There has been a lot of discussion regarding age in regards to US Presidents. Many recent articles discuss how the candidates for President are older. I thought this was a subject worth looking at more intensely.
On Wednesday, Derek Muller had an opinion piece at the Wall Street Journal suggesting a potential upper age limit on Presidents. In the article, Muller brings up the age of a lot of candidates, we’ll look closer at that. As I thought about the article I am writing, I wondered just how much the Presidency has aged.
President Trump was the oldest President to ever take office in 2017 at the age of 70. He was just short of one full year older than Ronald Reagan when he took office in 1980. The youngest President elected was John F Kennedy at the age of 43. But he was not the youngest President. The youngest ever was Theodore Roosevelt at 42, who took office after McKinley died.
So has the US Presidency aged? Well according to the data, it really hasn’t. Aside from Reagan and Trump, the overwhelming majority of Presidents took office in their 50’s and 60’s. In fact, the ages of 55-58 are the most common of them all. But this does not address the concern that Muller raised in his article.
If Trump is reelected, he would be the oldest President to be re-elected and the oldest President in history if he completes his last 4 years. Yet, he may not be the oldest President for long depending on the 2020 election outcome. As Muller cites, Biden (78) Bloomberg (78) Sanders (79) or Warren (71) would all be older than Trump at their time of election and taking office. Clinton would be 72 at the time of the 2020 election if she chose to get into the race.
So now the question, is there an age that is too old for someone to assume the Presidency? Many on the left have argued against President Trump and his age. Others have discussed about Biden and his issues remembering as part of the campaign. The question is not one of age, but ability to fulfill the duties of the office. At 73, President Trump has proven he has the ability to fulfill the duties of the office.
But will he have issues at 76 in his second term? Will Biden have issues at 79 during his first term? Current US life expectancy sits at just under 80 years old. In the 1800’s, this average life expectancy was around 35 years old. Thomas Jefferson took office in 1801 at the age of 57, while McKinley took office in 1897 at the age of 54. Both men were well past their life expectancy when they took office.
So the notion that someone in their 70’s being too old for office I think is a horrible one. The question should not be one of age, but it should be of ability to serve. The younger generation many times has a neglect for anyone with an age advantage on them. Not true for them all, but it is true for many. Age is simply a number and an indicator of life experience.
The US presidency has not aged in the terms that most would suggest. As life expectancy increases, you would expect to see an increase in the age of those active in politics. The better question is how much of an increase has there been in term length of members of Congress.
You can contact JD through the Liberty Loft website or by Twitter. If you like the content you find on the Liberty Loft, consider donating to support conservative speech