• Trump carried the senior vote in 2016 but recent polls indicate his support in that voting  block has slipped
  • Seniors are upset over his handling of the coronavirus and overall behavior
  • Seniors have been shifting away from Republicans in general, indicating they think the nation is headed in the wrong direction

President Donald Trump has been trying to paint Democratic challenger Joe Biden as old and senile even though he’s just Biden’s junior by three years. In the latest instance, he shared a photoshopped picture of Biden in a wheelchair as the two battle for the senior vote – the largest voting block in any election.

Trump repeatedly has questioned Biden’s mental and physical fitness, labeling him as “Sleepy Joe” and accusing him of having dementia. It was Trump, however, who was sickened by COVID-19, had trouble walking down a ramp and has behaved erratically. He also has mocked people with disabilities.

Trump had 52% of the silver-haired vote in 2016 but recent polls indicate that is unlikely to occur again. Older voters are upset with Trump’s attitude toward the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 216,000 Americans since March, some 80% of them 65 and older, and the general chaos he has brought to the White House and Washington since taking office.

“They don’t like his tone, and I think the debate did a little bit of damage,” University of Florida Professor Emerita Susan MacManus told the Washington Post, referring to the Sept. 29 presidential debate during which Trump kept interrupting both Biden and moderator Chris Wallace.

In a campaign appearance in Florida Tuesday, Biden argued Trump has neglected seniors, whose ranks are growing by 10,000 a day.

“You’re expendable. You’re forgettable. You’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors,” Biden said in a speech at a seniors community center in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

“The only senior that Donald Trump cares about — the only senior — is the senior Donald Trump.”

An AARP survey last month indicated Biden is leading Trump among Florida residents 50 and older 50% to 47% while among those 65 and older, though the margin is narrower, Biden leading 49% to 48%.

Though the majority of older voters haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 2000 and people tend to get more conservative as they get older, Trump is not the typical conservative candidate.

Most retired Americans rely on Social Security and Medicare, and Trump has threatened both. Though the 2017 tax reform law eliminated the doughnut hole in Medicare prescription coverage, it vastly increased copayments and raised the ceiling on catastrophic coverage, increasing bills for some seniors by thousands of dollars annually.

Republican strategist and commentator Evan Siegfried wrote in an NBC analysis the shift among seniors actually began long before the pandemic because they perceive the country moving in the wrong direction. He also noted Trump has done virtually nothing to expand his base in the last four years.

Trump launched a multimillion-dollar ad campaign aimed at seniors this week, one defending his handling of the pandemic, which misquotes Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, to make it appear he backs the president, and two others that attack Biden’s handling of various issues, including Social Security and Medicare.