The 2020 election already has everyone on the edge of their seats. With an exceptionally polarized political climate in America, Democrats are eager to replace Trump with one of their own.
However, many have been torn between the front runners, and voters have acknowledged that their endorsement may come down to strategy, not preference. By this I mean, many intend to vote for the candidate they believe has the best shot of winning.
Bernie Sanders has maintained robust support throughout his campaign, with more individual donations than his main ideological competitor, Elizabeth Warren. This being said, many say he is disadvantaged by something he cannot change: his age.
At 78, Sanders would be the oldest president the nation has seen, and that may deter voters. Recently, Sanders was hospitalized for a heart attack. An article by the New York Times discusses the implications of this event on the Democratic race. It states that Rachel Bly, the Democratic chairwoman in Poweshiek County, Iowa, said that Warren was "seen as more electable" as a result. One's performance in office seldom correlates to his or her physical capacity, so long as his or her physical abilities do not inhibit the ability to work normally. Hence, the question of physical age versus psychological age comes into play.
To counter the value that voters have been placing on Sanders's age, he has been taking measures to prove his resilience, adopting healthier eating habits and increasing his levels of physical activity. Sanders also spoke out about the factor of his age after his heart attack. He acknowledged that he is old, but also explained the benefits that come with his greater life experience.
The conclusion we can draw is the importance of keeping an open mind during the upcoming primaries. It can be unfair to use age as a factor of deterrence if the assumption is that being older equates to being out of touch with society or, to put it blatantly, too close to death. However, it may be fair to consider age if it affects a candidate's ability to maintain a permissible level of physical ability.
Still, life is unpredictable, and Sanders is only eight years older than Warren, five older than Trump, and two older than Biden. Is the difference so great that it is justifiable to criticize Sanders and not the rest?