STUMP » Articles » A Sampling of Political Mortality » 2 May 2023, 21:11

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

A Sampling of Political Mortality  


2 May 2023, 21:11

I got several new subscribers on my substack, so I thought I’d welcome them. And maybe you’re a long-time reader at old-school STUMP (which has mostly the same stuff as the substack right now, but I make some slightly different textual choices here….)

Howdy, I see there are some new people here. I’m Meep (that’s my nickname – I’m also known as Mary Pat Campbell).

I see I picked up people with my most recent post: Is Joe Biden Likely to Die Within 5-6 Years?

I’m a life actuary, so yes, I’m quite into mortality trends. That’s all in my Mortality with Meep area. I write about other topics as well, but DEATH does show up quite a bit.

In particular, though, political aspects of mortality show up.

The Congressional Body of Old Folks

Yes, I’m talking about the Senate.

I’ve had multiple posts on that. I did have one post on the House of Representatives and mortality: All Men Must Die, But They Don’t Have to Die in Office, but given the nature of the House, we don’t quite have the bunch of old folks in the House we have in the Senate.

Let’s compare:

As per the name, the Senate is the place of the old folks.

Given my color-coding, you can see the Senate skews older than the House… duh. It is, after all, in the name: Senate means place of old folks.

So, while the following posts are mostly moot, this gives you an idea of some of the stuff I’ve done:

Did you know the U.S. Senate keeps a record of the Senators who died in office?

Well, you know it now!

Here’s a graph of how it’s gone:

John McCain was the last one to die in office, in 2018, so I don’t need to update it.

Visualized by state:

Obviously, the states that have been around the longest have had the most in-office deaths, in general…. except I can’t explain Idaho.

My most recent Senate mortality post was in February this year:Senate Mortality 2023: Top Ten Old Senators

I had a ranking table of the 10 oldest Senators:

So the reason I developed this in the first place was I found it a bit presumptuous to assume Feinstein would be around to fulfill the requirements to be a senator in two years.

Same goes for you, Grassley.

There is something of a theme here.

Number One Official Qualification: Being Alive

One can make jokes about the dead voting in Chicago (har har har), but one issue I keep running up against is that one needs to be alive to hold political office or position.

I’ve also done similar calculations as above regarding Supreme Court justices.

Sometimes, I lose it a little bit:

January 2019: Mortality with Meep: Death Distributions and Survival Probability

I understand wanting somebody to live longer — I would give up some days of my life to have Stu live longer — but I CAN’T DO THAT.

Nobody can do a damn thing about extending RBG’s life, other than her doctors, and even then there are limits.

But stepping back, in February 2017, I made an estimate of about 50% that Trump would have the chance to replace a “liberal” justice, and yes, primarily due to RBG being so old.

Regular Old Mortality

To be sure, I’m more likely to post about standard mortality trends in the U.S. population.

I’m in the middle of recording a series of videos going over high-level trends of U.S. mortality for 2020-2022. My most recent post on that is here:

Video: U.S. Mortality Trends 2020-2022 part 5: Historical trajectories for Causes of Death 1999-2022

I know it’s not as sexy as political mortality, but there ya go.


Related Posts
Mortality with Meep: Were COVID Deaths Grossly Overcounted?
Vaccines Reduce Risk: A Look at the Changing Age-Related Mortality Risk of COVID
Covid Round-Up: Nursing Homes, Mortality Rates, Herd Immunity, and More