) told Hearts & Science that they did not watch “traditional television.” Generation Z is even more allergic to the boob tube, its average member watched just 14 hours of “traditional television” a week in 2016, Fortune’s Deep Patel noted. In contrast, the average Baby Boomer spent 35.8 hours watching TV in 3rd Quarter 2016; or 21.8 more than their grandchildren, Statista reported.
That means Winfrey may not be as famous as the establishment thinks. I imagine many “journalists” will be shocked when large numbers of Millennials and a majority of Generation Z members ask, “just who is this Oprah person anyway?” At least a few Generation Xers will ask, “Oprah is she still around, I thought she died or something.”
Zuckerberg can beat Oprah and Trump
This problem is hardly new, but the media elite; which is promoting Oprah for President, has been ignoring it for a long time. The dangers were already apparent last year and predictably ignored by the Big Media.
- Trump already got a taste of this in 2016, when he received just only 37% of the Millennials vote, The Atlantic reported. Around 55% of voters under 35 supported Hillary Clinton.
- Another TV-centric celebrity candidate Hillary Clinton (D-New York) got a taste of this when she faced an unexpectedly strong primary challenge from U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vermont) social-media driven campaign. Sanders raised more money than Clinton for three months in a row by using digital donations, Politico reported.
- At least part of Trump’s success came from a successful digital campaign implemented by his Generation X son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Both Trump; and whoever the top Democrat is, are likely face strong challenges from insurgent candidates using social media and digital fundraising to marshal Generation X, Generation Z, and Millennial support. One of them is likely to knock off a major candidate and win the nomination and possibly the White House.
This means that is likely that Oprah’s TV-centric campaign may go down in flames early in the primaries. Trump, who is very digital savvy, might do better.
It also means that the most credible celebrity candidate is Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg – who has the money and the technology to win. Zuckerberg controls both a $71 billion fortune and the world’s largest Social Media Empire with around two billion users.
The generation gap might make Oprah for president a footnote in the history books.
Revelation: this article has been changed since it originally appeared. Additional data and an infographic have been added.