Our View: Young candidates need the opportunity to shine

Will Groves, Opinion Editor

The world of politics is getting older and older. Over the past 10 years, a president who is almost two times the average age of a U.S. citizen has run the country.

   President Joe Biden, the oldest president in U.S. history, informally announced his plans to run for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination in an interview with NBC News, on Friday, April 14th. Biden already made history in 2020 as the oldest presidential candidate ever elected at age 78, beating the previous record of 70 set by former President Donald Trump. 

   The issue of Biden running in 2024 is a bipartisan issue. Republicans have questioned Biden’s mental capacity as a result of his age, and younger Democrats believe Biden does not represent current issues. According to a poll taken by Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), 3/4 of young people surveyed believe people in their generation would do a better job than those currently in office. They want to see a younger, more progressive candidate who cares about the concerns of future generations, like mental health and the climate crisis. 

   We at The News believe Biden should gracefully step away and let a more progressive candidate run against a potential Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Republican nominee.

   Biden has shown he does not care about the climate crisis. He approved the Willow Project, an Alaskan drilling project expected to release over 270 million metric tons of CO2 gas into the atmosphere. According to The Washington Post, in his first two years as president, Biden approved more drilling permits than Trump did in his first two years. The climate crisis is dangerous, and younger voters are understandably concerned about its impacts.

   Many of our legislators working right now will not be around to experience the extreme impacts of climate change. We will.

   Two Democratic candidates have announced their primary challenge to Biden. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, announced his run on April 5. He is an environmental law specialist but garnered criticism for his anti COVID-19 vaccine stance and spread of misinformation about the vaccine. However, it is unlikely he will win the bid as most of his family members plan to support Biden in the primary. 

   The more interesting of the two candidates is the author and activist Marianne Williamson. Williamson’s platforms include a $15 minimum wage, cutting carbon emissions and offering free tuition to community college, making her a particularly appealing candidate to younger voters. She is running a progressive campaign with a large base on TikTok and is polling well with the younger demographics. Echelon Insights ran a poll in which Williamson collected 10% of Democratic primary votes.

   The main issue these two candidates have in common is neither one is younger than 65. While Williamson may be the most progressive candidate out of the three, she still falls into the same age category as Biden and Trump. As progressive as these candidates may seem, this does not change the fact their age does not reflect that of the average U.S. citizen. 

   As Gen Z begins to fall within the age requirements to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, the number of younger representatives will hopefully increase. The 2022 midterm elections saw the first Gen Z member elected to the House: Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-FL. Maxwell is on the older cusp of Gen Z, but the 2024 House elections should see an increase in youthful, fresh faces grasping at the chance to make a difference for their state. 

   Young politicians have begun making an impact on local politics. Two of the legislators expelled from the Tennessee state House are under 30 and now have one of the biggest political platforms in the U.S.

   Plenty of younger candidates could challenge Biden in the 2024 primary. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, a favorite of many young progressives, will be turning 35 and eligible for the Democratic primary. 

   At the end of the day, we at The News acknowledge the significant strides Biden has made for LGBTQ+ rights and U.S. infrastructure, but it is time for him to give up the presidential reins before the 2024 presidential election. 

   Our government should look like and be in touch with the people they represent. Right now it only looks like they represent the baby boomers.

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