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Soubresaut's avatar

How aren't the dementia speculations in the 2020 presidential race an example of ageism?

Asked by Soubresaut (13707points) August 8th, 2020

And how aren’t they, at the very least, petty, unproven, and pulling the focus away from actual issues?

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10 Answers

hmmmmmm's avatar

Because they are so transparent, there is no denying them. We have decades of public video of both of these people. And their sudden cognitive decline is not just “who they are” or “a result of a lifelong stutter”.

My father suffers from Parkinson’s-related dementia, and hearing Biden talk is too close to home.

Re: the actual issues – Both of these guys are so bad on the actual issues, that it is not in either campaign’s interest to discuss.

JLeslie's avatar

As long as people are pointing to real concerns of a candidate seemingly having a lot of trouble with memory that isn’t ageism. Memory includes putting a sentence together not just remembering an event.

Soubresaut's avatar

I haven’t seen sudden cognitive declines, though. I’ve seen plenty examples of compiled clips of either candidate misspeaking, but that’s not the same thing. Neither candidate, as far as I’m aware, has ever been an especially smooth public speaker, so I’m not sure how compiled clips prove anything.

Much of what I see doesn’t look like real concern, either. In most cases I’ve seen, it just looks like an attempt to undermine, or simply make digs at, a candidate’s credibility with something less material than character, policy, or any number of other factors.

I mention ageism because it seems that a large part of the basis/rationale behind saying they have dementia is their ages.

@hmmmmmm I’m sorry to hear about your father.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@Soubresaut: “Neither candidate, as far as I’m aware, has ever been an especially smooth public speaker”

Growing up in the US, I grew up with both of them as public figures. It’s alarming – they’re not even the same people (especially Biden).

Go watch Biden speak against public bussing/desegregation, or watch him make his case for his crime bill which devastated generations of black people in this country. He might be repulsive, but he was slick and sharp. It’s scary to watch him be allowed to talk now. And like I said, it’s way too close to home. My father was also a quick and smart guy.

Don’t worry that this is a manufactured campaign thing. If a public personality suddenly disappears and s/he becomes a shell of his/her former self, people are going to notice.

chyna's avatar

@hmmmmmm Not necessarily. Look at Regan. People didn’t know he had Alzheimer’s while in office.
I’ve seen interviews in trump’s early years and he speaks quite differently, too. Now he talks at about a 6th grade level. In old interviews, he had quite a large vocabulary and didn’t keep repeating himself.

JLeslie's avatar

I see Biden as not quite as together with his speaking abilities as he used to be, and even compared to other candidates his age like Bernie or Trump. However, I do believe Biden still has an incredible wealth of knowledge, and so he seems like he is “aging” to me, but I would not say he has dementia. That’s just me watching him as a lay person, he would need to be tested obviously.

@chyna I think Trump does some of it very purposefully. Three word sentences invigorate his most loyal followers. He throws out words that make them react—trigger words. Here is a great Nas video talking about what I mean. I say these totally separate from Trump doing things like mispronouncing words, which he has been criticized for lately, but I was never fond of criticizing people for reading something incorrectly on live TV. I saw on TV they were making fun of him saying Thailand incorrectly, but a second later he corrected himself. I can’t imagine pronouncing it incorrectly, but anyway he caught himself immediately. He isn’t good at reading aloud.

seawulf575's avatar

Because the person running for office is more than the policies. They have to have the mental capacity and stamina to do the job in a way most of us view as reasonably. Combine that with the idea that the Dems have really not put forth any policy proposals other than Hate Trump, so you don’t really have policies to compare or discuss.

Demosthenes's avatar

@seawulf575 If Biden is nothing more than “hate Trump” and there are no actual policy proposals, why the concern that Biden will institute socialism and anarchy and abolish police departments nationwide? Seems like there’s something that can be discussed. Part of the reason I want to see them debate.

As for ageism: we’ve already decided presidents must be at least 35 and no one calls that “ageism”. It’s not unreasonable to recognize that mental faculties often do decline with age and this could be a problem for the leader of a nation. We have no problem deciding someone is too young for something, but suggest they’re too old (say, to drive) and it becomes hugely problematic. That said, I do think both sides are exaggerating and attempting to portray the other candidate as “senile” on account of them both being over 70 and not particularly articulate. I think some concern is fair, but a lot of what I’m hearing is just mudslinging.

seawulf575's avatar

@Demosthenes The concern is that he and the Dems aren’t putting forth their proposals for discussion. They have pushed all sorts of socialist ideas, they have publicly supported defunding the police, and they have not denounced the violent protests. So based on their discussions and actions, I have to believe they are doing nothing but trying to hide their actual plans so they don’t have to defend them. But they are still very much alive in their minds. Look at how Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders both had to be cornered to discuss how they would pay for even one of their dreams? They dodged and ducked and avoided until cornered and then finally had to say they would have to raise taxes on ALL people…not just “the rich”. And that was just for one dream. They had several that were also going to cost a bunch of money. All of these were socialist dreams. And Biden has public endorsed some of them. But their big campaign messages are nothing more than “Not Donald Trump!”. That, in itself, is another version of dodging the questions they might have to answer.
As to a debate, I would be glad to watch. But make it blind questions. Neither side gets questions in advance, neither side gets to prepare. The job of POTUS is not prescripted and we need to see how our elected leaders can handle emergent questions and how engaged they are with the issues.

JLeslie's avatar

I do think Biden should be out there presenting his policies and ideas to calm the Republicans down so that if Biden wins no one is shooting up the neighborhoods. I don’t expect the average Republican to do anything so violent, but there is a faction of extremist, a lot of the Libertarian actually, who are messaging things like revulsion and rising up and removing people the great country of America used guns in its creation.

Biden is not a left wing extremist.

Anyone but Trump makes sense right now because he continues to cater to groups like QAnon followers who are domestic terrorists! Think about that.

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