Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is accusing Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley of “ageism” after she proposed requiring a mandatory competency test for any elected official over the age of 75.
During an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” the 81-year-old socialist senator blasted Haley for proposing the test — calling it absurd and discriminatory against elderly Americans.
Sanders claimed that Americans should just “trust people” to know that a person is “competent” — comparing the ‘ageist’ demand for competency tests for elderly politicians to racism, sexism and homophobia.
“We are fighting racism, we’re fighting sexism, we’re fighting homophobia,” he said. “I think we should also be fighting ageism. Trust people, look at people and say, ‘You know, this person is competent, this person is not competent.’”
Sanders will be running for reelection in 2024 after serving in the U.S. Senate for 16 years. Before being elected as one of Vermont’s senators in 2007, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1991.
The aging senator went on to argue that voters will have to judge the competency of their elected officials on an individual basis, though he did not explain how they are to do that without a true test of their abilities — especially in light of recent candidates who have run “basement campaigns” where they avoid the public as much as possible during their race.
He also did not address the tendency of many Americans to simply vote for the politician based on their political affiliation without proper knowledge of the candidates themselves — which has led to deceased politicians being voted into office on multiple occasions, as well as severely cognitively disabled politicians such as newly elected Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA).
“I don’t think you make a blanket statement,” he said, referring to judging the competency of elderly elected officials.
Haley, a former governor of South Carolina who recently announced her candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, proposed the idea of mandatory mental competency tests last week.
Many have concluded that her proposal is a direct shot at two of her potential 2024 rivals, 80-year-old President Joe Biden and her old boss, former President Donald Trump, who she has been attacking for some time now.
“In the America I see, the permanent politician will finally retire,” Haley said during a rally kicking off her presidential campaign. “We’ll have term limits for Congress and mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.”