Unusual campaign: This election year is different in many ways from previous elections. One of those differences is that some of the most competitive candidates are all older.
- Hillary Clinton, if she became president, would end up being the second oldest president, just behind Ronald Reagan. Reagan was 69 years, 349 days old at his first inauguration. Clinton would be slightly younger at 69 years, 87 days.
- Donald Trump, if he is elected, would be the oldest president ever, taking the oath of office at 70 years, 221 days. He would be almost 75 years old at the end of his term.
- Bernie Sanders, if elected, would be even older. He would be 75 years, 135 days old on inauguration day, far surpassing Reagan’s mere 69 years old. At the end of a Sanders’ term, he would be close to 80 years old.
- Michael Bloomberg, who is considering entering the race as an independent, would also be the oldest president ever. At his inauguration, he would be almost 75 years old (74 and 340 days).
Age matters: The Wall Street Journal article notes that age has not been raised much during this campaign. While age does not necessarily mean a person is not able to serve as president, out of the five oldest presidents, two have died in office (William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor), one experienced signs of dementia during his term (Reagan), and one has consistently been rated by historians and scholars as America’s worst president (James Buchanan). In addition, we know that the presidency is a 24/7 job with considerable stress and those in the Oval Office age quicker than others. Witness the pictures of presidents at the beginning and end of their terms.
Factors to consider: In addition to age, voters should evaluate the experience, temperament, rhetoric, and policy positions of the candidates.
Previous blog: Click here to read my previous blog on “Does the President’s Age Matter?”