Monday, January 29, 2024

'They're both dinosaurs': Concerns about age drive lack of enthusiasm for Biden and Trump

From JSOnline:

Molly BeckSam WoodwardLaura Schulte
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

SUPERIOR – Last week marked the first barnstorm of the 2024 presidential election cycle.

President Joe Biden visited Wisconsin's northwestern corner on Thursday while Vice President Kamala Harris stopped in Waukesha County on Monday and Biden's Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen capped off the week in Milwaukee while the Biden-Harris team pointedly weighed in on the Legislature's proposed 14-week abortion ban referendum.

Though the Republican presidential primary race is technically still underway, with former President Donald Trump leading former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley by double digits in polling, it's over to Biden as he and his surrogates blanketed the state with a message aimed at chipping away Trump support.

Both candidates have an uphill battle in a battleground state that each of them has won in the last two elections. Just 37% of Wisconsin voters polled by the Marquette University Law School in November said they had a favorable impression of Trump. Not many more said they had a good opinion of Biden, at 42%. In a head-to-head matchup, Biden edged Trump by three percentage points — within the margin of error.

Voters surveyed by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Thursday during a Biden trip to Superior and Duluth, Minn., signaled the candidates' ages and enthusiasm for either could be key challenges for both campaigns.

Ruth Hagenan, who works at Top Hat Tavern in Superior, is still an undecided voter. Despite her excitement over the presidential visit and being able to see Biden’s motorcade fly by the bar, she’s thinking she will likely vote Republican this fall because she’s concerned about the economy and believes it was better during the tenure of Trump.

But she has some concerns over both Biden and Trump’s cognitive abilities. As a former home care nurse, she sees symptoms of aging that alarm her.

“I’ve seen them both stumble in their thought process,” she said. “So to me, it’s like they need backup to help. Can they do this on their own? Can they do it quickly?”

Debby Strop, co-owner of Uncle Loui's Cafe in Duluth, told the Journal Sentinel she does not identify with either major party but appreciates Biden's visit. Strop's cafe was used as a backdrop in 2018 by Fox News' morning show "Fox & Friends."

"I'm glad he's here. It shows he really cares. If he didn't why would he be here?" she said, noting the cold and foggy weather. Despite this, Strop said she doesn't want either Trump or Biden to run. Their age is a major issue for the 67-year-old, saying deciding between candidates who are 77 and 81 is not ideal.

For Duluth resident and barista Afton Iliff, the 2024 election is the last thing on her mind. "I don't like either of them," she said. "Biden is way too old and Trump is a horrible person."

During the summer months, Iliff works as a heavy-equipment operator for a local construction company, working to consolidate highways and prepare for construction on the Blatnik Bridge — the replacement of which Biden visited the area Thursday to promote. She said she's happy the work is getting attention because the lack of accessible roadways affects the lives of those in the region, saying that most politicians aren't in touch with "real people's" needs. "The people in office are too old. They're not even going to see the changes they are voting for," she said. "They're older than sliced bread."

Illif said she wants to see a candidate focus on reining in spending on international conflict and instead restructure the health care and pharmaceutical industries.The 21-year-old said that even if she did like who was running, she doesn't think her voting would make a difference. She has never voted and is unsure if she will this year.

University of Minnesota Duluth senior John Leppik said the "age problem" in politics is not just an executive branch issue, downplaying it being unique to Biden.

"They're both dinosaurs, but, this is an issue with the wider political fabric, not just the presidency," he said. "We have the oldest Senate that we've ever had, the oldest house."

Leppik said he describes himself as "progressive" and voted for Biden in 2020 because he wanted "not Trump." The English and linguistics major said he was enthusiastic about Biden's pro-union policies and believes Biden has followed through with his goals on that issue. When asked if Biden can beat Trump in 2024, Leppik said "He did it already."

Kiett Takkunen, a former teacher who drove 40 minutes to wait outside of Earth Rider Brewery in Superior to see Biden, is not on the fence, however. She plans to vote for Biden in November.

Takkunen said she's worried about a redux of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol if Biden wins again. She said the issue of abortion is a motivating issue for her.

“I wonder if Trump’s people are going to go just crazy again, when he loses the next time, are we going to have another insurrection?” she said. “Some people talk about a civil war, but I think that might be a little extreme. But we’re so divided right now, it’s so sad.”

Wisconsin Republicans portrayed the Biden team's Wisconsin blitz as as an act of electoral desperation in the face of high grocery prices and disorder at the southern border. 

"Look, there's a reason we're getting all this tourism in Wisconsin from the White House," Republican Party of Wisconsin chairman Brian Schimming told reporters Thursday. "And that is not that we all know that President Biden will lose Wisconsin in November. It's because he's lost Wisconsin already."

Molly Beck, Sam Woodward and Laura Schulte can be reached at, and

Original story:

I'm 72 and I also consider both candidates to be inept, old fools.  Come November, pick your poison. 

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