Home/Daniel Larison/The Republican Strategy to Win Older Voters Is Just Like the One They Used in 2010

The Republican Strategy to Win Older Voters Is Just Like the One They Used in 2010

Scott Galupo’s anecdotal evidence concerning retirees’ reactions to Republican Medicare reform seems right:

They’re well aware of what Romney and Ryan are proposing — and, more important, they’re aware that it won’t affect them.

Scott says that the “brilliant cynicism of the Romney-Ryan Mediscare strategy is the bargain it strikes with the affluent white 55-and-over demographic,” but this is not really any different from what the GOP did ahead of the 2010 midterms. Elderly voters stampeded to the GOP in 2010, and this was an important reason why. Between 2006 and 2010, there was a huge shift among voters 65 and over, and a large part of this shift came about because of Republicans’ posing as the saviors of Medicare. This was what I said about a Pew survey back in 2010:

If you dig into the full report, you will see that the recent Republican resurgence owes almost everything to the dramatic shift among members of the so-called “Silent Generation,” whose voting preferences on the generic ballot have gone from being 49-41 Democrat in 2006 to 48-39 Republican for 2010.

As it turned out, this understated how many elderly voters were moving into the Republican camp. 59% of this cohort supported Republican House candidates in the midterms. This is the result that Romney and Ryan would like to reproduce this year. What has changed is that Ryan has gone from being a bit player in the campaign to demagogue changes to Medicare in the ACA to being one of the lead demagogues. Most elderly voters don’t need to be convinced that the GOP is the party of the Medicare status quo for them. They already believe it to be true.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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