Basic

Why are US leaders so old?

Posted by: The Conversation Global highlights

Date: Thursday, 09 November 2023

Plus: more complex novels about women, please ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

My former boss, President George H.W. Bush, chose not to challenge Bill Clinton again for the presidency of the United States in the 1996 election, having lost to him three years earlier. If he had run and won, he would have been 72 at the 1997 inauguration. Instead, he enjoyed a great second act filled with humanitarian causes, skydiving and grandchildren. Bush’s post-presidential life, and American ideals of retirement in general, raise the question of why Joe Biden (80) and Donald Trump (77) – who are more than a decade and a half beyond the average American retirement age – are stepping forward again for one of the hardest jobs in the world.

Biden and Trump aren’t the only aging leaders in the U.S. It’s a bipartisan trend. What’s going on? I offer my thoughts below.

Mary Kate Cary

Adjunct Professor of Politics and Director of Think Again, University of Virginia

Donald Trump, left, and Joe Biden, both photographed on Nov. 2, 2023, are two of the three oldest men ever to serve as president. Trump: Brandon Bell/Getty Images; Biden: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Why are US politicians so old? And why do they want to stay in office?

Mary Kate Cary, University of Virginia

Many years beyond the average American retirement age, politicians vie for power and influence. Their constituents tend to prefer they step back and pass the torch to younger people.

YanaBu, Shutterstock

Luminous ‘mother-of-pearl’ clouds explain why climate models miss so much Arctic and Antarctic warming

Katrin Meissner, UNSW Sydney; Deepashree Dutta, University of Cambridge; Martin Jucker, UNSW Sydney

Back when there were Arctic alligators and turtles, ‘polar stratospheric clouds’ kept their world warm. Research suggests these clouds contribute to the ‘missing warming’ in climate models.

Maria Orlova/Pexels

I’ve had enough of Sad Bad Girl novels and sensationalised trauma – but I’m hungry for complex stories about women

Liz Evans, University of Tasmania

Sad Bad Girl novels combine the haplessness of Bridget Jones with the despair of Sally Rooney. Liz Evans assesses a ‘buzzy’ debut within the genre and a #MeToo novel that refreshingly defies categories.

 
 
 
 

Dr. Fikrejesus Amahazion at the XXIX International Rosa Luxemburg Conference in Berlin on January

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