The BuzzWord On The Street

Senile and Sensibility: SAU Students Conflicted on Age Limits for Presidential Candidates

Above: President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Original images courtesy of the Library of Congress. Collage courtesy of Evie Breitbach.

It’s election season. Every day, students across campus wake up, make a cup of coffee, get breakfast at the Cosgrove Cafeteria, and turn on the news. As they watch the TV, grab the newspaper, or check social media, the same headlines appear: “President Biden has taken another tumble.” “The president stumbles over his speech once again.” “Is the president too old to be in office?”

With the upcoming election in November, St. Ambrose votes face a decision that will affect their lives in one way or another. 

Throughout Biden’s presidency, questions of his mental capacity have been asked, with several people commenting that he shouldn’t be running for office this year. President Joe Biden is currently 81-years old, with current leading Republican candidate former President Donald Trump only four years younger than him at 77-years old. The Buzz asked students if there should be an age limit for candidates running for president.

The reaction was mixed. “I’m not too sure,” said SAU freshman and marketing major Patrick Sullivan. “I do agree that there should be something done about it…but that should come with your personal opinions…if you are voting for these old people, some people think that opinion is wrong.”

“I wish there was an age limit, but I don’t see it happening,” stated SAU sophomore Peyton Willaert, a social work major. Peyton says part of the problem with candidates being too old for office has to do with the systems put in place. “It takes these people a long time to gain their power…dismantling that would take a while.”

Junior Aaron Smock, a graphic design major, says he felt conflicted on the topic at first, however in the end, he said there shouldn’t be an age limit. “As long as they’re not frail or anything…they should be fine.”

Other students such as freshman Corey McAleer, also a graphic design major, say there should be an age limit. “Absolutely… there should be an age limitation to make sure we don’t have a gerontocracy because that would be bad.” When asked if there should be a mental acuity test to determine a candidate’s eligibility he said, “I don’t think there should be any actual test… I think that the age cap should be at like retirement age. I think you can stay in office if you reach the age limit…but you cannot run for an office position when you’re at or above said age.”

Philosophy major and junior Calvin Horne agreed that there shouldn’t be a test. “At the end of the day, there is a certain amount of subjectivity when we talk about mental acuity…it’s a Band-Aid on a complicated problem.” However, unlike Corey, Calvin says he believes there shouldn’t be an age limit on candidates running for office.

Though many students say they are conflicted on whether there should be an age limit placed on candidates running for office, several do agree that a mental acuity test wouldn’t solve the problems with the current systems put in place. In November, voters will decide if the current candidate’s ages and mental capability are a factor in their choice.

Grant Ward is a staff writer for The Buzz.