|The commonalities between Democratic and Republican politicians are few and far between these days. But there is one through line: Their old age is under scrutiny.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is said to have granted her daughter power of attorney over her legal affairs. The news comes a week after the 90-year-old senator appeared confused and attempted to deliver a speech in the middle of a Senate hearing vote.
Across the aisle, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made headlines last week after he abruptly stopped speaking in the middle of a press conference before being whisked away.
These recent incidents point to the ongoing debate around America’s gerontocracy, or the concept of old people governing a group significantly younger than them.
As of 2019, adults over 65 made up 16% of the US population — but by the time of the 2020 election, over half of senators were older than 65, as highlighted by Insider. And the 2020 presidential race was the first where both major-party candidates were septuagenarians.
A poll last year by Insider and Morning Consult found that most Americans wanted dramatic changes to address the nation’s gerontocracy. Congressional term limits and medical examinations for elected leaders were among the measures garnering overwhelming support with respondents.