In the new book I just completed, I’ve been writing about the sudden, shocking death of Franklin Roosevelt—victim of a brain hemorrhage at age 63. He’d already served 12 years as president, and just won a fourth term, but his aides and a sympathetic press concealed his rapidly failing health.
Today, many of the vigorous presidential candidates are much older than FDR at his death. Bernie, Biden, President Trump and Elizabeth Warren would all be between 71 and 79 at the beginning of the next term.
The point isn’t to disqualify older candidates but to appreciate how much our life spans have increased. At Roosevelt’s death in 1945, the average male lived to 62—middle-aged by today’s standards, when an average guy survives till 77. We should cherish those 15 added years of living and celebrate our progress in a statistic that matters deeply.