GOP, President Trump May Be Losing Senior Citizen Vote in Key States

The president needs those voters to win.

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Senior citizens, generally being more conservative because they have had time to accumulate wisdom, usually vote Republican. Sometimes by big numbers. This year that may change and that is serious news for the president because the senior vote is decisive in two states he needs badly for victory, Florida and Pennsylvania. The Wall Street Journal provides details.

“Republicans have won the senior vote in the last four presidential elections. This year, older voters are showing signs of having second thoughts about President Trump, one reason he is lagging behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden in polls of some of the most important battlegrounds. Mr. Trump won seniors by 7 percentage points in 2016 but has trailed Mr. Biden by 10 points with that group all year in Wall Street Journal/NBC News polling. The coronavirus pandemic is making it hard for the president to rebound with older voters, who are among those most vulnerable to Covid-19. Mr. Trump’s weakened standing with seniors is particularly important because of one demographic fact: Nearly every competitive state in the election is also home to large shares of people age 65 and older—larger than the national average.”

The WSJ talked to some seniors, “It has bothered me a lot, because of my age and the way he acts like, ‘Oh, it’s nothing,’” said Virginia Chronister of York, Pa., who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. ‘Yeah, OK, buddy boy, it’s something very serious…This is nothing you just sneeze over.’ Ms. Chronister, 80 years old, says some of her friends have become very ill from the virus…Michigan voter William Kludt, 76, backed Mr. Trump in 2016 but says he now regrets it, in part because he believes the president is pitting Americans against each other. ‘And on the Covid-19 thing, we have a lot of people dead who shouldn’t be dead,’ said Mr. Kludt, of Oceana County. He said nations that followed the guidance of scientists more closely lost fewer people.”

The Trump campaign is working the problem.

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The president will take Florida, as many of the seniors there, being northeast transplants, have always voted Democrat. Where I grew up and cut my political teeth in the 1970s, Broward County, Florida, was purple back then but has gotten more Democrat over the years. So Democrat seniors have been there forever and Republicans still take the state. They will this time too.

Pennsylvania is more problematic and perhaps the key to the whole shebang. If Trump can hold that and Michigan, even if he loses Wisconsin, he can still win. But lose Pennsylvania and the numbers become rough for the president. The president will have strength in the “T” of PA, the wide area between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. PA Seniors, who make up a lot of the vote because the young have fled the rust belt, could also perhaps help Trump somewhat in the upscale suburbs. But right now those seasoned PA voters are breaking for Biden. For the nation’s sake, that will hopefully change.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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