Joe Biden Surely Would Have An Age Issue – If He Runs Against Ron DeSantis: For the last few years, as the Baby Boomer generation has increasingly reached retirement age, the old battle between the elderly vs. young has raged.
Cliches have abounded: the elderly Boomers shake their head in bewilderment at their younger counterparts while their younger counterparts—notably Millennials—deride the Boomers for having basically ruined the country with their perceived greed and overall excess (which most Millennials, being the children of Boomers, benefited from throughout their growing up years).
The most powerful lobbying group in the United States, contrary to popular opinion in the press, remains the AARP.
For decades, the Boomers’ political preferences have swayed elections.
The Silents Will Be Heard Thanks to Joe Biden
President Joe Biden is even older than the oldest Baby Boomer; he belongs to the generation that preceded the Boomers, the Silent Generation. This generation, as its name suggests, was a forgotten generation that was sandwiched between the Greatest Generation of Americans, who survived the Great Depression and liberated the world from fascism in the Second World War and the Boomers who were given an incredible new world because of the Greatest Generation’s sacrifices.
According to a Time Magazine article from 1951, “The most startling thing about the younger generation is its silence [the Silent Generation] is still a small flame. It does not issue manifestoes, make speeches, or carry posters.” The 1951 Time piece concludes that this is why Biden’s generation was called the “Silent Generation.”
Another reason, some have argued, was because the Silent Generation came up during the divisive McCarthy Era, when powerful politicians were accusing Americans of being Soviet spies and ruining the lives of the accused. So, being impressionable, this generation opted to maintain a lower profile than their Greatest Generation parents or even their siblings in the succeeding Baby Boom Generation.
Despite this inherent conservatism within the Silent Generation, many also bucked the overall trend and became activists as they aged. It is believed that several prominent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, the 1960s Counterculture, and even the Rock ‘n Roll craze were all members of this Silent Generation.
For his part, Biden being the most Left-leaning president in American history, is a product of his generation. Biden has brought with him a legacy of Far-Left stances (with some more moderate ones sprinkled in, like most of the Silent Generation believed and behaved) to the White House and has governed accordingly.
Long Live the Gerontocracy
Because the United States is basically run by a gerontocracy of mostly Baby Boomers with some key members of the Silent Generation playing pivotal roles, such as Biden, the ageist notion that Biden may be too old has been put to rest far more effectively than it might have been 20 or 30 years ago.
The fact is, most people voting today in presidential elections are old—and most candidates, until recently, have been elderly.
Basically, age doesn’t really matter anymore. Should former President Donald J. Trump, himself a Boomer, be given the Republican nomination in 2024 as he hopes, America will be faced with a choice between an octogenarian (Biden) and a septuagenarian (Trump).
So, no real age difference will define that potential race.
The Ron DeSantis Factor
If, however, Biden faces Florida Governor Ron DeSantis rather than Trump, that dynamic changes. Joe Biden has a long history of gaffes that make him appear to be insensitive, at times ignorant, and even senile.
A YouGov poll from last February: when asked if advanced age hurts rather than helps a president’s job performance, 38 percent of independents said it hurts, with 49 percent of Republicans polled saying it harmed the president’s performance. For their part, 34 percent of Democrats believe that advanced age harms a president’s job performance.
Biden has reminded audiences of his struggles with a stutter throughout his youth. Apparently, this stutter has become more pronounced since becoming president. All of this coalesces into a negative perception of Biden’s cognitive abilities on the part of most American voters—notably those on the younger side. That didn’t matter as much when Biden faced Trump in 2020. It will matter if Biden competes against the disciplined and eloquent Florida governor.
Even though Biden’s handlers insist that he is a paragon of health, anyone who has ever dealt with someone in the president’s age ground understands that being in perfect health at that advanced stage in life is a dubious matter. It wouldn’t take much to set the president’s health back considerably.
And as president, Joe Biden is constantly under stress and physical strain—not exactly what the doctor ordered for someone of his age. With Trump, not only are these concerns of Biden’s advanced age allayed (because Trump is old, too), but Biden’s calmer demeanor appears to give reassurance to twitchy moderates who are not yet ready to return to the perceived chaos of the Trump Presidency.
Ron DeSantis is a different matter.
He’s a member of Generation-X. He’s young and has a healthy, beautiful family. What’s more, DeSantis has an impressive record both as a governor and an individual. He went to Yale; got his law degree from Harvard, served as a legal adviser to SEAL Commander of the Special Operations Task Force-West in Fallujah, during the troop surge of the Iraq War. He ultimately became a successful member of the United States House of Representatives and is now a highly popular—and successful—governor of one of the largest states in the Union.
DeSantis is seeking to effectively scale up his success as Florida’s vibrant governor by taking on Biden’s stodgy persona and his sclerotic record as president. Biden’s supporter argue that he has many accomplishments. This is true on paper. But are these accomplishments felt or even appreciated by ordinary voters? Do those voters believe Biden has done what he said?
If DeSantis is the GOP nominee that becomes less obvious. As one GOP insider told me several weeks ago when discussing DeSantis vs. Trump on background, “DeSantis is Trump without all the baggage.”
Many voters likely feel the same way. In fact, a recent poll states that most Americans would prefer is both Biden and Trump decided against running for office again due to their advanced ages.
A YouGov-Yahoo News poll conducted February 23-27, has DeSantis beating Biden by two points. Already, DeSantis is being met with adoration by increasingly large crowds—so much so that the insecure forty-fifth president, Trump, is having surrogates AstroTurf book signing events for DeSantis’ new autobiography throughout Florida.
Old Can’t Beat Young & Energetic
Under the gerontocracy, age has only been a number. This will continue to be the case should Trump and Biden square off in the 2024 presidential election. Although, it is not a fait accompli that Trump will be the Republican nominee. If it is DeSantis’, Biden’s age will matter more, and he will find it more difficult to effectively challenge younger candidate.
This is likely why some Democrats are saying that Biden might not run in 2024 and leave the field to allow for a younger, more dynamic candidate, such as California’s Governor Gavin Newsom (who is, by all accounts, the anti-DeSantis).
Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for 19FortyFive.com. Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower(Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.