The world is changing at an increasingly fast pace. One consequence of this is that experience is becoming less important as a criterion for voters. Indeed, younger leaders may be better positioned to understand and manage current challenges. There are several leaders who fit the category of the so-called slim fit politicians. Think about French President Emmanuel Macron or Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. With Sebastian Kurz, the Austrians even elected somebody in his early 30s as their chancellor. One might ask how about Donald Trump? Well, yes, he’s 73 years old, but he was not really elected for his political experience.
This doesn’t mean that experience has become immaterial for voters, but rather that we are no longer in a situation where more experience is always better. I look at it like a threshold, meaning that a candidate needs to convince voters that he or she is able to do the job. Once a candidate can make that case, and can pass that threshold, other criteria become more important, and a comparatively young age can even be an advantage. By the way, the concept of the threshold also applies to elder candidates. We are currently witnessing this with Joe Biden, who is trying to convince the Democratic primary electorate that at the age of 76, he is fit enough to run for president.