The election of Donald Trump has Americans contemplating all sorts of things, and here’s a new one:
Three of the last four presidents we’ve chosen — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now Trump — were born within 10 weeks of each other in the middle of 1946.
Together they represent the earliest wave of the baby boom generation. But what makes men born in June, July or August of 1946 (Trump, Bush and Clinton, respectively) so qualified to be leaders of the free world?
“It’s a cute coincidence more than anything else,” said Gary Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California-San Diego.
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Cute coincidence? A Kansas City astrologer, Quan Tracy Cherry, would have you believe that the location of Uranus might figure in.
That planet, which takes more than eight decades to cycle around the sun, occupied roughly the same spot in the universe in 1946 as it did when American revolutionaries declared independence from England in 1776, and later when the Civil War broke out.
Uranus in that particular location seems to breed revolt on Earth, many astrologers contend.
Some political observers speculate that the generation born between 1946 and 1964, which has supplied all of our presidents since 1993, could remain in power into the 2030s. Boomers indeed could match the seven consecutive presidencies that the so-called Greatest Generation filled, from John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush, all of whom came of age in the Depression and World War II.
Generational theory has plenty of critics: So what if a bunch of Americans were born that year after troops came home from Europe and the Pacific? Are they somehow destined to rule?
Not really, said Jill Hanauer, president and chief executive of Project New America, a Colorado company that researches demographic trends for candidates and advocacy groups. Though it is worth noting, maybe, that American voters have never placed in the Oval Office anyone born between 1925 and 1945, the so-called Silent Generation.
Hanauer, who is 55, suspects that Gen-Xers (people now in their late 30s and 40s) may also be denied the office. “Gen-X is always skipped over,” she said. If true, the boomers would ultimately pass the torch to today’s largest generation, the Millennials, which include Hanauer’s children.
“For the boomers it’s been all about jobs and the economy. We’ve been talking about that since the 1980s,” she said. “For millennials it’s about community.”
But getting back to that summer of 1946, astrologer Cherry offers up one last hypothesis to explain the crop of presidents entering the world.
“To the Chinese 1946 was the Year of the Fire Dog,” he said. “The dog represents servants. They want to be helpful.”
And fire connotes passion.
“If you think of these three presidents you recognize that, like all the breeds of dogs, they’re very different from each other,” said Cherry. “Some dogs are smarter than others.”
He’d rather not elaborate.