Likelihood Of Oldest Presidential Candidate Race Ever In American History!

As the 2016 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks more and more likely that the two major party nominees will be among the oldest ever nominated or elected.

The Democrats have the following candidates who will be 64 or even beyond 70 as possible nominees:

Hillary Clinton 69
Joe Biden 74
Bernie Sanders 75
Jim Webb 70 (but nearly 71)
Lincoln Chafee 63 (but nearly 64)

The Republicans have the following candidates who will be 64 or beyond as possible nominees:

Jeb Bush 63 (but nearly 64)
Donald Trump 70
John Kasich 64
Rick Perry 66 (but nearly 67)
Jim Gilmore 67
George Pataki 71
Dr Benjamin Carson 65

Between the likely Democratic nominee and the likely Republican nominee, we can expect the oldest combination of Presidential candidates if one for each group above are the chosen nominees.

Right now, the Democratic nominee seems likely to be one of the top three on the list–Clinton, Biden or Sanders; and the Republican nominee likely to be one of the top three on that list—Bush, Trump, Kasich.

However, IF the Republican nominee turns out to be the younger candidates, such as Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, or Marco Rubio, we could have a bigger difference in age than we have rarely had, with only vast differences in age of William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan in 1896 and 1900; Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas E. Dewey in 1944; Harry Truman and Dewey in 1948; Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale in 1984; Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush in 1992; Clinton and Bob Dole in 1996; Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008; and Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012.

Note that in the cases of a much older and much younger opponents, the older candidate won with McKinley, FDR, Truman, and Reagan, but the younger candidate won with Clinton twice and Obama twice.

If Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee or Lindsey Graham were the GOP nominee, the average age of the two opponents would still be close to the highest in history, with their average age in the low 60s at inauguration.

Remember that the only Presidents to be 64 or older at inauguration were Ronald Reagan, William Henry Harrison, James Buchanan, George H. W. Bush, and Zachary Taylor.

The only other Presidents over the age of 60 at inauguration were:

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Andrew Jackson
John Adams
Gerald Ford
Harry Truman

So only 10 Presidents out of 43 were 60 or older when taking the oath, while now we are very likely to have both candidates over the age of 60, with 11 out of 17 Republican candidates being over 60, and 5 out of 6 (Martin O’Malley the exception) of the Democratic candidates over the age of 60.

So while we had a “new generation of leadership” three times in the past half century with John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, now we are almost certain to have an “old generation” of leadership coming to power on January 20, 2017.

6 comments on “Likelihood Of Oldest Presidential Candidate Race Ever In American History!

  1. Southern Liberal August 6, 2015 7:53 am

    I heard last night that Bernie is going to be speaking at Liberty University.

  2. Princess Leia August 6, 2015 7:54 am

    Lawrence O’Donnell had on his show last night that Trump may be a plant for the Democrats.

  3. D August 6, 2015 7:59 am

    I’ve been thinking about this topic lately. The concern about electing a president over the age of 60. Why is we never seem to have the same concerns in states with electing representatives to the United States House and Senate? I don’t know what the answer is; but, I think there is no unimportant role an elected politician has in Washington, D.C. So, it is a valid issue: that if we’re to worry ourselves over whether a presidential candidate is too old, then we should also apply this to incumbents and candidates in Congress.

  4. Ronald August 6, 2015 8:23 am

    Southern Liberal, that speech at Liberty University, and the reaction of the students and faculty, will be fascinating.

  5. Ronald August 6, 2015 8:25 am

    Princess Leia, the idea that Trump is a plant for the Democrats seems ridiculous on its face, but the news that Trump called Bill Clinton in May, before announcing his candidacy, is certainly something curious.

  6. Ronald August 6, 2015 8:29 am

    D, you make a good point.

    But I think the fact that the Presidency has the ultimate power over military and foreign policy, and the concern about health, both physical and mental, makes this issue of age a problem.

    Yes, people live longer, but the burdens of the Presidency should probably be put in the hands of younger people.

    Without that reality, the Vice Presidency becomes more important, and the need for a younger VP is essential, with an older President in his or her high 60s or 70s.

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