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The fallacy of criticizing political candidates for being too old or too young

By Rachel Alexander
web posted March 11, 2024

Joe Biden's increasing dementia is drawing considerable attention to his age, causing many to question whether at some age, people become too old to serve in office. The Democrats are cleverly using the controversy to divert attention to Donald Trump's age, even though no one actually believes Trump is showing any signs of slowing down. Progressives incessantly point to any gaffes he makes, but he's not making any more than someone constantly giving major speeches on a hectic schedule does. Biden is 81 and Trump is 77.

Ronald Reagan was almost 78 when his second term ended. Several other presidents were 70 or almost 70 when they left office. The founding fathers included a minimum age to be president in the Constitution, but did not not include a maximum. 

There are many health issues people of all ages can have that might hinder their ability to serve in office. Brain disorders and neurodegenerative diseases don't just affect the elderly. Early-onset Alzheimer's disease can start in the 30s. The healthiest 75-year old is in far better shape than a 40-year old who is literally losing their mind. It's unfair to stop someone healthy from running for office simply because Biden should not be in office. 

Older people bring a valuable aspect to politics — wisdom, experience and steadiness. They can stop the same mistakes from being repeated because they remember how those actions went down before when tried. 

At the same time, older people tend to get set in their ways, such as not being eager to try out new technology and new ways of doing things, so they're more likely to be lacking in knowledge of new technology. This is why a balance of both older and younger people is the optimal mix in politics. Practically, it makes sense as well, since older and younger people both need representation — the population consists of both.  

The criticism of young candidates is equally as invalid. One middle-aged activist recently ranted to me about how some officers in the local Republican Party are "new and inexperienced." On its own, it could be a valid criticism — such as if all the officers running a party fit that description. But if there are some older ones with experience to offset them, what's wrong with that?  

If you have too many older, experienced people in office, the risk increases that they will be RINOs due to all the connections they've made over the years; I explained the phenomenon here. When you have developed a close relationship with a politician "friend," who funnels business and favors to you, it becomes very difficult to go against them. 

How young is too young? The founding fathers made the minimum age for president 35. But many other offices around the country don't have a minimum age, and very young people usually don't even try to run for office since it's a far bigger hurdle for them due to the learning curve. We let people vote at age 18, so why not serve in office? The 26th Amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 in 1971. In today's era, with information about everything at your fingertips on the internet, 18 doesn't seem very problematic. Granted, recent efforts by progressives to lower it even further are due to their stranglehold on public education; before youth finish high school they have been severely brainwashed, so it can take several years in the real world working full-time and paying taxes to reverse that.  

At 18, it becomes legal to serve in the military, buy cigarettes, work full-time, apply for a credit card, get piercings or tattoos without parental permission, buy a house or vehicle, play the lottery, consent to have sex and move out of your parents' house. Considering all these things affect someone at age 18 as much as they do the rest of the voting populace, it makes sense to allow them to run for office and have a say in them. 

Would you rather have an extremely bright, hardworking solid conservative Gen Z candidate or a RINO, lazy, not-very-bright senior citizen candidate? Have you listened to some of the Turning Point USA ambassadors on Newsmax? You'd never guess you were listening to someone in their early 20s. The best Gen Z candidate is far better than the worst elderly candidate.

At the same time, blasting politicians in office as "geriatric" and demanding they be replaced merely due to their age is equally foolish. Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell appeared to have "senior moments" and probably need to go, and at least McConnell recognized this and is retiring. But Charles Grassley is the oldest member in Congress at age 90 and he's been excellent. Why should we get rid of one of the best members of Congress merely because there are some really old, awful Democrats who are likely developing dementia? Eight of the 10 oldest members of Congress are Democrats, and Democrat strategist Robin Biro admitted on Newsmax a few days ago that the Democrats don't have any younger high-profile members of Congress to take over from their elderly leadership, unlike Republicans.

The left treats people as groups, while the right treats people as individuals, so it's natural for the left to stigmatize people based on age. And we all know their pretend outrage over Trump's age is merely a really bad deflection from their own candidate who should not be in office due to dementia. 

If we rejected candidates because they were too young, we'd never have the C.J. Pearson phenomenon. Pearson, who grew up in a black Democratic household, became famous for producing clever videos criticizing Barack Obama when he was only 12. He turned 21 last year and is now running for the Georgia House of Representatives. He became interested in politics in 2nd grade, so has far more experience than people realize.

The right needs to wise up and not fall into the Democrats' trap of pretending their objections to our candidates are about age. ESR

Rachel Alexander and her brother Andrew are co-Editors of Intellectual Conservative. She has been published in the American Spectator, Townhall.com, Fox News, NewsMax, Accuracy in Media, The Americano, ParcBench, Enter Stage Right and other publications.

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