But he is not the only candidate in the Democratic field who is affected by Sanders' heart attack in the race. While Sanders, 78, is the oldest candidate in the competition, former Vice President Joe Biden is 76, and Massachusetts Senate Elizabeth Warren is 70. If one of them is elected president next November, he would be the oldest person ever -something elected the first term as president. The man whose record they would have broken? Donald Trump, who won in 201
Given that the three leaders of the Democratic Club are Septigenarians, the question of age / health has been low since the beginning. But if Biden, Warren, and Sanders adhere to schedules that will deplete this 43-year-old in about a day, there can be little to worry about.
That has changed now – fundamentally. Although Sanders and his campaign (and its supporters) are quick to downplay how serious (or not) this heart attack was for Sen. Vermont, it's hard to get away from this fact: Sanders, a 78-year-old man, had a heart attack that needed surgery. While there are many and many who have this exact experience, most of them do not run for president. And no one denies that being president – or even running for it – is extremely hard work.
Which is exciting – and potentially difficult for all three candidates are what the public seems to have a decidedly mixed feeling about senior candidates running for president.
There is also some element of uncertainty in polling on such a sensitive topic as age. Do people pull up punches when talking to a complete stranger in a poll, how many ages do their voices matter? Do they really care more than they ever let in the poll?
One thing we can say for sure is that something changed in the race after Sanders' heart attack. The burden of proof has now shifted directly to Sanders and, to a lesser extent, to Biden and Warren.
Sanders is expected to appear at the fourth debate sponsored by CNN and The New York Times next Tuesday in Ohio. He – like Biden and Warren – must expect to have at least one age / health / medical discharge question. And you can be sure that voters will pay very close attention to how they respond.