OPINION: Maximum age limit for presidential candidates should be implemented

There should be an age limit for presidential candidates to reduce the chance of them suffering from mental deterioration while in office. ORACLE PHOTO / JUSTIN SEECHARAN

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his presidential run on May 23. At the age of 44, if he were to win, he would be one of the youngest presidents elected.

This would be a welcome change from the past two presidents, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, who were 70 and 78 respectively when they were elected. This makes them the two oldest presidents elected, according to the Presidents of the United States website

A younger president would be beneficial to the country. One way to accomplish that is to set a maximum age limit for all presidential candidates. No one over the age of 70 should be able to be elected into office. 

DeSantis’ recent announcement has gained a lot of attention across the USF campus, both positive and negative. Sophomore political science major Juan Echeverry is relieved at the possibility of someone under the age of 75 running the country. 

“I’m not gonna say I agree 100% with the stuff that he’s done, but I think overwhelmingly, he has shown to be competent,” he said. “We need young leadership, moral leadership.”

Cognitive function declines with age. As a person ages, they are often slower to recall words and names, have issues with multitasking and their ability to pay attention may decline, according to the National Institute on Aging. These changes occur in almost every healthy adult, but more serious cognitive issues like dementia are also not uncommon. 

While these are a perfectly normal part of aging, they can seriously interfere with the ability to run a country. 

Presidents who are 70 and above are also much less likely to live to face the consequences of their decisions while in office. Life expectancy in the U.S. is 76 years old, according to the Center for Disease Control

Many jobs already have a mandatory retirement age. For instance, Florida judges have to retire at 75, according to Ballotpedia. Pilots in the U.S. have to retire at the age of 65, according to the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act

In 2022, 58% of Americans were in support of implementing a maximum age to serve as an elected official, according to a poll by YouGov. About a quarter of the voters wanted the age to be 60 while 39% wanted it to be 70. 

Former president Jimmy Carter is also in support of an upper age limit. 

“I hope there’s an age limit. If I were just 80 years old, if I was 15 years younger, I don’t believe I could undertake the duties I experienced when I was president,” he said during a 2019 address at the Carter Center. 

The duties of a president are extensive and exhausting. It is a very difficult job that should not be left to someone above the age of 70. 

There is already a minimum age to run for president is 35 years old, so there needs to be a maximum as well.