"You're a senior. I'm a senior." Not exactly a policy, is it?

Donald Trump doesn’t relate well to people if they don’t look like him or if they don’t spend money the way he does.

In 2016, Donald Trump tweeted out a photo of him pretending to eat a taco bowl — from Trump Tower Grill, of all places — with the comment “I love Hispanics!” He evidently thought that would endear him to the Latino community. It didn’t. Right now, he’s losing among Latinos 62% to 26%, about as poorly as he did in 2016.

A few months ago, Donald Trump tweeted that the “suburban housewife” (in his own scare quotes) would vote for him. He said that if they didn’t, Senator Cory Booker would fill the suburbs with low-income housing.

Suburban women aren’t afraid of Senator Booker, and they aren’t afraid of minorities in their neighborhoods. About a third of these suburban dwellers are minorities themselves. Trump’s talking points about minorities are as dated as his pickup lines for “housewives”. And Trump is losing suburban women 62% to 34%. 

This race-baiting isn’t lost at all on the people of color that Trump would love to court but hates to govern. Joe Biden leads Trump among Black voters by 90% to 5%. Furthermore, minorities are hit the hardest by COVID-19. For example, Latinos are 2.8 times more likely than white, non-Hispanic people to get the virus, and they don’t generally go to the Trump Tower Grill.

You’d think that Trump would at least relate to people who are his own age. But Donald Trump is proving that he doesn’t relate well even in attributes he shares with other Americans. Learning that his support among older Americans was faltering, he decided to make a video directed toward seniors.

"I'm a senior, I know you don't know that,” Trump said. "Nobody knows that...but I'm a senior." 

When Trump says “Nobody knows that”, this usually signals that he’s just learned something new, like when he discovered that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. He decided to share this newfound Lincoln trivia, with the National Congressional Republican Committee March fundraising dinner. “Does anyone know? A lot of people don’t know that. We have to build that up a little more.” The National Congressional Republican Committee probably did know that.

“Great president”, he said, of Abraham Lincoln.

Upon his COVID-oozing return to the White House, his talking points for seniors began by stating that seniors are “his favorite people in the world.”

For a guy that asserts that seniors are his favorite, he doesn’t seem to care very much that they die at an alarming rate when they contract COVID-19. “It affects virtually nobody”, he asserts. 

“It affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems. If they have other problems, that’s what it really affects,” he said recently, and many other times.

Maybe his lack of concern is because he wants you to think that anyone who contracts COVID-19 can get the same care, and the same so-far-unapproved treatment that he got. Experts don’t agree how or even if the experimental cocktail used on Trump works.

Upon his return from Walter Reed Hospital, Trump said, "You're gonna get the same medicine. You're gonna get it free. No charge. And we're gonna get it for you soon."

None of these statements are true. And seniors would like our leaders to know something about them.

Seniors don’t want to get COVID-19 and be admitted to the hospital and they don’t want to suffer this disease at home and have lifelong complications.

While we’re on the subject, seniors don’t want to bury their parents and friends because of an avoidable pandemic. They don’t want to skip routine doctor visits and miss annual medical tests and preventive care. They don’t want to be afraid to see their children and grandchildren. They don’t want to cancel their travel, their movies, their dining with friends, and their sporting events. Seniors are very aware of lost time.

And for those seniors who still need or choose to work, they don’t want to go to a job where they might catch a disease that could kill them, or stay home and lose a job that was paying their rent.

Future candidates, take heed. Asking your constituents to “Die for the Dow” will not be a winning bumper sticker.

“The whole concept of death is terrible,” the president said in March 2020 when he advocated reopening the economy by Easter. “But there’s a tremendous difference between one percent and four or five.” One percent of the US population is more than 3 million people. No wonder he’s currently delighted that fewer than half a million of us are projected to die on his watch.

We all know that Trump talks, constantly. Even when he’s fatigued, he talks a lot. Rush Limbaugh had to shut him up after two hours of blather on the radio as if the US President was some long-winded cinematographer going over his allotted Academy Award time. What Trump doesn’t do is plan. Trump doesn’t do work. He just talks.

You know who plans a lot? Joe Biden. Check out his website, for example.

