‘A Lot Of Old Folks’: Former Democratic Senator Says Her Party Has An Age Problem
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) concedes defeat in her bid to keep her U.S. Senate seat during an election-night rally on November 6, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said her party is struggling with a number of aging lawmakers as voters get ready to head to the ballot box for the November midterms.

McCaskill shared the remarks during a panel discussion on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“But I will tell you I do think the Democratic Party is struggling with an issue that is real,” McCaskill said. “All of our leadership — and I say this as somebody who’s ancient — you know, a lot of old folks are running the Democratic Party now in every part of the Democratic Party,”

McCaskill also looked ahead at the 2024 election, noting the importance of involving more younger Americans in the party’s leadership.

“I think the Democratic Party will benefit from really doing some navel-gazing about how can we get more young people to the forefront because young people are going to be really important to us in 2024,” she noted.

McCaskill’s comments come after CBS News released a poll on Thursday that showed 73% of respondents support age limits for elected officials. A total of 18% agreed with an age limit of 80 years old, while 40% agreed with an age limit of 70.

President Joe Biden, currently 79, would be the oldest person re-elected if he wins another term in 2024. He has also faced growing concerns about his cognitive health since entering office.

Fifty-three GOP lawmakers joined in a letter in July led by former White House physician Ronny Jackson that demanded Biden take a cognitive exam and share the results with Americans.

“While you underwent your annual physical exam on November 19, 2021, you either did not face a cognitive test or those results were withheld from the public,” Jackson wrote. “White House Physician Kevin O’Connor, D.O., attested to you being ‘fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency’ in a very superficial, and purely physical manner; however, we are worried about your mental abilities.”

In the Senate, both parties face the concern of aging leaders. Seven senators are at least 80, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) the oldest at 89, followed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), both at 88 years old.

In the House, ten members of the 117th Congress were listed as 80 years old or older. Nine of the ten octogenarians were Democrats.

McCaskill also said that Biden was often looked down upon as vice president under former President Barack Obama.

“I remember distinctly being in the Cloak Room in the first two years of the Biden vice presidency, and how many of my colleagues were looking down their noses at Joe Biden. Mocking him,” McCaskill said. “‘It’s a hard, hard job – the vice presidency.”

The former senator then noted that Harris is also criticized in the same role.

“It’s even harder, I think, if you are a woman in that job, who is seen as an opponent by a lot of the insiders in Washington for the presidency,” she added.

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