It is with equal glee and shock that I write this: A Republican presidential nominee is underwater with the senior citizen vote. And that is being kind. Donald Trump trails seniors nationally by 20 points! No Republican candidate has failed to capture this most vital voting block in my lifetime; not even Gerald Ford, mere months after he pardoned the criminal Richard Nixon. And when I write the word “vital” it should really appear as VITAL. No group at any point since I have been on this spinning sphere votes more consistently or enthusiastically than people over the age of 65. This is why the concerns of younger people are mostly ignored; they don’t vote. Seniors vote. And vote. And vote some more. This is why socialist constructs like Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are non-starters for the otherwise staunchly conservative types when campaigning. They’re all in, because seniors are all in. Seniors teach us the primacy of voting. Heed it. Because without seniors the Republican Party is going the way of the Whigs. And let me repeat for effect: Trump is losing that voting block by 20 points. That is two-oh. Losing it.
Who would have thought that during a deadly pandemic, which has run amok due to his administration’s criminal failures, a president could try and downplay the thing by repeatedly stating in one way or the other, “Only older people die, so it’s not that bad” and hemorrhage the support of said group? And because the president is a political genius, his campaign released a photo tweet just a few days ago superimposing the head of its opponent, the 77 year-old former Vice Presidents Joe Biden, onto a senior in a wheelchair next to other seniors with the caption “Biden for Resident” – cleverly crossing out the “P” to connote that he is resigned to rotting away in obscurity with the rest of those pictured there.
Makes you wonder if calling a man who is only three years older than him, “sleepy” or “slow” and challenging his mental acuity could be a bonanza to those who share Trump’s generation. And when the last remaining functional people around this doomed campaign decided to curtail the badness they spruced the president up and shoved him onto the White House lawn where he subsequently appeared as if his mental acuity needs to be questioned. This is the exact quote; enjoy: “We’re taking care of our seniors. You’re not vulnerable, but they like to say you’re vulnerable, but you’re the least vulnerable, but for this one thing… you are vulnerable. And so am I.”
To be fair, the president, who claims to never take anything harder than aspirin, was jacked on so many drugs it’s amazing he was able to pronounce “vulnerable”. I mean, let’s face it, he’s a senior and has COVID-19, and access to the $100,000 of steroid cocktails, which he claims in that rambling mess will be available to the rest of his fellow seniors. Sure, right after the forthcoming Mexican funds to build his fantasy wall.
All jocularity aside, make no mistake, seniors are the last frontier for Republicans. Never mind Trump, who is an insane mistake that will soon be wiped away like Joseph McCarthy or some silly pop song that we’re forced to endure for months on end. His whole deal was a fluke and it will be over very soon. But what about the Grand Old Party (the operative word there is “old”) without the senior vote? Maybe some of them will come back. Maybe not. How is this lawsuit hitting the Supreme Court going to go a week or so after the election after the mandate has been stripped, giving no more cover for “the right for Congress to tax” Chief Justice John Roberts used twice to save the Affordable Care Act, making it go bye-bye? And think about the thousands of seniors Trump has slagged off as an annoying outlier to the inconvenient virus story he keeps trying to duck by saying “no one should be afraid” and things are “turning the corner”. Are they coming back to the Republican Party?
Because if not, then the jig is up, folks. This is the Fox News audience. Who’s going to keep Sean Hannity in speedballs or provide dead-eyed blonde female anchors a place to mispronounce hydroxychloroquine? Who will gorge on the hate and fear propaganda now?
And to make matters worse, this is a rapidly late-shifting electorate; always a bad sign in October for any campaign. These voters hung on through all the pussy grabbing and porn-star payoffs, impeachment, kids in cages at the border, faking hurricane directions, mocking the military fallen and holding Bibles upside down after gassing peaceful protestors. In the past two weeks, as Trump started his super-spreader events and infected half the White House, his family, and almost killing Chris Christie, his national polling deficit went from about 7.5 percent to nearly 11. A double-digit lead means we are headed for a beatdown of epic proportions. The idea that in 2016 Trump came from 3.5 down to shock the world is not available this time, and it sure as hell isn’t available without people of over 65.
The states that made Donald Trump president by 77,000 votes in 2016, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, all show the senior vote flipping from a previous seven-point GOP lead to double-digit negatives. Never mind Florida and Arizona, the cradle of retirees. Trump is already coughing up the Rust Belt, even his internal polling is telling him that, which is why he is trolling the last vestiges of his MAGA zealots in the heretofore comfortable Republican strongholds of North Carolina, Georgia and Texas. And if this is the case, then this is no longer a Trump problem, but a Republican Party problem, which is looking down the barrel of a new generation demographics in 2024 that are far to the left of Joe Biden or Kamala Harris or even their former bullhorn Bernie Sanders. That tide is coming and coming fast.
Turns out stupidity and the fear of death are powerful shifters of the political wind. You know how they say there are no atheists in foxholes? Well, it appears there are far fewer conservatives in a pandemic.