Friday, May 15, 2020

"Can We Survive Four More Years?"

If you'd asked me a month ago where Democrats were better positioned, Florida or North Carolina, I'd have taken the unconventional bet and said North Carolina. The Tarheel State is growing in exactly the way that Democrats are poised to exploit in the new south -- suburban, well-educated -- and Democrats did well there in 2018. By contrast, Florida still is anchored by its aging retiree population -- Trump's prime demographic -- and it was the state which most resisted the blue tide in the last midterm.

Today, a new poll dropped in each state, putting Biden up six in Florida and Trump up three in North Carolina. It's easy to cherry-pick polls, but it's also the case that the coronavirus response may be seriously eroding Trump's support among seniors. The conventional wisdom is that Democrats win by goosing youth and young professional turnout, and there's a lot to be said for that strategy. But if Democrats can crack the senior vote, especially given their high turnout figures? It might be game over for Trump. It's hard to see much of a electoral college route for him without Florida.

The frankly death-cultist response of Trump and the GOP response to the coronavirus provides a huge opening. Obviously, Democrats are already running ads on this. But I think they've got ammo they're not using. Of course there's the clip of Trump calling the virus a "hoax" -- use that, and plenty of other Trump quotes to go along with it. Place alongside the "sacrifice the weak" poster. Place it alongside Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick urging seniors to "take a chance on your survival." Place it alongside Ben Shapiro saying, hey, 80 years old is pretty good life lived already, right? Build a crushing, suffocating narrative that's nothing more than the truth: Donald Trump and the Republican Party are willing to let seniors die.

The ammo is there to make that the story. And with it, the key question that should frame the 2020 election -- for all of us, but especially America's seniors must be asking -- is straightforward: "Can we survive four more years?"

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