The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Opinion | Geriatric politicians are a problem

Lux Lin

Like many students, I turned 18 during my freshman year of college. Now that I am old enough to exercise my civic duty of voting, the 2024 presidential election has wormed its way into my thoughts.

Similar to many young voters, seeing the old faces of the presidential candidates across my television screen as they campaign has me pondering my course of action in casting my vote during the upcoming presidential election.

First-time voters made their voices heard during the infamous 2020 election between Trump and Biden. After all, it was the energized opposition from young voters that was critical to Trump’s defeat

Bottom line: The new generation of voters is powerful. Their vote was vital in the fate of the 2024 presidential election. 

The problem I find with the upcoming presidential election is not voting — it is who to vote for. Upon closer examination of the candidates, I am not fond of them or the age they will be when serving their term.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Older candidates’ outdated views appeal to their own age demographic instead of the projected 9 million Generation Z voters that will be voting for the first time in the 2024 election.

The age of politicians in office is an ongoing concern of voters. Our president is currently the oldest to hold office, being 78 years old when sworn in. One of the oldest politicians in the Senate is 90 years old. There are not many politicians around the age of younger voters; it is discouraging and garnering less faith in our legislative system.

Older politicians run our country and it’s painful to watch them clumsily stumble through press conferences and speeches — their age is showing, and it’s embarrassing. Older politicians claim to value the voices and issues concerning the next generation, but they actively work behind the scenes to suppress that change.

A significant part of Biden’s ethos when he was campaigning for the 2020 presidential election was a transfer from fossil fuels to renewable energy. While he is making progress on that goal, one cannot forget that later in his presidency, he approved the Willow Project, a harmful, massive oil drilling project in Alaska. 

In the wicked aftermath of several mass shootings, Biden promised during his campaign to get guns off the streets and prevent easy access of these “weapons of war” to civilians. Knowing gun violence is at the pulse of time for young voters, his promise garnered many who wanted better gun regulations on his side.

Considering that there are 68.6 million Gen Z-ers in the U.S., we need politicians and presidential candidates who will be a voice for the younger generation. Aloof politicians who behave in a condescending manner towards younger, diverse voices cannot continue to make important decisions that they will likely not experience the effects of. 

We are lucky enough to live in a country where power does not go unchecked. That being said, there are no checks and balances for the age of politicians, and no offices regulating the issue. Considering the White House has implemented the use of offices and councils to provide assistance, there’s no oversight on the politicians making these decisions. It’s disappointing and frustrating when voters feel like their elected officials aren’t competent enough or listening to their voices.

Since there are laws requiring a politician to be a certain age at the time of their candidacy, there should be an age maximum as well. Retiring at a certain age, perhaps 70 years old, should be a requirement considering these elected officials make decisions which concern millions of people’s lives.

I, like many other young voters, hate that I am faced with the choice of picking someone who I believe is too old to hold office or somebody younger and more competent with the potential to cause more harm. Upon closer examination of politicians currently holding office, it looks like many don’t want to hear or don’t care about younger voices.

However, as much as I don’t like current politicians, not voting at all has the potential to cause more harm than good. No matter how insignificant my vote may feel, it has the power to potentially tip a scale and bring forth positive change. 

Until there are laws about age maximums regarding politicians, I will begrudgingly go to the polls. 


Safia is a sophomore in LAS.

[email protected]

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lux Lin
Lux Lin, Design Editor
Hello, I’m Lux, and I’m a sophomore majoring in Graphic Design! I’ve been with The Daily Illini since my freshman year, and I love contributing to the graphics and helping out with page design. I hope to continue the creative and aesthetic vision the team has in mind, making sure that the end product is something that we are all excited about and proud to present to everyone. In my free time, I like to create characters and draft up story ideas rather than being an academic weapon… but my professors aren’t ready for that. Anyways, if you want to see more of my work, my Instagram is linked below!
ILLordle: Play now