75% Of Americans Want Age Limits on the President, Here’s Why It Won’t Happen

Frustration is mounting at the aging of America's top political leadership. More and more people are showing support for implementing age limits on the most important positions in the government: the President and Congress.

Is It Time for an Age Cap?

The US Constitution already has a clear minimum age requirement to hold office, so people are wondering why there could not be a maximum as well.

“It seems like the de facto threshold for running for president is not 35, but 80,” said Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York, who at age 34 can serve in Congress but can't yet serve in the nation's highest office.

In a poll conducted by Insider and Morning Consult, they found that three in four Americans favor an age limit for members of Congress. More than four in ten said the current ages of our political leaders is a “major problem.” Given that mandatory retirement based on age is standard practice in most other industries, many wonder why this is not standard for the most important and taxing job in the country.

Age caps for politicians aren't a new concept either. Thirty-one states and even the District of Columbia require all state-level judges to retire when they reach 70-75 years of age.

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Still a Long Way Off

Despite the evidence pointing towards an age cap on the President and Congress being a beneficial implementation, Congress' youngest and oldest lawmakers agree that an age limit is not yet on the table. “I don't know how you do that. You would have to amend the Constitution?” asked Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, who at 88 is among the Senate's most elderly lawmakers. “I think it depends on the person too, a lot of times. I've known some people sharp in their mid-90s.”

He did, however, amend his statement, saying, “I'm concerned that politics has become a gerontocracy. If I become a shadow of my former self, then it's time for me to go. There's something to be said for exiting gracefully.”

Barriers to Entry

Lawmakers who are critical of the gerontocratic nature of American politics say that the most pressing issue is the barriers to entry for young political hopefuls. Older politicians have not only the incentive but the power to remain in their political position as long as they wish.

The seniority system, the campaign-finance system that favors incumbents, gerrymandered congressional districts, and the indefinite ability to seek office deter and discourage younger people from seeking office.

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What an Age Limit Would Entail

There are a few main concerns that the age limit would be addressing:

  1. Younger people need to be better represented in politics
  2. Humans usually experience cognitive and physical decline as they get older
  3. With both technological and societal changes in play, it is time for a new generation with more intimate knowledge of issues in our country to be given the chance to lead

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.