: Are mental competency tests for older politicians ageist?

: Are mental competency tests for older politicians ageist?

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 51, announced Wednesday that she was running for president — and in the process, she targeted older politicians and questioned their fitness for their jobs.

Haley, who is one of the first to challenge former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nominationcalled for “mandatory mental-competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.”

“America is not past our prime,” she said during her announcement. “It’s just that our politicians are past theirs.” Haley also said there should be term limits for members of Congress.

Now read: 5 things to know about Nikki Haley, the Republican candidate challenging Trump in 2024

Requiring people to take mental-competency tests can look like age discrimination, as such a requirement suggests that a person’s age is what determines how capable they are of doing a particular job. Presidents already undergo regular medical examssuch as the one Biden has scheduled on Thursday.

This isn’t the first time age has been a focus of a presidential campaign. Many of the 2020 candidates were also in their 70s on Election Day, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was then 71; Trump, then 74; Joe Biden, then 77; and Sen. Bernie Sanders, then 79.

Almost a quarter of members of Congress — 23% — are over 70, according to a Business Insider report titled “Red, White and Gray.” The median age of U.S. senators and representatives in 2022 was 61½.

Biden, who is considering running for re-election in 2024, recently addressed his age. The president, who would be 81 on Election Day, essentially said that age is just a number. “I think it relates to how much energy you have, and whether or not the job you’re doing is one consistent with what any person of any age would be able to do,” he said in an interview with “60 Minutes” in September.

He’s not alone in thinking that age should not be a determining factor for a person pursuing a job. The AARP also has a position on the matter. “A candidate’s qualifications, ability and stance on the issues is what matters — not the year they were born,” Nancy LeaMond, the organization’s executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, said in a statement in November. “Making sweeping judgments based on identifiers like race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender and disability is not acceptable. It should also be unacceptable to discriminate based on age.”

Also see: Assaults on the ‘gerontocracy’ reek of ageism — creativity and inventiveness don’t fade with birthdays

Author Ashton Applewhite, who wrote a book called “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism,” echoed those sentiments. “Generalizations about the capacities of older people are no more acceptable than racial or gender stereotypes. Period,” she said in a November blog post about age debates during elections.

The same question arose when reports came out that California Sen. Dianne Feinstein was struggling with cognitive decline, as The New Yorker wrote in December 2020. Feinstein, 89, said this month she will not run for re-election in 2024.

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