Should there be an age limit for politicians?

Sep 6, 2023, 8:30 PM

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, is helped by, from left, Sen. John Barr...

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, is helped by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, after the 81-year-old GOP leader froze at the microphones as he arrived for a news conference, Wednesday, July 26, 2023, at the Capitol in Washington. Questions are being asked if there should be an age-limit for politicians. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

SALT LAKE CITY — Should there be an age limit for politicians?

That question has come to light after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, froze while speaking to reporters on two different recent occasions.

Jay Evensen, opinion editor for the Deseret News, wrote a column on the topic, and told KSL NewsRadio that there are a lot of age limits in the United States.


“This is a big conversation going on right now in the United States,” he said. “Should we have age limit for service? We have a lot of age limits in our country. You have to be 16 to drive, 21 to consume alcohol, 18 to vote.”

He says those ages are arbitrary and don’t necessarily translate to an individual’s ability to do those things.

“And so, when you’re talking about an age, an upper age limit for serving,” Evensen said. “Should it really be an arbitrary age, or should it be a person’s ability to serve and be able to prove that they’re incompetent?”

Evensen says incidents such as the ones where Minority Leader McConnell zones out for 20 seconds are issues that we have to consider. However, there’s not an easy solution.

“But you really can’t come up with an adequate competency test in a political realm,” he said. “Because it will be used by political enemies to try and prove that your incompetence should be removed from office.”

Evensen says there are 15 members of the House of Representatives and four members of the Senate who are 80 years of age or older.

“And so, there’s a real reluctance to use the age card against anybody,” he said. “Because they’re all in it.”

Leaving it up to the voters

Evensen was asked if this is something that needs to be regulated or left up to the voters?

“I don’t know how you regulate it,” he said. “So by default, it’s up to the voters. But then it gets into the political realm and you say, ‘well, maybe he’s incompetent, but do we want to turn the seat over to a member of the other party, which we despise.'”

Evensen was also asked how does society handle this humanely? 

“I don’t know the solution,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

Which leads us back to the question of should there be an age-limit for politicians?

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Should there be an age limit for politicians?