Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

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Addie
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Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#1

Post by Addie » Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:28 pm

WaPo - Robert G. Kaiser
Can a president be too old?

Research says septuagenarians can struggle with new tasks. That's bad news for several 2020 candidates. ...


Is this okay? Can politicians our age be effective presidents? It’s a question that can provoke strong, often pained reactions from my contemporaries. Any one person’s answer reflects their sense of what it takes to be president and what it means to be in your 70s. In my own case — healthy, active, marbles still present but unmistakably 76 — this does not seem like a good stage of life to take on such a huge challenge. I have less energy and less stamina than I did 25 years ago. I find concentration more difficult and naps more necessary. Learning a new subject is much harder than it used to be.

For my generation, the archetypal presidential geezer was Ronald Reagan, the only man (until Trump) ever to celebrate his 71st birthday in the White House. But Reagan was a spry 69 when he won the job. If Biden or Sanders triumphs in 2020, we enter an unprecedented age of — well, of old age in power. If reelected in 2024, Biden would start his second term at 82, Sanders at 83. If Trump won again, he’d still be president at 78 — 15 years older than Franklin D. Roosevelt was when he died in office in 1945.

Several dozen contemporaries with whom I’ve discussed this article, and half a dozen gerontologists, agree that 50 is a better age than 76 to undertake perhaps the hardest job on Earth. The experts on aging (none as old as I) were generally more sympathetic to the idea that someone in their late 70s might be an effective president, but no one I’ve talked to thinks this is an ideal age for the role. The specialists know the numerous studies that show, unmistakably, that on nearly every scale of intellectual capacity, people over 70 have less to offer than younger generations. The one exception is the ability to learn and recall vocabulary.

Studies of old people conclude that between 16 percent and 23 percent of Americans over 65 experience some form of cognitive impairment. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that these subjects performed worse than others on tasks involving working memory — the ability to remember information while manipulating it, as when calculating the tip on a restaurant bill — and that they’re more impaired when those tasks become more complex. Older adults also have difficulties with tasks that require dividing or switching attention, like cooking while chatting on the phone. On tests of reasoning, memory and cognitive speed, the average scores for adults in their early 70s were near the 20th percentile of the population, whereas the average performance for adults in their early 20s was near the 75th percentile. A Mayo Clinic study of 161 cognitively normal adults between 62 and 100 years of age showed that declines in learning ability closely track the passage of time. “Research has shown that concept formation, abstraction, and mental flexibility decline with age, especially after age 70, as older adults tend to think more concretely than younger adults,” according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who surveyed several studies. I would hope that impaired executive functioning is not the sort of torture Americans want their president to suffer.

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#2

Post by Slim Cognito » Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:46 pm

Just some of my arrogant opinions, and let me start with this. I'm in my early 60s and have struggled for a while with word finding difficulties and that scares the crap out of me. It's not the wrong word coming out, it's no word coming out. The "right on the tip of my tongue" scenario.

On the other hand, my not-biological mother is 94 and sharp as a tack. But she gets flustered, often to the point of tears, a lot easier these days. And she used to be a rock. Jeez, that woman could do anything she put her mind to.

Stressful situations can lead to mental decline. Look at trump. Yes, he's an idiot, yes, he's a hateful, racist waste of skin. And I'm not a doctor but I'd bet the farm that the stress of the job is exacerbating his mental decline.

So, although I'm not in favor of putting an upper age limit on the presidency (yet), I am not excited about people in their 70s running for the job. Biden's a great guy and I like him, but I will not vote for him in the primary. That said, I will vote for whomever gets the D nod, even Bernie.
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#3

Post by ZekeB » Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:55 pm

Compare my posts of today with those I did ten years ago. There's a big difference. It's obvious that Trump doesn't have all his marbles. Perhaps he never had them. In his case I think his weaknesses have only gotten worse as he has aged.
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#4

Post by AndyinPA » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:26 pm

I would also think in his case, just the stress of being "president" isn't helping.

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#5

Post by Volkonski » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:30 pm

I am in my late 60's and find myself worrying a bit about cognitive decline.

