September 20, 2020

Senior Citizens Will Be the ‘Deciding Factor’ in 2020 Election

WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pennsylvania — The ad shows a drive-by of a rural, post-industrial unnamed town in this western Pennsylvania county. The woman in the ad says her name is Janie. She is a fisher who caught two legal Northern pike the day her daughter was born, voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and now believes the choice was wrong because of his attempt to try to cut Medicaid.

The most important bit of information in the ad is her age. She is 82 years old, and strategists and experts agree she and her peers may be the most important voting bloc in November’s election.

Not the suburban soccer mom, not the suburban security mom, not the NASCAR dad and not the people showing up to protest in the streets.

“Senior citizens will decide the next president of the United States,” asserts Jeff Brauer, political science professor at Keystone College in Factoryville, Pennsylvania.

While those 65 and older have long been a powerful voting bloc, this year, Brauer says, given the context of the election, their vote will make the difference.

“Senior citizens vote in presidential elections at the rate of 70% or more,” he says. “They consistently show up to vote more than any other age group, and the current senior population is growing as baby boomers continue to enter this age group.”

In critical swing states such as here in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida and North Carolina, seniors voted in even higher percentages than the national average, Brauer says. Four years after winning all of those states marginally, Trump cannot afford any softening in their support.

With the potential of the coronavirus resurging in the fall and the continuation of civil unrest, Brauer stresses that no matter how trying the times are, seniors will vote in November in their typical numbers when other groups may not.

Washington, D.C.-based Democratic strategist John Lapp agrees.

“I do think that seniors are the key demographic; the key swing group who will decide this question,” he said. “Right now, Donald Trump’s numbers with them are cratering, and they’re moving away from him. People that he used to be able to count on are not there for him.”

Four years ago, Trump won these voters by 7 percentage points. In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, Joe Biden has a 10-point edge among registered voters nationally.

The poll was taken at the end of May during the height of the pandemic shutdown, and before the riots and protests that followed George Floyd’s death in police custody.

It was also taken before the surge of Democrats who support defunding police swept the nation.

Jamie Roe, a Michigan-based Republican strategist, agrees that it all rests on the senior vote. How Biden, his party and whoever he picks for his running mate all handle the social unrest is key to whether seniors flee the president, Roe says. “And I will tell you one thing right now that’s going to auger against that of Biden or the Democrats getting the senior vote is this ‘Defund the Police’ movement that they’ve got going,” he said. “That seniors need a stable system of law and order to keep them protected. They believe in law and order. And things like ‘Defund the Police’ is not going to sit well with American seniors.”

Brauer said, “As the panic over the pandemic slows down, and the economy begins to recover, there are indications that seniors’ support of Trump will bounce back, as well.”

He added: “As the country continues to experience social unrest, and some Democrats speak of defunding police departments, many seniors will migrate back toward Trump as they tend to be pro-police and pro-law and order. In addition, Biden has to be especially careful in choosing his running mate if he does not want to scare away large segments of senior support.”

Over the past several decades, Republican presidential candidates have been able to win the senior vote, with only a couple of exceptions: Bill Clinton and Al Gore slightly won the senior vote.

“In 2016, seniors were not particularly fond of Hillary Clinton as a candidate, and many in her own party even cast protest votes,” said Brauer. “Biden is much more appealing to seniors. They embrace that Biden is unpolished like Trump but is less harsh in his demeanor.”

Brauer says seniors will have a keen eye on Biden’s vice president selection: “They are more apt to want a moderate choice and one that is ready to lead. If Biden goes too far left or too inexperienced with his running mate, many seniors, even those who voted for him in the primary, will think twice before giving him their votes in November.”

The race in 2016 came down to close finishes in three important swing states: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump was able to pull off a victory over the much-favored Clinton largely due to his strong support from senior citizens. Trump needs that same support in 2020. Even slight Trump erosions and/or Biden inroads with seniors will make the difference in the election.

Brauer warns if you want to know who is going to win in November, just keep watching what seniors are saying and doing, because “they will be the deciding factor in 2020.”

