Showing posts with label Megan McArdle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Megan McArdle. Show all posts

May 30, 2023

Biden and Trump's candidacy and ageism

  


You can listen to "Let It Be" be clicking either images above.

Here's an article from Raw Story about Rockstar, Dolly Parton's new album which include numbers not only with Sir Paul, Ringo, Peter Frampton, and Mick Fleetwood on Let It Be, but also Elton John, Sting, Lizzo, Pink, Debbie Harry, Steve Perry, Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, John Fogerty, Miley Cyrus and Ann and Nancy Wilson on other songs.

Aside from what promises to be an instant classic album this Dolly Parton collaboration is a celebration of geriatic musicians. All except Miley Cyrus (30) and Lizzo (35) are 70 (Pat Benatar) or older.

geriatric music icon who is missing is Mick Jagger who is still rocking and on tour at the age of 80, but then again you can't have everything.

Reading about this led me to take the lazy route to writing a blog for today and republishing with a few revisions my May 30 piece about ageism and how it relates to politics.

 Biden and Trump's candidacy and ageism

WaPo column "3 reasons we’re stuck with Trump and Biden" led me to write about ageism in America and say humbly that at almost 80 if it was between me and Trump I'm more cognitively capable of being president.

This is the opinion column that jumped out at me when I looked at The Washington Post online on May 30, 2023:
























The question I pose is whether this column by McArdle and the polls she cites reflect ageism. I will turn 80 in January. I live in a senior community where while I know many residents who succumb to dementia or demonstrate cognitive decline in their early seventies, I also know many who are cognitively sharp well into their nineties. 

Ageism, which is defined as prejudice or discrimination towards elders, is prevalent in America. This is in contrast to Asian countries, some African countries, Native American culture, and other societies, where elders are revered for their wisdom. (See "The Wisdom of Elders" in Psychology Today and "7 Cultures That Celebrate Aging and Respect Their Elders" in HUFFPOST. )

McArdle begins her May 30 column, which if you subscribe to The Washington Post you can read here, as follows:

In an April NBC poll, nearly two-thirds of voters said they did not think Trump should run for president again — and more than two-thirds said the same thing about Biden, in large part because they think he’s too old. How did a once-great nation end up facing an election between two very old, very unpopular White dudes?


I can sketch out the proximate causes. On the Republican side, just as in 2016, a massive primary field is splitting the votes of the moderates, giving Trump plenty of room to consolidate his ultra-MAGA minority. Democrats, meanwhile, have no good options as long as the vice presidency is occupied by the hapless Kamala D. Harris, whose impolitic blurtingsinability to hold staff and tendency to choke under pressure make her an even less appealing candidate than her boss. Every Democratic operative I’ve asked blanched at the thought of running her — and also agreed that for reasons of coalition management, she cannot be pushed aside.


Aside from using the word "stuck" which in context is a pejorative, I found this paragraph problematic:

Yet that only describes the problem; it does not explain why we seem stuck with two broadly disliked candidates, one already in his 80s and the other turning 78 before Election Day 2024. Nor does it explain America’s broader problem of political gerontocracy, as embodied by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who seems too cognitively impaired to fully carry out her duties or to realize she ought to retire.
Biden is only disliked by the GOP. He may be disliked as a candidate by Democrats because of his age but he is not personally disliked the way Trump is.  To include both Trump and Biden with Feinstein as emblematic of what is wrong with having seniors in political power, which McArdle calls a political gerontocracy, is patently unfair. Feinstein is an outlier because she has a serious cognitive impairment. With the average ages of 117th Congress at 58.4 years for Representatives and 64.3 years for Senators we are stretching it to call this a political gerontocracy. Being 58 or 64 is not being old. Sure it is reasonable to say Trump and Biden are old, but of those two only one has his reality testing impaired which is a sign of cognitive impairment.

Both Trump and Biden statistically have a higher chance of dying than if they were, say, in their fifties or sixties, but because as far as we know neither has a life threatening medical condition both could live into their nineties and, while risk of dementia increases as one ages, many elders never develop the disease. 

A poll of Democrats should include a question asking whether assuming Biden will live with no impairments until he is in his nineties would you favor him as a candidate.

Calling Trump and Biden "relics of an era when America was more stratified by race and gender but less polarized by income, education, ideology or party" McArdle's concluding paragraphs shift focus from a critique of Trump and Biden's age to the way they speak:

Perhaps more importantly, they also talk like it. For both the Wharton transfer student and the guy who graduated near the bottom of his law school class, lower-middlebrow is their native language. In the mouths of the younger products of the high-intensity meritocratic rat race, this register of the American dialect sounds foreign — and given that only about one-third of U.S. adults have a college diploma, this matters a lot. In fact, it is in many ways the most compelling of the three explanations. It is also the most depressing, not so much for what it says about Biden and Trump, but for what it says about younger politicians: They don’t think like non-college voters — and therefore can’t communicate so well with them.


It’s very risky to be so dependent on people who are well into their golden years, who will not be with us forever. And what will American politics look like when the front-row kids who can’t speak lower-middlebrow are the only ones left in the room?