Found this paper which explains-

Normal Cognitive Aging

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4015335/
Concepts of crystallized and fluid intelligence are used to describe patterns of cognitive change over the lifespan. Crystallized intelligence refers to skills, ability, and knowledge that is overlearned, well-practiced, and familiar.4 Vocabulary and general knowledge are examples of crystallized abilities. Crystallized abilities remain stable or gradually improve at a rate of 0.02 to 0.003 standard deviations per year through the sixth and seventh decades of life.13 Because crystallized intelligence is due to accumulation of information based on one’s life experiences, older adults tend to perform better at tasks requiring this type of intelligence when compared to younger adults. In contrast, fluid intelligence refers to abilities involving problem-solving and reasoning about things that are less familiar and are independent of what one has learned. Fluid cognition includes a person’s innate ability to process and learn new information, solve problems, and attend to and manipulate one’s environment.14 Executive function, processing speed, memory, and psychomotor ability are considered fluid cognitive domains. Many fluid cognitive abilities, especially psychomotor ability and processing speed, peak in the third decade of life and then decline at an estimated rate of −0.02 standard deviations per year.13

:snippity:

Executive functioning refers to capacities that allow a person to successfully engage in independent, appropriate, purposive, and self-serving behavior. This includes a wide range of cognitive abilities such as the ability to self-monitor, plan, organize, reason, be mentally flexible, and problem-solve.4 Research has shown that concept formation, abstraction, and mental flexibility decline with age, especially after age 70 4, as older adults tend to think more concretely than younger adults.12,32,36,37 Aging also negatively affects response inhibition, which is the ability to inhibit an automatic response in favor of producing a novel response.38 Executive abilities requiring a speeded motor component are particularly susceptible to age effects.31 The Whitehall II study also found declines in inductive reasoning, as measured by verbal and mathematic reasoning tasks, beginning around age 45.32 Reasoning with unfamiliar material also declines with age. Other types of executive function, such as the ability to appreciate similarities, describe the meaning of proverbs, and reason about familiar material, remain stable throughout life.
Note that this is normal cognitive decline in healthy brains.

Seems to me that good fluid cognition, especially executive functioning, is very important in a POTUS.
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#6

Post by Slim Cognito » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:15 pm

Volkonski wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:30 pm
I am in my late 60's and find myself worrying a bit about cognitive decline.

Found this paper which explains-

Normal Cognitive Aging

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4015335/
....
Seems to me that good fluid cognition, especially executive functioning, is very important in a POTUS.
When I first noticed my decline, I talked to my doctor. She asked if I read and I told her I spend a couple of hours each morning reading the news. (I prefer to read as my hearing loss makes audio and video a struggle.) She told me, after I've finished reading for the morning, to write in a journal what I'd read and my personal opinions on the subjects. It has worked wonders for me. Not saying I'm back to my 40-y-o self, but I've improved substantially. There's something about reading information, processing it and writing it back down that kickstarts parts of the brain.
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#7

Post by ZekeB » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:45 pm

The only thing I’d like to add is that I want my president to be smarter than me. I want him to be a better politician than me. I want him to know more about law than me. I want him to have better problem solving skills than me. I want him to have more of these than I had when I was younger.

Our current president offers none of these.
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#8

Post by AndyinPA » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:58 pm

:like:

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#9

Post by Orlylicious » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:07 pm

There's also the issue of technology and rapid change which comes with our global interdependence. Remember when Donald thought he could just shut the internet down? That sort of ignorance is going to be more of a problem as cyber threats intensify. Having a non computer literate president is going to cause more problems as time goes by.
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#10

Post by Hurtzi » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:54 am

Biden is too old, but if it is him we need to beat the Orange One safely, let it be him.
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#11

Post by AndyinPA » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:08 am

There is also a difference between Biden and twitler, even at their ages. twitler doesn't consider he needs anyone else's advice. He knows it all. Biden would understand the need to listen to advice from those around him.

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#12

Post by Addie » Sun May 12, 2019 2:58 pm

Newsweek
Robert Gates Raises Questions About Age, 'Intellectual Acuity' of Septuagenarians Trump, Biden, Sanders

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates questioned the "intellectual acuity" of the three men in their seventies dominating the 2020 election discussion: Donald Trump, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Gates, who served under both former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, told CBS News' Face the Nation in an interview aired Sunday that older men in their mid-to-late 70s don't have the "kind of energy" needed to take on the office of the presidency.

Trump became the oldest first-term president when he was sworn in at the age of 70. If elected to a second term, he would be 74 at the time of inauguration. Biden is currently 76, and would be a 78-year-old first-term president, if elected. Sanders is the eldest of the group, at 77. By the next inauguration in January 2021, the senator from Vermont will be 79 years old.

