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Forgetting and Dropping Out: America’s Leadership Team is Aging


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Status: 09/02/2023 3:32 pm

Some of them are already in their 80s, but still feel fit for the political scene: despite their age, many leading politicians in America are not thinking of retirement. Are Aptitude Tests the Solution?

Recently in Kentucky: Mitch McConnell was asked at a press conference if he wanted to run again in 2026. Instead of answering, the 81-year-old freezes and stands blankly. His assistant repeats the question. After 40 agonizing seconds, McConnell wrestled feebly, unable to answer two more questions before being escorted off the stage.

This is the second such incident in five weeks. A bit dizzy, which is normal after a severe concussion, McConnell’s team explains later. The Republican Party fell in March, and not for the first time. The old man known as “Turtle” is not the only senior in the Senate whose age is now clear.

Haley: “The Senate is what it is Very privileged elders home”

Democratic Senate legend and colleague Dianne Feinstein, now 90, has been battling forgetfulness and attention problems for years. In meetings, she often gets distracted — and lets others tell her how to vote.

“The Senate is now the most privileged nursing home in the country!”, for example, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley enshrined on Fox News Channel. “Mitch McConnell has done great things and he deserves credit for that. But you have to know when to walk away.”

Biden is already the President of the United States

Haley, 51, campaigning on the issue of generational change, is still exceptional in this clarity. But the debate about age or term limits is again in full swing. Especially with the next presidential election in mind: For example, Haley recommends mental competency testing for candidates over 75.

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He takes aim at 77-year-old Donald Trump. At 79, Joe Biden is already the oldest US president of all time. “Joe Biden will never survive a second term. We can’t have an 81-year-old president,” Haley said.

Majority think Trump and Biden are too old

A majority of Americans agree with the Republican Party. According to the polls, they especially consider Biden, but Trump is also too old for another term. Jay Olshansky, an age researcher at the University of Chicago, disagrees: Both politicians appear to experts to be what experts call “superagers” — people who are physically and mentally fit despite their old age.

Biden, for example, plays sports and takes almost no medication. “There’s no evidence of a mental breakdown. There’s a tendency to interpret his faltering that way. He looks a lot weaker than Trump, but that’s also because of the weight,” Olshansky said.

So he feels that age limits and tests are arbitrary. It would be very helpful if politicians with cognitive problems or life-threatening illnesses opened their cards to voters. You can’t force them to do anything. “If someone who wants to be president has problems with cognitive functioning, we as voters see that,” Olshansky explains.

Age does not determine elections

Kyle Kondik, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, believes that while a majority of Americans view these candidates as too old, this aspect will not ultimately decide the election. “There are so many things people say they want, but they don’t choose accordingly.” Because other factors are more important.

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