US Elections: Diminishing seniors’ support could mean trouble for Trump in Florida

4 weeks ago 14

They say a Republican has never won an election without the support of the seniors. In Florida, which is a swing state and crucial this election, it seems like there has been a major shift in the voting preference of the senior citizens.

The issues that have really concerned the senior citizens are not just issues of social security and pension schemes but also matters that the youth have been talking about like climate change, environment, racism, polarisation, among others.

Recent polls suggest that some retirees are shifting from having supported Republicans to voting for Joe Biden this year. But, would they matter in the larger picture of senior vote banks in the country since they are rare in Florida’s Republican heartland?

Speaking to India Today from Florida, there was an overwhelming feeling that many seniors are unhappy with Trump’s policies and would be voting the Democrat candidate instead. The handling of Covid has also been a concern which is why many opted for mail-in voting.

Dave Jacobsen, a senior said, “I have been told that Trump’s support among seniors has dipped about 17 points and retirees are about one-third of Florida’s voters and two-third of us are voting by mail.”

“Our priority is to keep our people safe. Our people are more susceptible to Covid-19, weakened immune system. We are mobilising them to vote early and vote safe,” said Bill Sauers from Florida Alliance for retired Americans

Donald Singer, a retried American said, “There have been many elections when I have voted for Republicans on the state or the county level because they're much closer to the people. There was a time in our country where you had someone called a liberal or a moderate Republican. For example, we came from New York and there was a Jacob Javits who was a senator who understood that working together with both sides, Democrats and Republican, whether it's on the city on the state or the national level, works.”

“Joe Biden worked with Republicans in passing legislations. That's what this country needs. But, under Mr Trump, no Republican has ever said anything that would be close to what we believe in as union people, as working people, as family people,” he added.

Florida is a state of the unknown where each vote would count. The seniors’ votes certainly are something the Trump campaign banks on. Any shift could change the fate for the incumbent in this state.

An observant senior citizen Ray Davis said that Trump canvasses “fear” as opposed to Biden’s campaign of “hope”. He certainly was not falling for any “dooms day” theory.

“I think the Republicans have always been had an excellent messaging program, but not governing at all. I don't think the Democrats always message our issues as good. The Republicans always campaign on fear. Fear of your guns being taken away, fear of socialism. They're playing the socialism card this year against Joe Biden who's been in government for 47 years and probably I don't think anybody that looked at Joe Biden will think he was anywhere near being a socialist.

“But, nt contrasts the democratic party campaigns on hope. Hope for a better way of life and hope for health care. When they have the votes, they they take care of these issues,” he added.

Another controversial issue has President Donald Trump’s payroll tax deferral, which could impact social security and its ability to pay retirement, disability, survivor and other benefits into the future.

“The announcement that Trump is going to cut the payroll tax is a worry. It funds, social security funds. All the more, millions in America will lose their social security cheque by 2023 and we support Joe Biden because he will not only protect but expand social security as well as Medicare,” said Dave.

The margin of votes would matter when the seniors vote. One of the issues that was brought up was the issue of climate change.

“The fact that we were pulled out of the Paris agreement concerned a lot of us who care about the environment and compare that the earth is our only home and we have no alternative but to care for it,” said Lorraine Truliano, a retired American.

What was interesting was that many said that “character” mattered to them.

To a question on how important it was that the leadership show character, Bill Sauers said, “Absolutely. We feel that the rest of the American empire has a chance of coming to an end and we will lose our position in the world which is not good news for a lot of smaller countries who will be taking advantage of in the future because America is not there.”

“America is split up three ways. Democrats. Republicans and independents equally. And for Republicans and independents, I think character and decency and Trump's personality is the number one issue for those that are voting for Biden. They put aside issues such as guns, social security and health care. For those that are switching sides, it's all about Trump's character and his conduct,” added another senior Jim Gibbs.

Florida is a one percent state. Whoever has won the state has won by a margin close to a percent. That is a quirk. But one that could win either Trump or Biden 29 electoral votes.

Also read: Will Indian Americans vote for Trump? | India Today Insight

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