by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Whatever their differences, the two front-runners in the Democratic presidential race, Joe Biden, born November 20, 1942, and Bernie Sanders, born September 8, 1941, share one common trait: They are too old to be president.
Biden, leading the RealClearPolitics average of polls, will be 78 years old on inauguration day 2021. Sanders, number two in the field, will be 79. Both would be older upon taking office than Ronald Reagan was when he left office after two terms.
Voters are clearly open to older candidates. President Trump, born June 14, 1946, is the oldest president ever to take office — 70 years old on inauguration day, a few months older than Reagan when he took power. And of course, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, born October 26, 1947, who, had she won, would have been the same age as Reagan — 69 — upon taking office.
Americans elect a president with the understanding that he or she might serve eight years. If that were the case with a President Sanders, he would be 87 years old on leaving office, and a President Biden would be 86.
There’s no doubt both are vigorous men. But having a president pushing 90 would be a new experience in American politics.