Would you consider a 36-year old suitable to be President?

(I’m making this hypothetical candidate 36 rather than 35, just in case some Doper wants to nitpick over the mathematical age eligibility. One year’s buffer.)

Would you consider a 36-year old candidate to be suitable to be U.S. President? (Assume that he is educated, has charisma, is knowledgeable, shares your political views, physically healthy, etc. etc.)

If not, what would you consider to be the minimum age cutoff below which you wouldn’t vote for such a candidate for President?

I’m probably writing in an 11-year old, assuming it comes down to Hillary v. Trump, so yes.

I’m your man! Assuming you’re a Democrat.
Oh wait, charisma…

Maybe I can fake it.

Thirty six would be fine if he had management knowledge, policy chops and political experience. It’s might be unlikely that somebody at that age would be qualified, but it’s not impossible.

Probably, for the right candidate.

William Jennings Bryan was the Democratic nominee in the election of 1896, and was 36 years old–the youngest major party candidate to ever run. He was then and maybe even in some views is today controversial, and a man who doesn’t easily map to modern concepts of liberal/conservative.

He was deeply religious, and opposed to vice throughout his political career. After serving two terms in the U.S. House representing Nebraska and broadly representing agrarian interests and conservative social values, he took a more populist turn. He started giving speeches advocating bimetallism and the resumption of minting of silver coinage, designed to increase the supply of money and lead to inflation. This was something very popular with the West/plains and parts of the midwest and South, farmers who were often in debt very much liked the idea of money getting cheaper as it would make it easier to pay their debts. The wealthy bankers of the northeast were deeply opposed to it, and advocated for continued minting of new coinage exclusively in gold or “sound money.” Bryan gave fiery speeches around the country blasting the bankers, large corporations, railroads etc, saying they were crushing the common man.

While young, he was seen as a rising star for an important wing of the Democratic party and was considered for some post at the 1896 convention like Convention Chair (a prominent but largely ceremonial role.) Instead his populist support lead to him wining the nomination. He also was nominated by the Free Silver Republican Party and the Populist Party (although not always with the same running mate, so depending on which ticket you voted for your vote would count for Bryan either way but not necessarily his Democratic running mate.) He was campaigned against heavily in the Midwest, Bimetallism was extremely popular in the plains states and the West, and the Democrats were still guaranteed the South at this time. The Republicans were guaranteed the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, so the Midwest was the real battleground. While bimetallism was very popular there, there were also large industrial interests in the region that were strongly against it. McKinley was backed by a better funded and better operated political machine–and in fact Bryan was actively opposed by a large portion of his own party. Some elements of the party had tried to get Grover Cleveland to run again as a third party candidate to undo Bryan, he declined interest in a third term, but he also didn’t endorse Bryan. Almost no Democrat newspapers anywhere in the country endorse him either. In the end this schism in the party and the better organized Republicans won the midwest and the electoral college by about 100 votes, although in some key states the popular vote was close enough that if things had been only a little different, Bryan would’ve been President.

Interestingly Bryan in many people’s minds is not remembered as a pseudo-populist, anti-corporate Democrat of the late 19th century. Instead he is remembered more for his very conservative religious beliefs, and his involvement in the Scopes Monkey Trial. After running for President a few more times, Bryan eventually was Secretary of State for a time and later became very involved in campaigning against evolution. Believe it or not evolution was taught as scientific fact throughout the United States public schools in the early 20th century. Using the same kind of stupid and ignorant rhetoric often found today (and ridiculed by men of learning and reason of his time) Bryan gave speeches across the country to receptive state legislatures asking for the teaching of evolution in schools to be banned. Several states in the South responded in the affirmative to these entreaties, which lead directly to the Scopes trial.

Bryan was called in to prosecute for the Scopes trial against Clarence Darrow. Even taking the stand at one point and being made to look extremely stupid by Darrow when he indicated a global flood had occurred some 4300 years prior, Darrow asked him if he was aware that recorded history in China goes back further, and that they make no mention of a flood (Bryan responded he was not aware of that, but considered the bible more reliable than Chinese histories and archaeology.) Under the simple facts of the law, teaching evolution was illegal, and Scopes had taught evolution, so despite being prosecuted by a vastly inferior lawyer to Darrow, Scopes was convicted–but he won in the court of public opinion and the Tennessee supreme court overturned the conviction on appeal on a legal technicality. Interestingly I think today Bryan’s arguments and actions might find a wider audience than back in the early 20th century–because largely public opinion moved strongly against criminalizing the teaching of evolution, and in many ways the teaching of evolution became a somewhat “settled issue” until the Religious Right prominently resurrected it in the 80s.

