08 March 2020 ~ 6 Comentarios

The election of the elderly

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Only Bernie Sanders (78) and Joe Biden (77) remain in the Democratic field. A radical and a centrist. One of them will face Donald Trump next November. They are two elders, but Trump, with almost 74 years, is also in the same group. It will be a battle between people who have one foot in the prostate, I mean, in the grave.

Perhaps this phenomenon is a consequence of the aging of the population, or perhaps because science has changed the notions of youth and old age and has pushed ahead a decade the age at which one is still able to govern. Ike Eisenhower was the oldest president elected in the United States until Ronald Reagan. He arrived at the White House at age 62. (George Washington, despite his solemn estrangement, was only 57 when he came to power.)

In these primaries, Cory Booker (50), Beto O’Rourke (47), Andrew Yang (45), Julian Castro (45), Pete Buttigieg (38) –just to mention those who were 50 or less– fell out of the competition. There were young blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, gays, heterosexuals, entrepreneurs, with military experience, very educated and less educated. There was something for everyone.

Why didn’t the voters take into account the age factor when casting their vote? Sanders even had a heart attack a few weeks ago. At that age, it can happen again. It is true that Eisenhower had a severe myocardial infarction in 1955, while playing golf, which did not prevent him from being reelected the following year and gloriously ending his eight years in office.

Sanders’ support base are the millennials. The millennials, roughly, are those born between 1981 and 1996. Why do young people, in every poll, say they would like to vote for a fresh face, but, when the time comes, they choose Sanders or Biden?

I heard the answer to this question in a podcast by journalist Ricardo Brown (Vision 2020) while interviewing Mike Hernández, a good political analyst at Telemundo: because they don’t tell the truth. There is nothing easier than misleading a pollster without even suffering the shame of lying. Furthermore, there is no real notion of the lie.

The interviewee would like a young man to emerge with the proposals and characteristics of Sanders, but the selection of candidates is about specific people who can succeed, and among them no one appears with the fire and determination of the Vermont senator, despite he is 78 years old.

That is why Biden has stood out in the last electoral battles. It was time to recompose the centrist and moderate option of the Democratic Party to avoid a collapse in front of Trump, something that the polls predicted if the candidate was Sanders.

The nation as a whole does not embrace the same old story of the richest 1% who seize wealth, as Sanders preaches, nor they want to abandon their health plans. Nor is there a clear consensus on who should pay the college bill: those who will benefit from the degrees or all the people? Is having many college graduates an investment in society that benefits us all or does it benefit basically the graduates?

Why did Joe Biden enjoyed a fantastic victory in South Carolina, and then in the Super Tuesday, when he won in 10 of the 14 states in which they competed for the Democratic nomination? It was not for devotion to the leader. Biden lacks charisma. It is because the Democratic Party today looks more like Biden than Sanders. It is the party of inclusion. That of immigrants, minorities, the one that emerged with F. D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman in the heat of World War II.

To which the “Trump element” is added. Many of those who voted for Biden were convinced that he can evict Trump from the White House in November. Is that true? I don’t know. It is not easy to defeat an incumbent ruler. Trump has many enemies, but also numerous fans.

It could happen, but it can also happen the same as in 2016–the Democrats win the popular vote and lose the one who decides the outcome, the electoral vote, by a handful of votes in certain key states. To prevent that from happening, perhaps Biden will have to include in his program some of Sanders’ proposals. Paris is well worth a mass.

6 Responses to “The election of the elderly”

  1. Víctor López 8 March 2020 at 6:17 pm Permalink

    Después de darle una atenta lectura, no me queda muy claro por qué es, según Carlos Alberto, que para esta ronda electoral compiten solo viejos. Personalmente creo que se debe a que los viejos de ahora somos muy corrongos, y al menos los hechos parecen darme la razón. En el diapasón de la vida y las ideas, por el que hemos transitado unos cuantos de los que aquí opinamos, tengo la certeza de que en esta etapa final en que las pasiones se han decantado, es cuando la percepción de la realidad y las cosas se vuelve más nítida. Para los sueños grandiosos, que en la mayoría de los casos llevan al caos y el desastre (Perón, Castro, Chávez…), valen los impetuosos, sean carismáticos jóvenes o en la mitad de la vida. Para ser consecuentes con el orden, el progreso y el respeto a las instituciones son más confiables los viejos (sin que tampoco sean estos garantía absoluta de nada).

