Another presidential election looms in November, and who stands to win? An 81 year old Democrat incumbent and a 77 year old wanna be dictator posing as a Republican.  Both have already had the job before and for some reason want it back. Both are well beyond the age at which social security benefits can continue to increase. And many question the mental acuity of both.  Why have no younger, vibrant candidates stepped in to the political limelight? Or, have some?

Well, it depends on your point of view.  Two options entered the fray as independents. Buy are also past peak performance. Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Dr. Cornel West. Each 70 and counting.

Only More Old Guys

Kennedy is described as an influential environmental lawyer, anti-vaccination proponent and conspiracy theorist . He did a short stint as an assistant district attorney in New York City. In 1984 he plead guilty to heroin possession and was sentenced to two years’ probation. No jail time for heroin?  Well, after all, he is a Kennedy. Even his probation period reportedly was slashed after a year. After he cleaned himself up, he did some credible things like working with non-profits, taught law as a college associate professor and wrote a few books.

Beyond whatever wealth comes with being a Kennedy, RFK Jr. has enhanced that wealth by leading or teaming up with other lawyers and students in environmental suits against corporate giants including Dupont, Exxon, Ford, General Electric and Monsanto. While he has in the past considered running for offices such as U.S.  Senate and attorney general, Kennedy never actually held public office. Nor has he run a business. 

Brother West (a moniker that Dr. West commonly uses when speaking with men) is widely chronicled as an intellectual and social activist.  He was a professor at several Ivy League schools including Harvard, Yale, Princeton and others.  West grew up in California with a father who was a federal defense contractor and mother a school principal. He wrote or contributed to more than 20 books, most noteworthy Race Matters in 1993. To his credit, he participated in several public demonstrations for civil and human rights over the years. And his participation resulted in several arrests. From 2010 through 2013, West co-hosted the radio program Smiley and West with Tavis Smiley. He is a self-described socialist. By definition then his thought processes somewhere between capitalism and communism. 

Related: Why Trump So Beloved

In the past West supported and  advised  the presidential campaigns of Ralph Nader (2000) and Al Sharpton (yes, Al Sharpton actually ran for president in 2004). While for the upcoming election he initially sought the support of the Green Party and then the People’s Party, he has settled on stating his case as an independent. West is essentially an academic and author and has never held public office or operated any businesses.

Though Kennedy and West made very noteworthy contributions to society over the years, why at 70 do they suddenly enter the race for U.S. President? The non-existence of viable youthful candidates is, in a word, depressing.  There have got to be brilliant, energetic and pragmatic young people who can lead this country better than what we have before us now. 

In Louisiana its “Heads I win, tails you lose” anyway when it comes to the presidential election.  This is far from a state that can be flipped. That 77 soon to be 78-year-old pseudo Republican has this state wrapped up due to demographics and ultra conservative thought patterns and policies. He probably won’t even campaign here with Jeff Landry now at the gubernatorial helm. Yet, entrants like Kennedy and West may certainly have an impact on the outcomes of swing states key to the success of the soon to be 82-year-old incumbent. We can and should do better as a country.

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