It is worth noting that in one area Bryan’s stance on evolution was extremely appropriate–while he was wrong to disagree with the science of Darwin’s theories, he was most concerned with social Darwinism and eugenics. He believed (correctly, as it were) that Darwin’s theories were being used to justify the concept that some races are superior to others, and were underpinning the eugenics movement. Unfortunately while Bryan was scientifically illiterate, he was right about the Western world of his time–eugenics was extremely accepted by many leading minds of the day, and lead to all sorts of terrible things, from the forced sterilization of “the incompetent” to even worse things in Germany.

LOL! :stuck_out_tongue:

Sure. I mean, obviously I’d want them to be suitably experienced, mature, etc. But that’s true of 70 year old candidates as well.

It’s probably difficult to get to a place where you can make a plausible run for the Presidency that early in ones career, as evidenced by the fact that the closest we’ve come is almost eight years older than the legal earliest possible age. But I wouldn’t say its inconceivable.

I actually have more issues voting for an aged 70+ candidate. Its a lot easier for the public to get a sense of the issues a young candidate is likely to have (inexperience, immaturity, etc) and judge for themselves then it is to get a sense of an older candidates possible dementia, health problems, etc.

I’m 36 and so are most of my friends. I think I’d vote for my friend Todd for president. Valedictorian of our class, Columbia law grad, nice fellow, very rational and thoughtful.

The rest of us…eh.

A 36-year-old who is a serious candidate for president is probably the Antichrist, so, yeah. Awesome management chops.

It’s hard to imagine a 36 year old gaining enough relevant experience to be qualified, but not impossible.

Beat me to it. I’ve only ever voted for the lesser of two evils, and this year it’s pretty easy for me to imagine a 36-year-old as the lesser evil. (I see where a Congressman who isn’t even yet 36 is apparently running to replace Marco Rubio in the Senate; if he gets it, he’ll have more time in the House and Senate then than Rubio’s got now – and if he were running against Trump, well, I’d vote against Trump.)

Much like the others, it’s really the experience that matters more than the age.

My ideal candidate couldn’t be only 36, because I’d ideally want something like 4 years of military, 4 years of college, 4 years of business 4 years of legislative government and 4 years of executive government.That’s 20 years, so he’d have to be 38… but with so many jumps so quickly I might consider him a little flighty and unreliable, so it’d be nice to see ten years of stability somewhere and now we’re looking more like 48.

Still, no candidate is ideal. I’d sooner compromise over age than politics, especially when a President of any age will rely heavily on expert advisors.

Maybe, given the right experience.

But I’d worry about the lack of historical context. At 36, you haven’t lived through a lot of history. I’m around that age now, and a lot of pretty critical parts of US history are hazy to me-- the Vietnam war, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, the full cycle of boom and bust.

By next election, 36 year olds will have know the US at war and in economic decline their entire adult lives. I’m not sure I’d trust someone without more perspective on what America can be like.

The kind of person likely to run for president at 36 probably graduated high school at 15-16, though, and finished college in two or three years.

Failing that, if you graduated from Yale Law right on time at 25, and then, I dunno, served in the JAG Corps before getting elected to a two-year term in the House before getting elected to a six-year term in the Senate, you’d maybe be 36 when deciding whether to run for re-election or throw your hat in the ring for the Presidency.

You’d have as much time in Congress as Cruz and Rubio and Trump put together!

Yea, I think so. If they are capable of the job, why not?

yes! in a heart beat.

Yeah, exactly. Someone like that would get more consideration from me than their age alone would suggest.

As someone turning 36 in 7 months, i’d say yes. In about 7 more months i’ll pretty much have it all figured out.

I’ll be 37 for the next presidential election. I’ll have a decade of engineering experience and 8 years of running my own business and hopefully selling it for a large profit. I’d vote for me.

In general I think that any one at the age minimum has a lot of right place right time on their resume but I don’t see that as a reason to disqualify them as president. In reality I’m probably going to be running for some state office in 2024 and probably 16 years away from the white house at that point. Vote for Oredigger77 in 2040!