On Sunday, Gates doubled down on comments he made about Biden in his 2014 memoir, saying that while he is "impossible not to like," the former VP and six-term senator has also been wrong on "every" foreign policy and national security issue in his 40-year career. Gates said it is "problematic" the country has placed a trio of septuagenarians atop the 2020 field of candidates.

At 75, Gates said he understands the limitations that come with age.

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#13

Post by Addie » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:58 pm

WaPo - Jennifer Rubin
Does ‘generational change’ make sense?

Sen. Michael F. Bennet (Colo.), a young-looking 54-year-old, is the latest Democratic presidential contender to make the case for “generational” change. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, and Rep. Seth Moulton (Mass.), 40, have both made similar arguments. In essence, they’re saying the baby boomers generally have been a disaster in politics, so they should just step aside.

Their position has a certain appeal. Not even baby boomers think baby boomers have governed well. That pass-the-baton message does seem to resonate with older voters — as evidenced by Buttigieg’s greater support among this group — who hold out some hope that maybe politics will improve by turning power over to those less tainted by unpopular wars, the irresponsible accumulation of debt and political tribalism.

The notion that we can wipe the political slate clean is historically a popular theme for Democrats: John F. Kennedy (“The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans”); Bill Clinton (“A bridge to the 21st century”); and Barack Obama (“Hope and change”). And it is comforting to think that a new generation won’t repeat all the mistakes of the past and will be unshackled from past grievances, hatreds and biases. In the case of millennials, we do find a generation that is more values-driven, more diverse, more well-read and more comfortable with new technology and a globalized economy. ...

What does make sense — both because it is good politics (given that the largest generation, millennials, and even younger generations have surpassed baby boomers in the electorate) and because it is profoundly true — is Buttigieg’s formulation. “Change is coming, ready or not,” Buttigieg told the crowd at his kickoff rally. “There is a myth being sold to industrial and rural communities: the myth that we can stop the clock and turn it back." He likewise reminds crowds that “there is no honest politics that revolves around the word ‘again.’ ”

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#14

Post by Addie » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:46 am

New York Times
How Old Should a President Be?

With So Many Choices, Democrats Are Sharply Divided

HAMPTON, N.H. — As a young adult, Ronnie Werner protested the war in Vietnam, fought for civil rights and supported a 42-year-old Democrat, Robert F. Kennedy, in her first election in 1968. Forty years later, her home served as the local headquarters for then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, as she urged her fellow Democrats to embrace new leadership.

That was then. Now, as Democrats grapple with the possibility that President Trump could win four more years in the White House, Ms. Werner feels that betting on the next generation is a risk she can’t afford to take.

“We’re in such terrible straits that everything I’ve worked for my entire professional, personal life is about to go down the toilet,” said Ms. Werner, 72, as she waited to see former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at a pizza parlor in Hampton, N.H. “Young people, I think they are hungry for change and they deserve change, but they don’t know how scary this is.”

The political power of generational change, a constant in Democratic politics and in victorious presidential campaigns for much of the last 60 years, is now being hotly debated as the party wrestles with how to defeat Mr. Trump.

Age has never defined a race so sharply before. The 23 Democrats include one of the youngest presidential candidates in modern history and the oldest one, spanning four generations — from 37-year-old Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., to 77-year-old Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont.

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#15

Post by Addie » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:33 am

Roll Call
Only 3 percent of Democratic voters want a president in their 70s, survey finds

Pew found that the age of presidential candidates is important to potential voters, and they prefer younger candidates


Two of the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, will be inching toward their 80th birthdays come Election Day.

Though Biden and Sanders are polling well among Democratic voters, their success belies what voters told the Pew Research Center in a new poll on how they see the age of candidates.

Pew, a nonpartisan arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts that conducts research and polls, found that the age of presidential candidates is important to potential Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters and that they prefer their candidates younger, specifically in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

The Pew survey, conducted early last month, found that 47 percent of Democratic voters say the best age for presidents is their 50s. If he were to win next year, Biden would be 78 upon taking office in 2021. Sanders would be 79.

The percentage of Democratic or likely Democratic voters who said the optimal age for a president is someone in their 70s: 3 percent.

