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A New President: What This Means for Seniors

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The 2016 election was like no other. The whole nation was on the edge of their seat. Two main questions were constant throughout the night: Will we have the first female president? Will there be a nationalist revolution? Everybody was anxious for the final vote.

Everyone knew by Tuesday night that Donald Trump won the election. Even within our divided nation, this surprised everyone. Media outlets consider his victory to be an “upset.” Analysts expected a close race, but no one believed a Trump presidency would really happen.  

His victory wasn’t a fluke. Exit polls showed that older Americans were a crucial component to Trump's victory. Compared to 2012, the senior voter turnout increased by a groundbreaking 6%. It’s clear that they were the “silent majority” that helped Trump win the election.

ELECTION HIGHLIGHTS

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Older voters did more than just vote for Trump. Their voice shaped the leadership in our federal government. Higher senior turnout rate gave new insights on election analysis. Here are three highlights from the 2016 election.

The Battleground Switch

“Battleground states,” where people anticipated close races, were the focus of election night. Their high amount of electoral votes meant that they could sway the outcome of the election.

In 2012, battleground states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida helped Obama win his re-election. In contrast, Hillary Clinton lost those same states to Trump by a small margin. These states saw a rise of older, white voters coming through to vote for Trump. Because of the rise in senior votes, Trump won over states that previously voted Democratic. 

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Red Capitol Hill

The Republican Party won not only the presidency, but both Senate and House. 

After nearly a decade, a major political party now controls all of Capitol Hill. Exit polls showed that 53% of seniors supported Republicans for Congress. However, the Republican takeover doesn't mean a “united” government.  Throughout his campaign, Trump refused to align himself completely with the Republican party. He built a strong support base by establishing himself as a political outsider. It’s hard to predict how he will work with Republicans.

Urban-Rural Divide

Exit polls revealed that the two candidates represented an alarming cultural divide. Clinton won large, urban areas. Meanwhile, Trump won rural communities. 

No previous election has seen such a huge urban-rural split. One explanation could be the difference in demographics. In rural areas, there is a higher percentage of seniors without a college degree. These working-class seniors felt the government neglected their issues. They decided to put their trust in Trump and hoped for change. This was a wake-up call for both Republicans and Democrats. Both parties learned that they need to pay more attention to working-class seniors.

WHAT TRUMP WILL DO FOR SENIORS

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Trump has less than two months before he takes office. People describe Trump's platform as everything from revolutionary to controversial. Regardless, Trump won the senior vote through the expectation that he will serve seniors best. Here’s a breakdown of what Trump promises to do for seniors according to his policies:  

Restructure Medicare

Medicare is a top priority for seniors. Republicans and Democrats promised not to shrink the Medicare budget. Instead, Trump and the Republicans plan to give the states more power over Medicare.

Under Trump’s administration, states will be able to offer their own version of Medicare. This means eligibility, benefits, and structure could change state to state. Meanwhile, the federal government will put a cap on financial assistance to each state. By giving states more flexibility, Medicare will be more affordable for seniors.

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Downsize the Affordable Care Act

Trump and the Republican Party have no plans to improve the Affordable Care Act. They want to decrease its budget. Trump will encourage states to opt out of the program. To Trump, health insurance companies should be able to sell across state borders. 

However, Trump and the Republicans won’t completely repeal the Affordable Care Act. The act covers over 20 million Americans; they don’t want to leave these individuals without insurance. Trump will still allow people under 26 to remain under their parents’ plan and require employers to support employees with pre-existing conditions. Regardless, the new policies could cause some seniors to lose their health insurance.

Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Prescription drug prices are an important issue to seniors. Many rely on prescription drugs for health purposes, and the cost of these necessary prescriptions continue to rise.

Trump and the Republican Party have different plans to lower the cost of prescriptions. Trump wants Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices whereas Republicans would rather increase the speed of drug approval. The Republican Party believes it would be more expensive to seniors if Medicare determined drug prices.

THE NEW PRESIDENT

No matter what his critics say, Trump proves that life can begin at any age. As a senior, he was already a successful real estate tycoon and television personality. He could have retired in peace, but

No matter what his critics say, Trump proves that life can begin at any age. As a senior, he was already a successful real estate tycoon and television personality. He could have retired in peace, but chose to run for President instead. Despite being 70 years old, he proved to be an unstoppable force in the election. Maybe that’s why senior Americans resonated so strongly with Trump in 2016.

Whatever happens in the next four years, we must be ready. Seniors have proven that when united, people can make a difference. The seniors’ high, unified turnout rate for Trump shows just how powerful a group can be. Now it’s up to the rest of us to create a better country with our future president. 

Comments

12:49 PM on November 16, 2016 Kevin Le
i'm not sure how i feel about the election results but this is bound to be an interesting presidency
11:54 AM on November 17, 2016 Sandra Hanks
I don't care who's the president just let me live in peace
11:21 AM on February 27, 2017 Frances Davis
I am a senior who voted for Trump and supported him from the very beginning like a lot of seniors. Since he has become president he has forgotten the seniors who helped him win the election.
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