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In 1909, America elected its fattest president, William Taft, at more than 300 pounds. In 1933, our president sat in a wheelchair, Franklin D. Roosevelt, suffering from polio.

Our oldest president to date, Ronald Reagan, was 69 when he took office — only four years younger than Bernie Sanders, the man America seems to think will croak right after his inauguration.

Our country’s presidential history is decorated with men afflicted by gout, strokes and Addison’s disease. For crying out loud, George H. W. Bush, his wife and family dog all endured Grave’s disease — now that’s a terrible name for a disease if I ever heard one.

Yes, Sanders is 73. But has anyone taken a moment to learn anything else about him? Perhaps his stances on issues that could affect the American public? Perish the thought!

The Vermont senator hopes to increase minimum wage to $15 and establish equal pay for women. The former mayor of Burlington was a pioneer for legalizing same-sex marriage, and in 2000 passed a historical statute allowing civil unions.

After disturbing footage of Sandra Bland’s arrest surfaced showing what he calls “totally outrageous police behavior,” he continued to push for real police reform. He also believes women should have easy access to contraception and insurance should cover such prescriptions, no matter an employer’s beliefs.

And this only scratches the surface of Sanders. Despite our age gap — one of more than 50 years — these views sound a lot like mine.

This column isn’t meant to be one big “Vote for Bernie” message — we’ve got a few more months at least till the annoying mud-slinging commercials air. It’s meant to encourage you to actually learn about these presidential candidates before taking sides.

In poll results released Monday, CNN found that Sanders, despite his age, was trumping all of the major Republican candidates, including Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Donald Trump. And an NBC News/Marist Poll shows Sanders is the only candidate, Democrat or Republican, with a net favorability rating.

So don’t write someone off because they’re too old, a woman, or their toupee isn’t fooling anyone.

Well, maybe write that one off.

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Caroline Glenn is the Content Manager for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @bycarolineglenn or email her at caglenn@gannett.com

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