Lack of credible alternatives to Biden, Trump in US election race worrying

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This combination of file pictures shows former US President Donald Trump and US President Joe Biden. FILE PHOTO | AFP

As the US election nudges ever closer, it is a worrying prospect for the world.

It’s not that we haven’t lived through a term each, already, for the two leading candidates: the current President Joe Biden, and the former president, Donald Trump. And we have got through it.

But with both now having lived through or set to undergo impeachment investigations, and trails of allegations, this is a poor place for starting afresh.

For sure, the opposition Republicans' move to investigate Biden can be construed more as an aggressive party strike than a general view of Biden’s own unsuitability.

But as the fight hots up, and court cases mount against Trump, the really worrying aspect is the absence of alternatives, in a largely two-horse race, between two elderly candidates.

By the election next year, President Biden will be 81, and Trump will be 78. With the current US life expectancy for men standing at 76, both are counting on above-average life expectancy to complete any new term.

And few could deny that both have shown signs of their advancing old age, across quite typical behaviour changes for the elderly, be it as mobility issues and physical unsteadiness, or scrambling speeches and forgetful moments.

Studies of Trump have even shown that his use of words and language has narrowed sharply.

It may or may not be fair to suggest that they are past their peak performance, but that certainly appears to be the case.

Yet, the alternatives are such long shots. The Republicans have 13 candidates, in a field where most command fewer than one percent of support in polls, and there is only one, far and away lead candidate, in Trump.

The Democrats have only two other candidates, and they neither arrive with any groundswell of support. That presents a worrying reality from a nation that affects all our lives so much in a political space so empty around only these two, key individuals, and an even more worrying reality in understanding that these two men are genuinely the best-of-the-best American citizens that their country wishes to be led by.

It speaks to atrophy in the political parties. And it is also an accident waiting to happen if either of these men fall to old age or regulatory action - in a situation where it is now highly improbable that neither of them will.

And who, then, will be the next port of call?

America houses geniuses, massively articulate men and women in their prime: what has gone so wrong with its politics that not one of them is now in the frame as America’s finest, with real support to be its future leader?

The writer is a development communication specialist.