News & Politics

With Sanders in the Hospital, Dems Realize Just How Old Their Candidates Are

With Sanders in the Hospital, Dems Realize Just How Old Their Candidates Are
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the CNN Democratic Presidential Primary Debate with Hillary Clinton at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Thursday, April 14, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Bernie Sanders was hospitalized today for “chest discomfort” and it was discovered he had blockage in 2 of his coronary arteries. The doctors placed a couple of stents in the arteries and Sanders should be okay in a couple of days.

But the 78-year-old Sanders is making Democrats nervous. It appears that Democrats have finally realized their top three candidates aren’t exactly spring chickens and that they risk much by placing their faith in a candidate who, despite apparent good health, might have an “incident” at any time, making them vulnerable to charges that they’re just too old.

The Hill:

Former Vice President Joe Biden, 76, has repeatedly heard questions about his age amid verbal flubs and statements, such as a comment about listening to records during one of the Democratic debates, that underscore how he is of an older generation.

As questions came up about his age and stamina, some allies suggested to the campaign that Biden pace himself.

Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), 70, have heard fewer questions about their age, and Sanders supporters have pointed to their candidate’s vigorous schedule and said he had no signs of slowing down. “He walks faster than I walk,” one Sanders ally told The Hill.

But questions for Sanders are likely to step up after Wednesday.

As a senior citizen myself, I know that age shouldn’t necessarily be a barrier to the presidency — except when it is. While all three candidates may, indeed, be the font of health, life has a way of throwing curveballs your way when you’re aging, no matter how healthy you think — or pretend — to be.

Some Democrats have argued the party would be better off with a younger nominee.

“The best way for the Democratic Party to realize its growth potential is younger leadership,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon said. “It is limiting that the party’s most visible leaders, Sanders, Biden, Warren and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi are all in their seventies.

“Youth must be served and the party should be grooming a new generation of leadership,” he added.

Yes, the Democrats should be grooming a new generation, except in the House and Senate, the only way you get “groomed” is by assuming a leadership position. And right now, most Democratic Party leaders in the House are old enough to have danced to the Beatles when in their teens.

The average age of the Democratic House leadership is 72 years old, whereas the average age of Republican House leadership is 48 years old. This trend continues in House committee leadership with Republican chairmen averaging 59 years old and ranking Democrats averaging 68 years old.

The Senate isn’t any younger. In fact, it’s the oldest Senate in history.

18 of the 33 Senators running for reelection in 2018 will be 65 or older. If they win, another six years in office would put Senators Feinstein, Hatch, Nelson, and Sanders well into their 80s. Looking ahead at the 2020 elections, 21 of the 33 Senators running for reelection will be 65 or older.

Maybe we should amend the Constitution to make running a mile in under 8 minutes a requirement to be president.