by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The issue of leaders staying too long on the political stage has relevance right now.
President Joe Biden turned 79 last month. …
… Biden insists he will run for reelection in 2024, but the Washington Post recently surveyed 28 Democratic strategists and officials. Almost all of them expressed private concerns about Biden running again. Some of the strategists worried that “another presidential bid would involve a much more rigorous schedule than the relatively calm 2020 campaign, which was largely conducted remotely because of the covid-19 pandemic.”
But Democrats have an age problem that goes well beyond Biden. House speaker Nancy Pelosi is 81 years old and has been silent about her plans to run for speaker again. Her deputy, House majority leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, is 82 years old. The No. 3 House Democrat is Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who is 81 years old.
In the Senate, majority leader Chuck Schumer is the spring chicken of the leadership bunch. He turned 72 last month. Schumer’s deputy, Senate majority whip Dick Durbin, is 77 years old.
Senate Democratic ranks will see a little fresh blood after next year’s midterms thanks to retirements — but only a little. …
… A geriatric leadership problem extends to both parties. President Trump would be 78 if he ran for office again in 2024. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Minority Leader, is 79 years old. In Iowa, GOP senator Chuck Grassley is running for reelection at age 89.
But overall it’s Democrats who face the biggest seniority problem. The Democrats in power today came of age in the 1960s, when Great Society programs were popular and the radical counterculture reigned supreme. They have learned nothing from those failures, and in their dotage, they have failed to contain the progressive forces that have endangered the party’s electoral prospects.