Among all the apparent disparities separating Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – at the moment the most presumptive nominees for presidential candidacy – there is one emerging similarity: they will all have reached 70 years of age within less than a year of being sworn in.
That statistic may hold greater meaning to this publication – 70+ Life at the Top – than to the population at large, in that it aligns so closely with our editorial policy: to accentuate the possibilities and probabilities of those who have reached the upper stages of life. It assures, as well, that these pages will pay special attention to their candidacies through the remainder of Election 2016.
Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, is now 74 and will be 75 by election day. The former first lady and secretary of state – the youngest of this trio – will be 69 before the election and if successful would be 70 on her first birthday in office. Donald Trump has now reached his 70th birthday.
Consider this. According to Wikipedia, the average age of accession to that high office has been 54 years and 11 months, roughly 16 to 20 years younger than those this commentary now presumes to have the greatest momentum to achieve the Presidency. Historically, the youngest person to assume that office was Theodore Roosevelt, who at 42 became president following the assassination of William McKinley. The distinction of being the youngest president elected to office belongs to John F. Kennedy at 43, who was also the youngest to leave office when assassinated at 46, while the oldest president to assume office was Ronald Reagan, who was just shy of 70 (69 years and 349 days), and who was also the oldest to leave office at close to 78 (77 years and 349 days). The present incumbent, Barack Obama, took office at 47.
Consider this as well. George Washington served from age 57 to 65, as did Thomas Jefferson. Abraham Lincoln, also cut short in office, only from 52 to 56. Woodrow Wilson from 56 to 64. Franklyn Roosevelt from 51 to 63 (he was in an unprecedented fourth term when he died in 1945) and Dwight D. Eisenhower served from 62 to 70.
Whether age should be or will become an issue in the ongoing campaign we think not, it being our policy that – all else considered – age is increasingly transparent. But it could in time become a test of our editorial mission, which held in part to shine the light on “a new realization that our ability to participate in and contribute to the worlds of business and the arts and study and political involvement and you name what else don’t end when social security begins.” We said also that 70+ Life at the Top “would seek to harvest the wisdom and experience of those who have lived long enough to know better.” We have to admit that harvesting has not always been rewarded thus far in Election 2016.