We've all heard of "Dog Years," which are 7 human years for every dog year. So if your dog is nine years old, he qualifies for senior discounts at movie theatres and restaurants.
The presidency has taken a tremendous toll on every man who has held the office in the last century. In the early days of our nation, the president could take a walk and chat with the people on the street. Folks could knock on the door of the White House, and if the president wasn't busy he might invite them to come and "set a spell." These presidents didn't live with the constant specter of nuclear annihilation, chemical or biological attacks that could kill millions, or insane Islamist crashing planes into buildings in New York and Washington, DC.
Not that they didn't have problems. Lincoln had the Civil War; Woodrow Wilson had WWI; and Franklin Roosevelt led through WWII. But much has changed since 1918. The responsibility of the presidency can literally crush the spirit and body of any but the strongest. The job is literally impossible for any person to perform - yet somehow the do.
But the job takes its toll. Despite having the best health care possible both while in office and afterwards, I am convinced that most presidents' lives are shortened by the experience. In a way, Jimmy Carter and the first George Bush were fortunate not to have been re-elected. Bush lived to be 94, and Carter is still going strong at 95.
In an unscientific survey of one person (me), based on what I have observed, I have determined that "President Years" are about two to one. If you think back (or look at old videos or photos) you will see why I have come to this conclusion.
Bill Clinton was 55 when he took office. He had enough energy to handle the grueling duties of his office and keep several women happy on the side. When he left office eight years later, he looked like a very old man - far older than his years. George W. Bush was the same age as Clinton when he took office. He was fairly youthful-looking and vigorous then. But by the end of his 8 years, he looked like he was 75 - even though he was 63. Obama was only 48 when he was inaugurated. While he was president his hair turned prematurely gray, and at age 56 he walked and moved like a man in his mid-60's.
Clinton jogged every day. Although it was usually to McDonald's to get junk food, he still got daily exercise. Bush ran the Houston Marathon (26 miles!) in less than four hours as a young man, and in his later years, he was an avid mountain biker. Obama did cardio and weight training daily and often played basketball. All that exercise certainly helped, but it didn't keep them from succumbing to the curse of "President Years."
All of which brings us to the question: Does age matter in presidential elections? It has in the past. When Ronald Reagan ran against Walter Mondale in 1984, Mondale's campaign had been pushing not-so-subtle claims that Reagan was too old to run, and perhaps didn't have the mental capacity to be president. The Gipper crushed Mondale in an October 21 debate. "I want you to know that I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." He became the oldest president to hold that office, celebrating his 70th birthday shortly after his inauguration.
Despite the Democrat Party's claim to being the party of inclusiveness, and its stated desire to bring young blood into the White House, in primary after primary they shoved out everyone who was young, black, Hispanic, or female. They even kicked the homosexual to the curb. Now they are running two angry old white guys. Go figure.
Including the president (unless the DNC puts out a hit on Crazy Bernie first) we will have three candidates in their 70's until the Democrat convention. Let's look at them.
President Trump is 74. He will be 78 at the end of his second term. Biden is 77. If he were to be elected, he would be 85 at the end of his second term - if he lived that long. Sanders is 78. If the Democrats were crazy enough to nominate him, and the nation experienced mass insanity and elected him, he would be 86 at the end of his second term. Of course, he would never make it that far. He recently had a heart attack. And every time he goes off into one of his wild-eyed crazy rants, you can literally watch his blood pressure go up by 20 to 30 points.
When a party nominates a president, the most important issue is electability. A close second is whether he or she has a possibility of being re-elected. It takes a tremendous amount of money and work to elect a president. An incumbent president has a tremendous advantage over any challenger from his own party and his opponent from the opposite party. It is political suicide to nominate a candidate who has no chance of re-election to a second term.
I seriously doubt that either Biden or Sanders would make it through one term. There is no chance whatsoever that they would make it through a second - because of "President Years."
At the end of their second terms, in "President Years," the three candidates would be:
Trump - 86
Biden - 93
As I finish this I ask myself why I wrote on this subject. In my humble opinion there is not a chance that President Trump will not be President Trump next year. I think the reason I felt impressed to write this is that every year it becomes harder to withstand the pressures of the presidency. Trump seems to take it all in stride. He seems strong and healthy, and he certainly has the right mental attitude. He is not burdened by being politically correct. And he knows who he is, so his enemies can't shake him, no matter how vicious their attacks.
But he cannot help being affected by "President Years," unless we pray for him. Whether you like him or not, whether you think he tweets too much, or whether you disagree with his policies, pray for him. No one, not even the craziest liberal, wants to see the nation suffer through another death of a president. And whether you voted for him or not, the Bible commands you to pray for him, and for our nation.