While voters age 65 and older helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016, they now are abandoning him in droves. Could the reason be that his pandemic is killing them?
It is well known that older voters are the most vulnerable to the ravishes of Covid-19 and the numbers demonstrate that cold, hard fact. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the 203,043 deaths involving Covid-19 as of October 13, 160,080 were patients 65 or older.
And while this pandemic is wreaking havoc among elderly Americans, many of whom already were vulnerable and frail, Donald Trump continues to wish the virus away as he intensifies his attacks on science and on the one person who is revered by many seniors for his wisdom and expertise, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of CDC's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
With more than 220,000 Americans now dead and millions in desperate economic straights, Trump has attacked his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, for listening to Fauci's advice.
“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Trump said at a campaign staff meeting. “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb. But there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. But Fauci’s a disaster.”
"He wants to listen to Dr. Fauci," Trump said of Biden at a rally in Phoenix, AZ Monday, "Biden wants to lock it down."
That comment followed a rally in Carson City, NV on Sunday, when Trump ridiculed Biden, saying "he'll listen to the scientists. If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression."
Perhaps, Mr. President, if you had listened to the scientists the death toll would not be nearly so high, the impact on the economy would have been much less severe, and thousands of families would not have lost their grandparents and great grandparents, as well as other family members.
Vox pointed out that Trump may have a hard time rallying more supporters by vilifying the 79-year-old public health expert.
A Morning Consult poll conducted October 9-11 among1,986 registered voters shows that “nearly 2 in 3 voters rate Dr. Fauci’s coronavirus response as excellent or good.” Trump, meanwhile, has “never topped the 42 percent of voters” who gave him a “good or excellent” rating in late April. In early October, a poll indicated that 58 percent of voters believe Trump’s handling of the virus has been “poor” or “just fair.” Later polls continue to show similar results.
Vox also noted that another poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted August 28 to September 3 among 1,199 American adults showed 68 percent of voters have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in Dr. Fauci to “provide reliable information on coronavirus.” Only 40 percent said the same of Trump.
So, it's no wonder that while CNN exit polls showed that Trump won voters at least 65 years old by 52 to 45 percent over Hillary Clinton, Biden now leads Trump by 8 points -- 52 to 44 percent, according to the Morning Consult Political Intelligence tracking poll previously mentioned.
Another set of polls from from Quinnipiac University released Oct. 7 found that Biden led Trump among older voters by 15 points in Florida, 19 points in Pennsylvania and 25 points in Iowa.
USA Today quoted Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Mallow as saying the shift in support represents "a big red flag for the president. You might draw the conclusion that they’re disenchanted with the handling of the coronavirus by the president, as are the majority of Americans."
Biden, of course, has pounced on the opportunity to strengthen his support among seniors. In a visit to southern Florida, he accused Trump of reckless behavior in shirking the wearing of masks and social distancing, and for revving up tightly packed crowds at rallies even as he had just recovered from Covid-19.
"His reckless personal conduct since his diagnosis is unconscionable," Biden told older voters in Pembroke Pines.
“Trump’s closing message in the final days of the 2020 race is to publicly mock Joe Biden for trusting science and to call Dr. Fauci, the leading public health official on COVID-19, a ‘disaster’ and other public health officials ‘idiots,’” the Biden campaign said.
Mr. Trump, seniors are not stupid. They can distinguish between political BS and sound advice. And they understand that your mishandling of this disaster is putting their health at serious risk. They realize that how they vote is literally a matter of life and death, as that has been proven now more than 220,000 times.