On Nov. 20, President Joe Biden reached the age of 81. He celebrated with a quiet gathering, surrounded by friends and family. Although this news seems relatively insignificant, it marks a significant point as we approach the upcoming national election season: the age of American politicians.
It’s not exactly an image of vitality to see any politician, let alone our President, sitting behind a cake with 81 candles on it, a reminder on how potentially out of touch government leaders are.
An unnamed political science student had this to add on the issue: “Our politicians are ticking-time-bombs. Because of how old they are, we can’t accurately tell when they’re going to be sick for an extended period of time, or just fall over and die. There isn’t any accountability for this issue, because the geriatric population simply outnumbers the responsibly aged members of our government. My grandmother is the same age as our President and she falls for gift-card phone scams, but somehow we’re all okay with allowing Joe to access the nuclear codes?”
The age of our politicians has also left them out of touch with issues, such as the cost-of-living crisis. Two years before Biden was born, the average price of a house was just around $3,000 according to CNBC. Right now, that average price sits around $200,000.
A group of unnamed students were further asked about their thoughts on the current cost of living and this statistic. We received varied answers. One student said, “I’ll probably never retire, and it makes me incredibly worried that our leadership is out of touch.”
Another student stated the contrary: “I’m going to medical school, so I’m not particularly worried. I think that he (Biden) still has the mental facilities to effectively lead.”
Moving into 2024, none of the current frontrunners for President are below retirement age. Biden, Donald Trump, and Independent RFK Jr. are all either north of or near the age of 70. Assuming Trump does not get the nomination, the other Republican candidates range from 61 to 38 years old. In the unlikely event that Trump isn’t the nominee, voters may see a relatively young candidate for President on the ballot for the first time in eight years.
This also emphasizes the need for a careful Vice President pick for both parties. With both Biden and Trump well past the average American life expectancy of 77 years, we are one fall, slip, or trip away from the line of succession being activated. With the likelihood of either major-party candidate dying during their next term, both candidates will hopefully choose someone who can rise to the occasion should the need arise. For Biden, this person is current Vice President Kamala Harris. For the Republicans, their VP nominee has not yet been announced. With Harris sitting at 59, and other Republican candidates sitting at reasonable ages, Americans can hope that the potential successor to Biden or Trump will be more in touch with the American people.
With these facts in mind, 2024 is going to be an interesting year in American politics. With the polarization of our nation, combined with the infighting in both chambers of Congress, on top of the advanced age of the candidates, we can only sit back and watch.