Younger Democrats were more likely than their elders to prefer younger candidates. Of Democrats between 18 and 29 years of age, 55 percent said they’d favor a candidate in his or her 30s or 40s. Among Democrats 50 and older, only 12 percent viewed the 30-40 age range to be ideal for a president.


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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#16

Post by Addie » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:08 am

Associated Press
In Buttigieg and Biden, Dems Confront Generational Divide

LACONIA, N.H. — Amy McInerney at first saw Joe Biden as Democrats' best hope to beat President Donald Trump — an experienced politician with the potential to peel off some of Trump's working-class supporters. Then she heard Pete Buttigieg speak.

"I felt like Pete more represented my generation," said McInerney, 33, as she held her 6-month-old daughter, who sported a pink "Buttigieg 2020" onesie. "There need to be voices that are younger represented."

Separated by 40 years, Biden and Buttigieg represent the generational poles of the crowded Democratic presidential primary. Biden, 76, would be the oldest person elected president. Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, would be the youngest. Biden casts his decades of experience in Washington as a remedy for Trump's turbulent tenure, while Buttigieg argues that the moment calls for the energy of a new generation.

"A lot of this is simply the idea that we need generational change, that we need more voices stepping up from a generation that has so much at stake in the decisions that are being made right now," Buttigieg said shortly after announcing his candidacy.

At a time when the Democratic field is sorting out its differences on issues from health to immigration, that call for generational change, and how Democrats resolve it, could prove to be even more consequential. It's a fight not just over which candidate gives Democrats the best chance of defeating Trump in 2020, but the direction of the party for years to come.

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#17

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:32 am

My Dad was sharp during his 99th year. There was some cognitive impairment that started a few months before he turned 100. But he was still pretty sharp until 4 days before his death.

My Mother died when my Dad was 82. She had done all his secretarial and administrative work. After she died and he took it on he actually became sharper.

So it really depends on the individual. Biden doesn't appear to me to be any different from the gaff-o-matic politician who ran two decades ago.

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#18

Post by Addie » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:49 pm

With all due respect to the Old Man's :geezer: Old Man :geezer:, I think it's time the younger generation took charge. I'll vote for Biden :geezer:, if I have to, but I don't especially want to. It's time to move forward into the 21st century, imho. Let the kids make their own future. :geezerette: :geezer:

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#19

Post by ZekeB » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:03 pm

If Jimmy Carter were president today he'd be doing a better job than Trump. A far better job.
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#20

Post by p0rtia » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:13 pm

I think I'm echoing Addie when I say that I don't care about Biden's physical age one iota. I value his experience, his kindness, and his willingness to speak. But his political framework and _way_ of speaking are to me outmoded. His way of communicating IMO pretty much doesn't work any more. It is in that sense that I think he is past his sell-by date.

I want someone who is a part of the instant mass communication era; who is not going to use fluff language when there is a maelstrom that all can see. Someone who doesn't have the old fear of saying one stupid thing in a world in which it is understood that everyone says stupid things. Someone who can cope with that.

Bernie is older than Joe, I believe; I'd rather have Bernie than Joe as president. But I'd rather have Lizzie or Kamala or Julian or Cory or Pete or Amy than Bernie. Big libtard that I am. :lovestruck:
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#21

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:41 pm

I want someone who will beat Trump. Right now that appears only to be Biden. Don't fool yourselves over the polls. We did in 2016. I would also happily vote for a Harris/Buttigieg ticket or a Warren/Harris ticket or any breathing Democrats (including Bernie) over the current disaster.

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#22

Post by Hurtzi » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:56 pm

Today - age 71.5 - I have still my functioning brain.

Unfortunately I have not even half of the stamina that I had at age 40. And I do not only mean my sexlife.
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#23

Post by Foggy » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:28 am

IMHO, Biden and Sanders are the two candidates who could not beat Trump.

Why would people vote for a 20th century candidate? They won't.
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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#24

Post by qbawl » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:46 am

Foggy wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:28 am
IMHO, Biden and Sanders are the two candidates who could not beat Trump.

Why would people vote for a 20th century candidate? They won't.
:yeah:

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Re: Issues 2020: Can a president be too old?

#25

Post by ZekeB » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:59 am

Foggy wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:28 am
IMHO, Biden and Sanders are the two candidates who could not beat Trump.

Why would people vote for a 20th century candidate? They won't.
They'd rather vote for the 19th century candidate, Trump?
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