Two Presidential Candidates Who Are The Same Age... But One Seems Much Older.

Election 2020 Joe Biden
ASSOCIATED PRESS

This is a tale of two Democratic presidential candidates who are the same age, 77, but one seems much older.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, currently the front-runner, is being mocked for adopting as a campaign slogan “No Malarkey!”, a term that arose in the roaring twenties, when young women were flappers, mass communication referred to the radio and Ford’s Model T cost $260.

By contrast, Michael Bloomberg has entered the race like a bull in a rodeo bull-riding competition. His slogan is “Fighting for Our Future,”  which emphasizes the active word “fighting” and looks toward the “future.” Bloomberg touts his success as an entrepreneur, his leadership as Mayor of New York City after the difficult days of  the 9-11 terrorist attack on the twin Trade Towers, and his courage in fighting for common sense gun control.


Many Americans will draw radically different conclusions about the two candidates based simply upon their choice of advertising slogans. This is the power of advertising, which so often portrays older Americans negatively.


Biden has not helped himself by emphasizing his age, rather than his capabilities. Biden’s “No Malarkey!” slogan was unveiled on a tour bus that he is using to make an 8-day sweep of Iowa. He says he adopted the slogan “because the other guy’s all lies.”  CNN reports that “no malarkey” is one of Biden’s favorite phrases.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “malarkey” is of unknown origin and dates back to the 1920s, two decades before Biden was born. It refers to "lies and exaggerations, humbug."

Trevor Noah of The Daily Show joked that “unless you’re over the age of 80 [malarkey] is a term you definitely had to Google.”

Bloomberg’s slogan portrays him as engaged in a crucial fight for American values. The billionaire is using $30 million of his own money to finance an unparalleled advertising blitz on television and social media. To some, this is an effort to buy the election but it is also a testament to financial success and determination. He is presenting himself as an active, future-oriented candidate.

Clueless?

Did no one in Biden’s campaign anticipate that a slogan like “No Malarkey!” would buttress ageist stereotypes that have dogged Biden’s candidacy?

Is Biden, a multi-millionaire, so isolated by wealth and privilege that he cannot see the long shadow cast by age discrimination in America?

Ageism in America was on display this month with respect to “OK Boomer,” a term used by young people to complain about Baby Boomers hoarding jobs and wealth. Nevermind research showing that half of Americans approaching 65 have less than $25,000 in savings and one in four don’t even have $1000. More than 50 percent of retirees over the age of 55 left their last job involuntarily and are at risk of falling into poverty.

Democrats And Ageism

Age has been an undercurrent in the Democratic president race.

The Washington Post ran an op-ed article entitled, “Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are too old to be President.”

During September’s Democratic debate, Julian Castro, 45, the former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, highlighted Biden’s age when he asked, “Are you forgetting already what you said two minutes ago?”

And Democratic Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, 37, the mayor of a small city in Indiana, repeatedly emphasizes America's need for "a new generation of leadership" to replace the "failures of the old normal." He has a seven-point lead in Iowa, where Mr Biden now is in fourth place.

It remains to be seen whether Bloomberg’s money and media savvy will allow him to elude the ageist stereotypes that have plagued other septuagenarians (i.e., frail, weak and out of touch) in the race.

So far, so good.

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This is a tale of two Democratic presidential candidates who are the same age, 77, but one seems much older.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, currently the front-runner, is being mocked for adopting as a campaign slogan “No Malarkey!”, a term that arose in the roaring twenties, when young women were flappers, mass communication referred to the radio and Ford’s Model T cost $260.

By contrast, Michael Bloomberg has entered the race like a bull in a rodeo bull-riding competition. His slogan is “Fighting for Our Future,”  which emphasizes the active word “fighting” and looks toward the “future.” Bloomberg touts his success as an entrepreneur, his leadership as Mayor of New York City after the difficult days of  the 9-11 terrorist attack on the twin Trade Towers, and his courage in fighting for common sense gun control.


Many Americans will draw radically different conclusions about the two candidates based simply upon their choice of advertising slogans. This is the power of advertising, which so often portrays older Americans negatively.


Biden has not helped himself by emphasizing his age, rather than his capabilities. Biden’s “No Malarkey!” slogan was unveiled on a tour bus that he is using to make an 8-day sweep of Iowa. He says he adopted the slogan “because the other guy’s all lies.”  CNN reports that “no malarkey” is one of Biden’s favorite phrases.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “malarkey” is of unknown origin and dates back to the 1920s, two decades before Biden was born. It refers to "lies and exaggerations, humbug."

Trevor Noah of The Daily Show joked that “unless you’re over the age of 80 [malarkey] is a term you definitely had to Google.”

Bloomberg’s slogan portrays him as engaged in a crucial fight for American values. The billionaire is using $30 million of his own money to finance an unparalleled advertising blitz on television and social media. To some, this is an effort to buy the election but it is also a testament to financial success and determination. He is presenting himself as an active, future-oriented candidate.

Clueless?

Did no one in Biden’s campaign anticipate that a slogan like “No Malarkey!” would buttress ageist stereotypes that have dogged Biden’s candidacy?

Is Biden, a multi-millionaire, so isolated by wealth and privilege that he cannot see the long shadow cast by age discrimination in America?

Ageism in America was on display this month with respect to “OK Boomer,” a term used by young people to complain about Baby Boomers hoarding jobs and wealth. Nevermind research showing that half of Americans approaching 65 have less than $25,000 in savings and one in four don’t even have $1000. More than 50 percent of retirees over the age of 55 left their last job involuntarily and are at risk of falling into poverty.

Democrats And Ageism

Age has been an undercurrent in the Democratic president race.

The Washington Post ran an op-ed article entitled, “Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are too old to be President.”

During September’s Democratic debate, Julian Castro, 45, the former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, highlighted Biden’s age when he asked, “Are you forgetting already what you said two minutes ago?”

And Democratic Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, 37, the mayor of a small city in Indiana, repeatedly emphasizes America's need for "a new generation of leadership" to replace the "failures of the old normal." He has a seven-point lead in Iowa, where Mr Biden now is in fourth place.

It remains to be seen whether Bloomberg’s money and media savvy will allow him to elude the ageist stereotypes that have plagued other septuagenarians (i.e., frail, weak and out of touch) in the race.

So far, so good.

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I am an attorney, former judge, and recognized authority on age discrimination in employment. After experiencing age discrimination during the Great Recession, I be...