Americas

Why Do So Many Elderly Run America?

According to my research, in 24 out of the previous 32 years, America was led by people born in or before 1946.

Politicians in other countries aren't old like ours—our two-party system is steadfastly controlled by the elderly, which is why I have long advocated for a third party.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average age of the 117th Congress' 535 members is 59 years old, and the median is 60 years old.

Overall, the average age for Democrats in Congress is 60, and 58 for Republicans. 

That's old.

The current U.S. Senate (100 members) is the oldest in history, with an average age of 63 years.

The average age of the House of Representatives (435 members) is 58 years.

The age groups with the most significant gains in the 117th Congress compared to the 116th were born in the 1930s and 1960s.

Members in the 80+ and 50-59 both saw gains. Members in the 30-39 age group saw the most significant losses.

Why is Congress so old, and isn't it far past the time to pass the government leadership baton?

The natural passing of the torch "to a new generation of American leadership," as John F. Kennedy spoke about, hasn't even come close to happening.

Maybe the Constitution should be amended to include maximum ages in addition to minimums. 

The Constitution requires that a U.S. President be at least 35 years old, been a U.S. resident for at least 14 years, have been born in the U.S., or have at least one U.S. citizen parent. 

The youngest elected president was John F. Kennedy, at age 43, in 1963. Bill Clinton was 46, Barack Obama was 47.

Joe Biden, inaugurated in 2021, is the oldest elected president in U.S. history at age 78. Donald Trump was 70, Ronald Reagan was 69, George H.W. Bush was 64.

The Constitution requires that Senators be at least 30 years old, have been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years, and reside in the state they want to represent at the time of election. 

The youngest senator is Jon Ossoff (D-GA), age 35, and the youngest person elected to the U.S. Senate since 1980. The next youngest is Josh Hawley (R-MO), age 41.

Ossoff is also the youngest Democrat elected since 1973, when Joe Biden became Delaware's Senator at age 30.

The two oldest U.S. Senators are both 87 years old. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has held her California seat for 30 years since 1992, and Chuck Grassley (D-IA) has held his seat for 41 years since 1981.

Six senators are at least 80, and 23 are in their 70s.

The Constitution requires that Members of the House be at least 25 years old, have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and live in the state they represent (though not necessarily the same district).

Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is the youngest of the 117th Congress at 26 and the youngest person elected to the U.S. House of Representatives since 1964—a whopping 58 years ago. The second youngest is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), at 32.

The oldest member of the House of Representatives is Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) at 85, followed by Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ); all 84 years of age. 

Now let's look at the U.S. Population.

According to Pew, people over 50 make up 34 percent of the U.S. population but 52 percent of the electorate, which means, in simple terms, that our electorate college system does not come close to representing the U.S. populace.

Also, according to Pew, in 2018, the most common age for all Americans was 27, while the most common age for white Americans was 58.

Too many older people, both in Congress and the voter registries, point to just how overrepresented white interests are in the U.S.

And Americans over 55 own two-thirds of the wealth in this country.

According to the 2010 census, the number of Americans over 45 increased by almost 25 million versus 2000.

If in 2018, the most common age for all Americans was 27, why are our government officials so old?

I think it's a two-part answer.

For those that run: Running for Congress takes money, political skills, and a significant network, and the older people have all three. 

For those that vote: According to Wikipedia, voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election was highest among those ages 65 to 74 at 76.0%, while the percentage was lowest among those ages 18 to 24 at 51.4%.

Older people have the money, the political skills, and the network to run, and older people (who are voting for older people) are voting in higher numbers, making the oldest people the holders of the most power.

The highest number of people to turn 65 in U.S. history will be in 2023, so old people aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2040, the population of American adults aged 65 and older will nearly double.

The bottom line is that if young people don't start voting, a younger generation won't take control of America's leadership until the baby boomers are all dead. 

By 2055, it's estimated that there will still be 30 million people in the United States born before 1965 — most of whom will be boomers.  

The younger generation needs to step up their democratic participation and run for office, or at the very least, vote. The future of the United States is in their hands.