Columns, Not to Get Political But, Opinion

Can age just be a number this time? | Not to Get Political But

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley posted an image to X, formerly known as Twitter, yesterday that put the faces of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump on the poster for the 1993 movie “Grumpy Old Men.”

This is one installment of a new Haley campaign strategy — one that jointly targets Biden and Trump on account of their age.

While I hate to agree with Haley, I have to say it’s a solid tactic. 

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

Biden is the oldest president in United States history, having been 78 years old when he was sworn into office in January 2021. He would be 82 at the start of his second term.

Biden’s age has been a growing concern in the last few years. According to a survey conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post in September, 74% of Americans said that Biden was too old to run for another term, a 6% increase from May.

Unfortunately, I understand where the concerns are coming from. From falling off his bike in Delaware in 2022 to tripping three times on his way up the steps of Air Force One in 2021, it’s easy to see why voters worry whether Biden would stay upright for another four years.

Not to mention his cognitive slip-ups, such as in September 2022, when Biden mistakenly asked at the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health whether Rep. Jackie Walorski was in the audience. She had passed a month prior. 

Many Republicans have used Biden’s age as a crutch for their grievances against his reelection bid, but what many of them selectively forget is that Trump, who is currently 77, will be the same age as Biden when he was first sworn in.

But will they rise to criticize Trump in the same way they did for Biden?

Of course not, but in true polarized fashion, the Democrats will and are.

Trump’s own incoherence has been a growing concern in its own right — I would argue even more so than Biden’s given the blunders he has been making recently. 

Last Sunday, Trump’s slurred speech at a New Hampshire rally had social media disturbed. At another rally on Friday, he appeared to mix up Haley with former Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

My personal favorite — because yes, despite how aggravating I find him, he can be entertaining — is Trump’s repeated mispronouncing of the militant group Hamas as “hummus.”

We can’t call Biden’s age into question without simultaneously questioning Trump’s. The men are only four years apart, and just because Biden is older doesn’t mean he should be receiving more flack from voters.

So, should we vote for a younger candidate?

Yes, but just not right now. I understand why the hypocrisy alarm may begin to sound, but hear me out.

The youngest candidate still in the race — who actually may have a chance of securing their party’s nomination — is Haley, who is 52. 

Is she incoherent? No. Does she fall off of bikes and trip her way up plane steps? Not that we’ve seen. But please don’t vote for her.

Where she doesn’t cognitively falter, she intellectually does. At a town hall in New Hampshire, Haley failed to cite slavery as a cause of the American Civil War when asked what she thought started it. 

To Haley, the catalysts of the war were “basically how the government was going to run” and “freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do,” according to ABC News.

For me to know more than the former governor of South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union in 1860, that the Civil War was fought over the moral, economic and political implications of slavery is abominable. That person should not be in the Oval Office.

Regardless of any gripes voters have surrounding his age, Biden is the least of all evils going into the 2024 presidential election. His win is vital to the preservation of American democracy.

According to research conducted by researchers Erica Frantz, Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Joseph Wright and reported in The Conversation, Trump is likely to perform an “authoritarian power grab” should he be reelected, which could lead to such actions as “purging professional bureaucrats, expanding the Supreme Court or using the Insurrection Act to deploy the military against protesters.”

Feel free to add his age to the list of worries as well.

This election will kill Trump’s chance of return if he loses, so while younger voters do need to mobilize to elect a candidate who will add a fresh perspective to our otherwise aging government, they need to vote for ol’ Biden right now. 

Maybe 2028 will be the year when we finally choose candidates whose ages are of little concern.

More Articles

Comments are closed.