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25 Responses

  1. Seniors love their country and identify with Trump. We love his patriotism and dedication and his stance on law and order. Seniors don’t want to return to the WILD WEST and STREET JUSTICE. We embrace and cherish our constitution and its history. We have given our minorities many programs. They are free to make the most of their lives as everyone is in this blessed nation. We value family and our faith. We believe in our freedoms and they must be defended at all times from foreign and domestic terrorists. We are a just people and are generous with our prosperity. We are often tolerant to a fault. Join in our unity and rededicate yourself in loyalty to this great country. God bless us! Seniors… pass this on to your children and grandchildren. God bless our President who is passionate in his desire to keep our nation safe and secure. I believe our seniors share in that passion and enthusiasm and love in our country and will vote again for our conservative President Donald J Trump.

    1. i hope that we all see that the dems just want to destroy our country and control everything we do. Our president may not be the person you like because he is brash but he loves our country and our citizens and fights very hard for us. Joe Biden plays a good act but we all know by now that he will be a ploy for the dems if he is elected..

  2. Who the hell in their right mind would ever vote for a DEMOCRAT look whats happening to our country because of a damn Democrats America wake the hell up if you value you’re country!!!!VOTE TRUMP no ifs and or buts!!!! Just do it!!!

    1. I agree totally!!!! Those seniors out there had better re-think their choice, Biden is an idiot!!!! Trump may not be polished in his speech, but he tells the truth!!! Biden says whatever he thinks ( I use that term loosely) will get him elected!!!!!!

  3. President Trump will never cut Medicare and Medicaid is badly abused and needs to be audited. It is bankrupting cities.

  4. I am a senior and I will vote for Trump he makes Biden look like a fool wake up seniors vote Trump and Do not vote Democrats they will kill us

      1. I to am a senior who changed my party from Dem to Republican in 2016. I voted for Trump then and will vote for him again. I was a Dem for 50 years never again

  5. Every American should show up at the polls ready to cast their vote for Trump. How can ANY AMERICAN in their right mind vote for a Democrat. Just look at what they have “set in action” in America in the past several months.
    Does ANYONE think America is ready for this action from the Dem’s because if Biden should win (and that is very questionable), he would be sitting in a rocker in a room in the White House while this bunch of uneducated Dem’s are trying to destroy this Country. WAKE UP AMERICA and SHOW UP at the polls and cast your vote for Trump.

  6. Wake up. Senior citizens when it come down to it would put America first and they want security and safety. I afraid that once they learn the real agenda of the Democrats they will vote for President Trump.

  7. I did not read her story but after a few paragraphs she said the President was cutting Medicaid.
    Medicaid is a state medical plan managed by the Governor of her state

  8. trump has been good for police especially now with all the Democrats wanting to defund the police, he has put forward lawyers to be favorable to the constitution. he has come through for veterans and the military. he has supported Israel disentangled us from china{hunter Biden is till receiving moneyfrom China} stood up to Russia. He deserves four more years. Obama will be behind biden telling him what to do. Obama was bad for America . with another opportunity he will totally destroy America Biden=Obama

  9. Why would anyone want to vote for a Democrat Progressive Leftest political party that has continually and thoroughly demonstrated it has always hated America for the last 4 years?

  10. TRUMP has the military vote by 82% Marines 91% Navy 80% Army 78% Air Force 71%
    only problem is mail in voting for military TRUMP 2020—2024 SEMPER FI U.S.M.C.

  11. They keep saying Biden is the “presumptive ” Dem candidate and currently has no runningmate. We need to be wary of who is chosen for VP and the fact they may swap Biden for someone worse, like Michelle Obama, closer to election time. The Dems are full of plots and are pulling out all the stops. And we all know what will happen to our country if the Dems win the election…communism in a heartbeat!

  12. Seniors are vulnerable, but they aren’t stupid. We worked our entire lives to raise families, keep at our jobs, support America, and get as much education as we were able to. We honored our institutions, laws, and revered our founding fathers, and our Constitution, and stood for religious freedom and equality of all our citizens. We didn’t riot, loot, burn, defame, murder, or demonize the traditions of this remarkable, and truly exceptional country. Well, we haven’t changed a bit in our long and patriotic lives. We will vote again for our President, with feeling and honor to bless him and our country with another four years of his leadership. There are NO DEMOCRATS who deserve public office, and we will prevail.

  13. amen to all seniors for witch i am 87 young
    and will vote for pres trump he might be loud but he is honest
    not like the puppet obama where the elections were rigged by george soros the jewish traitor
    who ever heard of the balots leaving the country to be counted by illegal
    rigged machine who were owned by george soros in a factory owened by george soros the jewish traitor
    amen
    a senior and a vet

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