In 2016, 27% of the electorate were 65 and older, and 53% voted for Trump. 29% of the electorate were between 50 and 64 and 51% went for Trump. Articles were written about how seniors were attracted to Trump.
“This year, retaining the support of seniors is obviously central to Trump’s reëlection chances. But a number of polls released this week show that he has slipped badly in this key demographic. According to a survey from the New York Times and Siena College, he is now running two points behind Joe Biden at the national level among voters aged sixty-five and over. In Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, he is trailing Biden by double digits.”
If retaining the support of seniors is key the Trump’s re-election, then he’s just made a wrong turn. “President Trump pledged on Saturday to pursue a permanent cut to the payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare if he wins reelection in November, a hard-to-accomplish political gambit that some experts see as a major headache for the future of the country’s entitlement programs.“
Even before that, “two-fifths of white voters aged 65 and over say they do not approve of the way Mr. Trump has been handling coronavirus and the George Floyd protests.” Becoming an attacker on entitlement programs so important to seniors won’t help.
In the key state of Florida, seniors and Latinos were already losing faith in Trump before he made this announcement.
“White House advisors on Sunday walked back President Trump’s statement that he would make “permanent cuts” to the payroll tax if reelected, insisting that the president would preserve the primary funding source for Social Security, an entitlement program with overwhelming bipartisan support.” This sudden turnaround may come too late; Democrats will remind seniors every day for the rest of the election campaign that a principal source of income for them would be in danger if they elected Trump to a second term.
“A Pew Research poll in March 2019 tracked overwhelming public support for maintaining present levels of funding to Social Security. 74% of U.S. adults polled said “no reductions should be made” in Social Security benefits for retirees, with the strongest support coming, unsurprisingly, from older voters. 81% of voters aged 50 to 64 and 79% of voters 65 or older said they would oppose cuts to benefits, as did 68% of Republican voters.”
The Trump campaign has tried to suggest that Joe Biden has a “terrible record” on Social Security. But are such accusations going to stick with Trump’s pledge to go against the program?
As Paul Begala wrote, “Is Donald Trump trying to lose this election? Seriously, is he self-destructing because somewhere, deep inside his tortured soul he knows he is an unworthy, incompetent, poseur?“Naaah. But his executive action suspending collection of payroll taxes hands the Democrats the kind of issue that can sink a candidacy. It is nothing less than a declaration of war on Social Security and Medicare.”