Senior voters could hold the key to Democratic success in the 2018 midterm elections.
The party has experienced an exodus of older Americans over the past few midterms. The past three midterm cycles — 2006, 2010 and 2014 — saw the party’s share of age 65-and-over voters fall by 17 percentage points.
Amid that slide, Democrats lost majorities in both the House and Senate.
But while President Trump won over 52 percent of seniors in November, Democrats are hoping that Trump and congressional Republicans are providing the party with openings around issues such as healthcare and his budget proposal that can be used to win older voters back.
Republican strategists blamed the exodus in part on shifts in Democratic priorities towards wooing younger voters and away from traditional values. They also cite voters’ perceptions that Republicans are better on economic issues.
“With the Democratic Party’s focus on open borders, what could be called excessive entitlements and identity politics, today’s Democratic Party is simply not speaking the same language,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell.
O’Connell added that Trump’s promise not to touch Social Security or Medicare, two programs dear to seniors, will help keep older Americans from abandoning Republicans.