Opinion | What We Actually Mean When We Talk About Biden’s Age

 Opinion | What We Actually Mean When We Talk About Biden’s Age

American politics has an age problem. At least, that’s what voters think. According to a new New York Times/Siena College poll, 33 percent of Democrats who want a different candidate for president in 2024 pointed to Joe Biden’s age as a motivating factor. But a nearly equal percentage say they aren’t keen to have Biden for a second term because of his job performance — or lack thereof. Could the answer to appease voters be that Democrats just need some young blood? Or is there a deeper rift between voters — especially young ones — and political leadership?

[You can listen to this episode of “The Argument” on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, or Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

Jane Coaston brings together Michelle Cottle, a Times editorial board member, and David Brooks, an Opinion columnist, to parse out what we are really talking about when we talk about age in politics. “What is age actually a proxy for?” Cottle asks. “Is it your concerns about fading ability, or is it concerns about a lack of fighting spirit?” But for Brooks, the question is centered more on stagnancy: “Why has the gerontocracy been able to stay in power? What is it about these people that they’ve been able to persevere and just stick around?”

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

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“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha. Edited by Alison Bruzek and Anabel Bacon. With original music by Isaac Jones and Pat McCusker. Mixing by Pat McCusker. Fact-checking by Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta with editorial support from Kristina Samulewski. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi.

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