A Call for Aging Politicians to Stop Trying to “Bend Their Own Mortality” for Personal Gain

After the death of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, American voters have been forced to confront the stark reality that their elected leaders, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, could face health challenges while in office if either wins the 2024 election.

The Growing Questions About Biden’s Health

President Biden, at 80 years old, faces mounting questions about his health. Recent incidents, such as his wanderings during a Vietnam veteran’s medal presentation, have fueled speculation.

On the other hand, Trump, at 77, appears physically healthier, but his claims that Biden might lead the world into World War II have stirred concerns.

The recent death of California Senator Dianne Feinstein while still in office at age 90, following health issues like shingles, memory loss, and falls, serves as a sobering reminder. 

The Head of Politco 

This concern has been highlighted by Politico‘s head of news, Alexander Burns, in his recent article titled Feinstein’s Demise is a Warning for Biden and Trump. In the article, Burns emphasizes that Feinstein’s passing should be a warning to those who believe they can defy their own mortality for political gain.

Burns writes, “It should be a warning to the people in both parties who believe they can bend their own mortality to an electoral calendar or a personal timeline for legacy-building.”

Burns also argues that the trend of politicians remaining in office despite declining health needs to change. He notes, “There is a phenomenon in politics whereby if someone is old and infirm but remains alive for a while in a diminished state, they can almost persuade people that they are immune to death.” 

McCain and Ginsburg

This phenomenon is exemplified by politicians like John McCain and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. John McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, passed away in 2018 at age 81 after battling brain cancer.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Supreme Court Justice known for her liberal dissent, succumbed to cancer at 87 in 2020. Both cases underscore the inevitability of aging and health issues.

Burns asserts that it is not surprising when elderly politicians like Feinstein face health challenges or pass away. He emphasizes that “death keeps its own calendar.” This reality applies to politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Trump and Biden.

Senator Mitch McConnell’s Health Concerns

Senator Mitch McConnell, aged 81, has faced questions about his health. He has famously had public instances of freezing up on camera after a fall earlier in the year.

Like Biden and Trump, McConnell has refrained from addressing questions about his physical and mental state but has given a questionable doctor’s note clearing him of any health issues. 

The Need for Honest Acknowledgment

Burns criticizes the White House for responding to inquiries about the president’s age with “snark and brittleness.”

Burn writes, “If anyone in American politics knows that death keeps its own calendar, it is him (Biden). The president cannot be oblivious to the actuarial risks involved in seeking a second term — risks to himself, his party, and the country.”

The Heightened Discussion of Fitness for Office

The fitness of elderly politicians for office has become a prominent topic of discussion in recent years. Both Trump and Biden have faced concerns about their cognitive abilities, with incidents like Trump’s gaffe-laden speech and Biden’s mic being cut off during a press conference.

Burns concluded on this point by writing, “Electoral politics is a contingent business and mortality is the ultimate contingency.” He continues, “The only mystery is how few senior statesmen and stateswomen seem to grasp this.”

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