IPFW Political Scientist: Older Democrats, Younger Republicans In 2016 Race

Jun 15, 2015

Hillary Clinton is just nine months younger than Reagan was when he became the nation's oldest first-term president.
Credit Marc Nozell / https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcn/459271450

The next Democratic presidential nominee could be the oldest in the party’s history. Democrats have only nominated one non-incumbent over 60 since 1880, but frontrunner Hillary Clinton turns 68 this year  and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) turns 74 in September. 

Both candidates would set the record for the party’s oldest nominee, and Sanders would be the oldest first-term nominee in U.S. history.

IPFW political scientist Mike Wolf says age is less of a concern for voters than it was before Ronald Reagan’s presidency.  He also says the glut of older Democratic nominees is a result of both the prominence of the Clinton family, and the success of Republicans in recent mid-term elections.

"The 2010 and 2014 elections really wiped out some of their up-and-coming candidates," Wolf says.

Republicans have a much younger field of candidates: four of the men running for office are in their forties. Since Reagan’s two terms in office, the only Republican Party presidential nominee younger than 64 years old was George W. Bush.