Presidential age limits increasingly necessary in modern era 


Aaron Murphy, Staff Writer

President Joe Biden was born on Nov. 20, 1942, the same day the Soviet Union began its counter-offensive against Nazi Germany in Stalingrad. Three years later World War II would come to a close after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945. Biden will turn 80 years old next month.

Biden was elected to the presidency when he was 78, which is almost a decade older than the next oldest president, Donald Trump, who was elected when he was 71. In 2024, Biden will be up for reelection, and President Trump has been posturing towards running again. If successful, this would mean the 2024 election would be between an 82-year-old and a 78-year-old.

Presidents in the 21st century face challenges such as global warming, political polarization, rising income inequality, tech monopolies, crypto-currency and an increasingly digitized world, all issues that young people will have to solve. So why for the past decade has America elected its two oldest presidents?

At the third Democratic presidential debate in 2019 President Biden said that to solve illiteracy, parents need to put their children in front of record players, which would have been commonplace back when Biden was a kid, but now it is an archaic piece of technology. This slip up, and those like it, show the nation and the world that America is led by a leader from a bygone era. It is imperative now more than ever that leaders can show that they are well-versed in modern technology.

Another issue with having an elderly leader is the public image that the leader projects. At G-7, a meeting of seven of the most advanced Western economies, President Biden wandered away from the group and had to be retrieved by his staffers. President Trump was also known for his inflammatory Twitter comments, which seemed to become more controversial as his presidency progressed. The last two presidents have been the laughing stocks of the world and among other world leaders, due at least partially to their ages. If America’s leaders are not respected, then the nation as a whole will appear weak and incompetent.

According to Article II of the U.S. Constitution, the president must be at least 35 years old, but there is no upper age limit. 

According to Statista, the average American life expectancy was 78.8 in 2020, but in 1900 it was 48.1. When the Constitution was written, an 80-year-old president would have been possible but unlikely; therefore the framers likely did not see a need to cap the age of a president. But due to an aging population, it’s time to set the presidential age limit at 75 at the time of election. This limit would provide a 40-year election window for candidates.

 If these changes are not made, then the public must support younger candidates. In 2024 election, young Republicans need to get active and support candidates who adhere to their values while also being an alternative to Trump, the current favorite for the nomination. Biden is the incumbent, so young Democrats can do less to ensure their candidate’s age. Still, it is never too early to start supporting up- and-coming candidates. Young voters can elect a candidate that represents them, but only if they decide to vote.