    Para los nublados de los próximos meses, pocas predicciones pueden hacerse, ni siquiera vale afirmar que habrá elecciones en noviembre, porque el cisne negro que gira sobre nuestras cabezas podría postergarlas. Lo que sí podemos asegurar es que los cambios en la economía y en las condiciones de vida complotan para que las gentes crean cada vez más en las promesas mesiánicas de cualquier charlatán. Creencias que al final terminan siendo una estafa como ese mito de la cubanía, de que sin condenar a los Castro no se puede ganar la presidencia de los Estados Unidos, presunción que sin que dejara de ser cierta, es también folklórica y divertida, porque nos lleva indefectiblemente a la conclusión de que a los cándidos exiliados los han estafado más de una docena de veces.

    Francamente creo que no hay candidatos jóvenes porque no apareció ningún showman que supiera hacer caras tiernas a lo Bill Clinton, o poses de astro deportivo como Obama. En lo que sí estamos todos empeñados, es en una carrera contra reloj para definir antes de que la crisis económica y de salud decida por nosotros. Qué extraña es a veces toda esta “dialéctica” que se antoja solo por casualidad.

    (o tal vez no tan casual) Cordialmente.

    • Víctor López 8 March 2020 at 6:30 pm Permalink

      Se ha perdido una parte del texto en esta versión en inglés. En la columna anterior está completo. Me disculpo.

  2. manuel 8 March 2020 at 6:19 pm Permalink

    “El fluido estilo de gobierno femenino, quizas haya surgido
    como una forma de sobrevivir y prosperar en circunstancias
    dificiles, pero ha resultado muy seductor para quienes lo han ejercido.
    Con un gobernante fluido, la obediencia resulta bastante facil a los subditos, ya que se sienten menos presionados, objeto de menor coercion, menos obligados a seguir la ideologia del gobernante. Tambien abre opciones en las cuales la adherencia a una doctrina los aisla. No comprometerse con un sector determinado permite al gobernante usar a un enemigo contra el otro. Las normas rigidas podran parecer fuertes, pero con el tiempo su inflexibilidad crispa los nervios y los subditos encuentran formas de sacar de escena a esos soberanos. Los gobernantes flexibles, sin forma definida, seran muy criticados pero perduran, y con el tiempo la gente termina identificandose con ellos, dado que son como sus subditos: cambiantes frente a los cambiantes tiempos, abiertos a las circunstancias.”

  3. Manuel 9 March 2020 at 6:22 am Permalink

    Monday 03/09/2020 03:06:09 / Latest Version

    “While places like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter struggle to fend off a barrage of false content, with their scattershot mix of policies, fact-checkers, and algorithms, one of the web’s most robust weapons against misinformation is an archaic-looking website written by anyone with an internet connection, and moderated by a largely anonymous crew of volunteers.”

    In the Facebook era, the volunteer editors behind the archaic-looking website have built Wikipedia into a formidable force for truth.

    Source: http://www.fastcompany.com

  4. Manuel 9 March 2020 at 7:15 am Permalink

    During a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, Senator Elizabeth Warren was reminded that Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders were both hoping for her endorsement. “It’s tough,” she said. “Maybe I’ll just pull a New York Times and endorse them both.”

  5. Manuel 9 March 2020 at 8:13 am Permalink

    View in browser | nytimes.com
    The New York Times

    BREAKING NEWS
    Senator Cory Booker endorsed Joe Biden for president, adding his name to a list of former rivals backing the candidate.
    Monday, March 9, 2020 7:19 AM EST
    Mr. Booker’s endorsement comes 24 hours after Senator Kamala Harris of California endorsed Mr. Biden, and the two senators will appear with him at a rally in Detroit tonight


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