Too old for the presidency?

Politicians have always been known as the old, rich white guys for as long as I’ve known. We see this trend continue in the Democratic presidential race, with candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. But politics have been moving in a new direction more recently. In 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, was elected to the House of Representatives to represent New York’s 14th congressional district. The 29 year old brought with her modern ideas of climate change reform and the message of youth movements such as the March for Our Lives protest against gun violence and the Women’s March.

It’s not that these older candidates cannot embrace these ideals, too. But, with a new generation of voters voting in the next election, many other candidates like Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang may be more attractive choices for the presidency. They’re not particularly young, but they do promote more issues that connect with younger generations than say, Joe Biden. 

Joe Biden has gotten a lot of — in my opinion — undeserved heat for his age. This is mainly due to the fact that he has the most political experience and the highest current polling average by a mile. At a democratic debate, ex-candidate Eric Swalwell told Biden that he needed to “pass the torch” down to the younger candidates and leave the race entirely. Similarly, in the last democratic debate, Julián Castro took a jab at Biden, questioning his ability to remember what he had said “five seconds ago.”

But, so far, no one has seemed to take any big shots at Bernie Sanders for his age. The rambling senator from Vermont has done well in attracting a large crowd of young voters despite being the oldest running candidate at 78 years old. This may be due to his Democratic Socialist background — an affiliation that AOC shares. 

However, last week, Sanders suffered a heart attack on the campaign trail. While he has since recovered and returned to work, his health scare is sure to come up in the next presidential debate Oct. 15. For me, it is concerning that a presidential candidate could be so vulnerable in a position so powerful. However, with his modernized viewpoints and rallying stage presence, it will be interesting to see how he is welcomed at the next debate.