Should older politicians be required to take a ‘cognitive test?’


(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Should older politicians be required to take a ‘cognitive test’ before serving? Former Republican Governor of South Carolina and former US Ambassador, Nikki Haley, thinks so.

According to The Hill, Haley told the Christian Broadcasting Network that older politicians should be tested. While she didn’t say his name directly, it’s not the first time she’s made a swipe at President Joe Biden’s age or mental ability.

But what is a cognitive test? The answer is complicated.

Experts say it’s a broad test that could be used to test short-term memory, information processing and speed, visual and special skills, language skills, and the list goes on.

“The only reason that I know of that somebody would do that is if there’s cause for concern,” said Dr. Shontelle MacQueen, a psychologist in Charlotte.

Dr. MacQueen said cognitive tests aren’t typically used as a “qualification” for a job.

“We’re not just going to use a screener tool based on this one instrument that took 15 minutes,” said MacQueen. “It’s not really intended for this.”

Would politicians in North and South Carolina be willing to take a cognitive test? FOX 46 reached out to all US Representatives and US Senators for the two states. We asked them if they’d be willing to take a cognitive test.

As of 4:30 on Friday afternoon, FOX 46 heard back from two.

Austin Livingston, with 68-year-old Republican Representative Ralph Norman, wrote:

“If you’re talking about legitimate cognitive testing conducted by neurologists or other Board-certified medical experts, Rep. Norman has no problem with that.”

Alex Ives, with 78-year-old Republican Representative Virginia Foxx, wrote:

“If you actually believe this is newsworthy on a day* when Congressional Democrats are teeing up trillions in spending without a cost estimate, you should consider taking a cognitive test. Your story is laughable.”

*FOX 46 covered the vote and subsequent postponing of the vote on Friday, November 5th. It was in all of our mid-day and evening newscasts.

From 26 to 81, the average of all North and South Carolina Congressmen and Congresswomen is around 60 years old. Political commentator Khalif Rhodes said that’s a good thing.

“There’s no age limit to service, so if there’s a person who wants to serve their state, their neighborhood, their community, I don’t think we should put an age limit on their ability to serve,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes said it’s likely Haley’s playing politics and not trying to take any type of test.

“She’s entering the 2024 race a lot earlier than anticipated,” said Rhodes.

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