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Why Do Such Elderly People Run America? (The Atlantic)

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Why Do Such Elderly People Run America? – By Derek Thompson (The Atlantic) / March 5 2020

Sanders is too old. So is Biden. Trump too.

When Joe Biden climbed to the stage in California to celebrate his Super Tuesday comeback in the Democratic primary, three things happened in a matter of minutes. He basked in the thunderous applause from the crowd. He mistook his wife for his sister. And he delivered the sort of confusing, intermittently slurry, and occasionally indecipherable oration that has defined so many of his recent public appearances.

One might expect a typical opponent to seize on these verbal slips by questioning whether Biden, who is 77, is too old to hack it. But his rival Bernie Sanders, who has already suffered a heart attack during this campaign, is a year older. In January 2021, the three people most likely to be the next president—Biden, Sanders, and the incumbent, Donald Trump—would each be the oldest president to ever give an inaugural address in American history.

We have now before us three candidates divided by ideology, but united in dotage. All three white men were born in the 1940s, before the invention of Velcro and the independence of India and Israel. Amazingly, each is currently older than any of the past three U.S. presidents. If, through some constitutional glitch, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama jumped into the 2020 race at this very moment, each would suddenly become the youngest man in the contest.

How did this happen?

One possibility is that it’s mere randomness. It’s only one election that’s been roiled by Trump, you might think, and younger blood is waiting in the wings. But old age runs deep in modern presidential politics. Elizabeth Warren would also be the oldest president-elect in American history. The losers of the past two presidential elections, Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton, were born months apart in 1947.

Continue to article: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/why-are-these-people-so-freaking-old/607492/

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