In the months before the 2008 election, John McCain was 72 years old. Democrats, the media, and even the Obama campaign made McCain’s age an issue. Today, Joe Biden is 76 years old, Bernie Sanders is 77 years old, and the defense of their old age has already begun.

Zaid Jilani writes at CNN:

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are not too old to be president

Vice President Joe Biden is now officially running for president in the Democratic primary. For many voters, his candidacy raises a question: Should we choose someone who could potentially be the oldest president the United States has ever elected?

Biden is 76 years old, just a year shy of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, another contender. Upon inauguration, both Biden and Sanders would be older than President Donald Trump, who was 70 when he took office in January of 2017.

At first glance, voters don’t seem to mind. Biden and Sanders are the top contenders in national polls, and both are widely considered front-runners for the Democratic nomination…

For many voters, no doubt, age discrimination seems rational; they’d likely point to higher mortality rates among the elderly and concerns over mental competence.

But one of the building blocks of discriminatory thinking is taking mental stereotypes about a group and applying them to individuals. Sanders and Biden, like most top-tier presidential candidates, will likely do medical tests and release the results to the public. If voters base concerns on these individual results, they’ll have avoided bias. But that’s not the case if they’re falling back on stereotypes about the elderly in general.

Judging older people based on crude group stereotypes has real-world consequences.

Voters have every right to be concerned about the ages of Biden and Sanders. During his recent campaign stops, Joe Biden has come off as downright elderly. Bernie Sanders is a walking, talking personification of the “old man yells at cloud” meme.

John McCain was younger than both of these men in 2008, yet his age was constantly discussed.

Even at CNN:

Analysis: Age an issue in the 2008 campaign?

Is Sen. John McCain too old to be president?

Listen to some Democrats, and you’ll think the 71-year-old Arizona senator is a man lost in a perpetual fog. He is “confused” and has “lost his bearings” or is “out of touch.”

Listen to the McCain campaign, and you’ll be convinced that Democrats are using those terms to exploit concerns that the presumptive Republican nominee is too old to effectively serve as president.

Here’s what we were told by Bud Jackson of Politico in 2008:

McCain’s age is a legitimate issue

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s seizures this past weekend, which left him hospitalized in Massachusetts and diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, may also have sparked renewed attention to Sen. John McCain’s age as an issue in this year’s presidential election.

Kennedy (D-Mass.) and McCain (R-Ariz.), both over the age of 70, are not spring chickens. So when Kennedy experienced stroke-like symptoms that turned out to be seizures, my thoughts turned to his peer McCain and the increased health risks someone his age should expect. I believe his advanced age is a legitimate issue and deserves more scrutiny.

Here’s an Associated Press report from 2008 titled, “Is John McCain Too Old to Be President?”

This 2008 ad attacking McCain’s age was made by the Obama campaign:

Do not allow Democrats or the media to forget any of this. If McCain’s age was a legitimate issue, then so it shall be for Biden and Bernie.

Trump may be 72 years old now, but his life of clean living has served him well. He seems youthful in comparison to the two Democratic front runners.


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