Joe Biden’s plan to help older Americans begins with the middle class. He doesn’t say, “I bet you didn’t know I am a senior”, because Joe Biden doesn’t think that governing is about him. He thinks it’s about us.

He says instead, “Working- and middle-class Americans built this country. And, they deserve to retire with dignity – able to pay for their prescriptions and with access to quality, affordable long-term care.”

His plan for older Americans begins with the following goals: 

  1. Stand up to the abuse of power by prescription drug corporations
  2. Protect and strengthen Medicare as we know it and ensure quality, affordable health care for all older Americans
  3. Preserve and strengthen Social Security
  4. Equalize saving incentives for middle-class workers
  5. Provide help for older workers who want to keep working

Joe Biden understands how COVID-19 has affected older Americans. He also has seen the effects of the Trump Administration’s failure to act and its failure to follow the science. 

Here’s what Joe Biden said on Twitter on October 25, 2019, just about a year ago and months before the pandemic arrived in the US: 

We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.Prescient.

Here’s what Joe Biden said on Twitter on February 1, 2020: 

We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.Presidential.

Joe Biden’s plans — just for dealing with COVID-19 — includes “evidence-based guidance”, a “National Pandemic Dashboard” to help Americans know the risks in their own neighborhoods, testing capacity (a fatal flaw, literally, in Trump’s failed approach), and boosts in Social Security and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).There’s a plan to keep nursing homes and long-term care facilities safe for those most at risk.

The list of Joe Biden plans starkly illuminates all the things we could have done if the pandemic was approached from scholarship instead of self-interest. Instead, worried about his electability and his stock portfolio, Donald Trump let people die. “It is what it is,” Trump said, without any remorse.

As for the Biden plans that aren’t COVID-related, they’re described in-depth on his website

Stand up to the abuse of power by prescription drug corporations

For prescription drugs, he’d ensure that price negotiations include Medicare and its bargaining power. He’d limit monopolistic pricing for new drugs and price increases for existing drugs to the general inflation rate. He’d allow consumers to import drugs from other countries, and he’d limit tax breaks for drug advertising and improve the supply of quality generics.

Protect and strengthen Medicare as we know it and ensure quality, affordable health care for all older Americans

For healthcare, he’s committed to protecting the Obama-Biden achievement, the Affordable Care Act, under relentless Republican attack, which harms older Americans who are not old enough to qualify for Medicare. Strengthening the ACA will also provide seniors with the assurance that their children and grandchildren will have unconditional and affordable healthcare. He’d maintain Medicare’s separation from other programs to protect its funding. He’d provide tax relief for long-term care and provide assistance for caregivers.

Preserve and strengthen Social Security

Joe Biden’s plan will protect Social Security. When Donald Trump teases a payroll tax holiday, and promises to cut these taxes permanently if reelected, he’s cutting the funding mechanism for Social Security and Medicare. Joe Biden’s plan puts Social Security on a much-needed path to long-term solvency, will shut down Republican efforts to privatize it, and will provide protections for the oldest Americans.

Equalize saving incentives for middle-class workers

Middle-class workers today will have new tax benefits to promote retirement savings. Caregivers who don’t receive wages for their work will qualify for the tax breaks available to paid workers, and small businesses will be encouraged through tax breaks to help workers save for retirement.

Provide help for older workers who want to keep working

For older Americans who are still working, the Biden plan will protect these employees from age discrimination, experienced by more than half of older workers. Furthermore, he will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that helps low-wage workers so that it will be available to workers over 65.

It’s our choice. Seniors vote at a higher rate than all other age groups. Seniors have quite a lot to gain and quite a lot to lose, because government policies — whether it’s Social Security and Medicare, pharmaceuticals, or the quality of healthcare — depend on our votes. And the success of these programs will depend on planning. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a solution. The year 2020 will serve as a reminder of that forever.

But 2021 could be the beginning of our recovery — our return to health, the revival of our economy, and our path to unity. It’s a cliché to claim that seniors hold wisdom, but there’s no doubt that seniors hold power. It’s time for seniors to wield their power. Vote early and wisely. Vote for Joe Biden and his plan to rebuild our country. It will be nice to have a family celebration again.