Had the Republicans won, the job would have gone to Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who is 89 and intent on proving his durability, having tweeted out videos of himself doing push-ups and going for a run during the most recent campaign. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic majority leader, is 71, while Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, is 80.
As it happens, the United States Supreme Court, often seen as a collection of elders, is having something of a youth movement. After several retirements and deaths, the four most recently confirmed justices are all still in their 50s. But if history is a guide, they will hang out for a while. The average age a justice leaves the court is 81 and Justice Clarence Thomas, the senior member, is just 74.
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was born on Nov. 20, 1942, the day the British Army captured Benghazi, Libya, from the Nazis during World War II. America was still 18 months away from the D-Day landings. Movies were still in black and white, “Casablanca” was two months away from being released, Bing Crosby was No. 1 on the charts, only about 5,000 homes had televisions, the average income was $1,885 and the life expectancy for men was 64.7.
All told, 2.8 million Americans were born in 1942, a record for the time but not as high as the birthrate would grow during the postwar baby boom. As of last year, 1.3 million people who were born in the United States and are turning 80 this year were still around, according to an analysis by Socialexplorer.com from census data.
Among others born that year and celebrating their 80th this year are Paul McCartney, Harrison Ford, Calvin Klein, Barbra Streisand, Michael Bloomberg, Michael Eisner, Joy Behar and three members of the Beach Boys.