My impression is that when the 50 year old McArdle writes "golden years" she isn't really being complementary. Perhaps I react this way because I will be 80 in January and although to function well I generally need a 45 minute mid-afternoon nap I am both cognitively and physically unimpaired and if the choice was between myself and Donald Trump in all humility can say that political positions aside I would be more capable of carrying out the responsibilities of being president.



Biden and Trump's candidacy and ageism

By Hal Brown

WaPo column "3 reasons we’re stuck with Trump and Biden" led me to write about ageism in America and say humbly that at almost 80 if it was between me and Trump I could be president.

There's a Harry Trump campaign button that I could use with a few changes. Click image to enlarge.

This is the opinion column that jumped out at me when I looked at The Washington Post online this morning:



The question I pose is whether this column by McArdle and the polls she cites reflect ageism. I will turn 80 in January. I live in a senior community where while I know many residents who succumb to dementia or demonstrate cognitive decline in their early seventies, I also know many who are cognitively sharp well into their nineties. 

Ageism, which is defined as prejudice or discrimination towards elders, is prevalent in America. This is in contrast to Asian countries, some African countries, Native American culture, and other societies, where elders are revered for their wisdom. (See "The Wisdom of Elders" in Psychology Today and "7 Cultures That Celebrate Aging and Respect Their Elders" in HUFFPOST. )

McArdle begins her May 30 column, which if you subscribe to The Washington Post you can read here, as follows:

In an April NBC poll, nearly two-thirds of voters said they did not think Trump should run for president again — and more than two-thirds said the same thing about Biden, in large part because they think he’s too old. How did a once-great nation end up facing an election between two very old, very unpopular White dudes?


I can sketch out the proximate causes. On the Republican side, just as in 2016, a massive primary field is splitting the votes of the moderates, giving Trump plenty of room to consolidate his ultra-MAGA minority. Democrats, meanwhile, have no good options as long as the vice presidency is occupied by the hapless Kamala D. Harris, whose impolitic blurtingsinability to hold staff and tendency to choke under pressure make her an even less appealing candidate than her boss. Every Democratic operative I’ve asked blanched at the thought of running her — and also agreed that for reasons of coalition management, she cannot be pushed aside.


Aside from using the word "stuck" which in context is a pejorative I found this paragraph problematic:

Yet that only describes the problem; it does not explain why we seem stuck with two broadly disliked candidates, one already in his 80s and the other turning 78 before Election Day 2024. Nor does it explain America’s broader problem of political gerontocracy, as embodied by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who seems too cognitively impaired to fully carry out her duties or to realize she ought to retire.
Biden is only disliked by the GOP. He may be disliked as a candidate by Democrats because of his age but he is not personally disliked the way Trump is.  To include both Trump and Biden with Feinstein as emblematic of what is wrong with having seniors in political power, which McArdle calls a political gerontocracy, is patently unfair. Feinstein is an outlier because she has a serious cognitive impairment. With the average ages of 117th Congress at 58.4 years for Representatives and 64.3 years for Senators we are stretching it to call this a political gerontocracy. Being 58 or 64 is not being old. Sure it is reasonable to say Trump and Biden are old, but of those two only one has his reality testing impaired which is a sign of cognitive impairment.

Both Trump and Biden statistically have a higher chance of dying than if they were, say, in their fifties or sixties, but because as far as we know neither has a life threatening medical condition both could live into their nineties and, while risk of dementia increases as one ages, many elders never develop the disease. 

A poll of Democrats should include a question asking whether assuming Biden will live with no impairments until he is in his nineties would you favor him as a candidate.

Calling Trump and Biden "relics of an era when America was more stratified by race and gender but less polarized by income, education, ideology or party" McArdle's concluding paragraphs shift focus from a critique of Trump and Biden's age to the way they speak:

Perhaps more importantly, they also talk like it. For both the Wharton transfer student and the guy who graduated near the bottom of his law school class, lower-middlebrow is their native language. In the mouths of the younger products of the high-intensity meritocratic rat race, this register of the American dialect sounds foreign — and given that only about one-third of U.S. adults have a college diploma, this matters a lot. In fact, it is in many ways the most compelling of the three explanations. It is also the most depressing, not so much for what it says about Biden and Trump, but for what it says about younger politicians: They don’t think like non-college voters — and therefore can’t communicate so well with them.


It’s very risky to be so dependent on people who are well into their golden years, who will not be with us forever. And what will American politics look like when the front-row kids who can’t speak lower-middlebrow are the only ones left in the room?

My impression is that when the 50 year old McArdle writes "golden years" she isn't really being complementary. Perhaps I react this way because I will be 80 in January and although to function well I generally need a 45 minute mid-afternoon nap I am both cognitively and physically unimpaired and if the choice was between myself and Donald Trump in all humility I can say can say that political positions aside I would be more capable of carrying out the responsibilities of being president.





If you don't see the Disquis comment section below click here.



Compassion doesn't count ballots: Biden does the moral thing on immigration and it will hurt him with many voters. All Trump needs now is his own Willie Horton. by Hal Brown, MSW

In the news today a top story  (read article)  is that President Biden has once again demonstrated that he has a heart and good sense when i...