Why Joe Biden Is Needed by the Democrats: At age 80, President Joe Biden is the oldest president the United States has ever seen – and presuming he wins again in 2024, he will break that record for a second time at his second inauguration.
Joe Biden knows his age is an issue.
Behind the scenes, nobody really knows the full story about the president’s physical and mental health, or how confident he is that he’ll be able to effectively govern up until the age of 86.
In public, however, Biden has repeatedly expressed confidence that his age not only doesn’t disqualify him from holding public office but comes with a host of benefits.
During remarks to the Irish parliament in April, the president admitted that he is at the end of his career, but said that his years in politics bring a “little bit of wisdom.”
“I come to the job with more experience than any president in American history,” Biden said. “It doesn’t make me better or worse, but it gives me few excuses.”
Joe Biden: The Age Issue
And while the president may well have more experience in politics than any other before him, his age was an issue raised by voters in the last election campaign, and that won’t change before the next race, either.
After years of embarrassing gaffes, an incident where he fell off of a bicycle, several examples of the president struggling to climb stairs, and repeatedly getting lost while on stage, voters have repeatedly told pollsters that they believe the president is too old for the job.
In March, 68% of registered voters told YouGov pollsters that the president is “too old for another term.”
48% of Democrats told the same pollsters that they believe Biden should step aside for a younger candidate, and just 34% said that they believe his age is not an issue.
As president, Biden is fortunate enough to have a loyal team of advisers, assistants, and spokespeople who are willing to praise his mental sharpness and work ethic whenever the matter is raised by journalists.
Democratic Senator for California Diann Feinstein, however, does not have quite the same level of protection as Biden – and the concerns raised by her Senate peers reveal the reality of serving in public office as an octogenarian.
Feinstein, now 89 years old, was hospitalized in March with shingles. The news came out after Feinstein missed Senate votes in the week running up to her hospitalization, and when the veteran senator returned to work, she was photographed looking extremely frail as she was pushed by aides in a wheelchair.
Democrats in Congress have called on Feinstein to resign, including California Rep. Ro Khanna, who thanked Feinstein for her service and said it was time to “put the country ahead of personal loyalty.” Feinstein’s colleagues have also told reporters that her memory is quickly deteriorating.
If the voters have concerns about the president’s age and colleagues of Senator Feinstein have expressed concern about her ability to serve her constituents for the last several years, then a conversation must surely be had about the president’s abilities.
Maybe Democrats Want An Older Candidate
If the Democrats know their candidates are aging – which they do – and if their own voters think it might be a problem, then why can’t the party bring itself to nominate someone younger to lead them into the next presidential election?
While it is of course true that the Democrats have some of the most recognizable young members of Congress, the party may also realize that the only way to win is to maintain the vote of moderate Democrats, to excite young people, and to win over moderates who may be turned off by the incessant negative reporting and accusations of “stochastic terrorism” thrown at the Republicans.
Biden might be old, but he is a recognizable “moderate” face who can win over the old Democrats and the party’s newer, younger base. The Democrats know they can maintain the support of younger people by reminding them that their alternative is Trump, so they don’t need a younger and more divisive candidate like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the ticket.
The president’s age may be a problem to voters, but at least for the time being, he may genuinely be the best bet the Democrats have of winning the White House again without completely reversing their bizarre shift to Wokeism entirely.
If the Democrats want to be the party of the ultra-progressives, they can only win by putting on a moderate mask – and Biden is just the man for the job. Even at 80 years old.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.