A New President: What This Means for Seniors
Posted on November 15, 2016
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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 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
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