We spoke to older voters about Trump and Biden's age. We saw 3 recurring themes

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Left-to-right: Rosalie Babyak, 86, David Reckless 88, John Fuller 81, at the Passavant Community Abundant Life Center, Zelienople in September.

Nate Smallwood, NPR


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Nate Smallwood, NPR

Left to right:


Rosalie Babyak, 86, David Reckless 88, and John Fuller 81, at the Passavant Community Abundant Life Center, Zelienople in September.

Nate Smallwood, NPR

“Energy. “I used to be the energy bunny,” said the 88-year old, as he looked down at a model railroad set in Zelienople Pennsylvania. Not so much anymore. “More napping in my day.” This kind of thing. According to almost every poll of the Republican primary field, his most likely opponent would be former president Donald Trump, who is 77.

If you measure both men’s age from the day they first took office, that means Americans will likely choose between the country’s oldest-ever president and its second-oldest. Reckless stated that he believes neither man should run. Reckless said that he believes neither man should be running. “

David Reckless plays with model trains.

Nate Smallwood, NPR

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Nate Smallwood, NPR

Politics is not usually discussed at Reckless model train club meetings in Lutheran Senior Life Passavant Community. But poll after poll after poll shows that for all the other issues in next year’s election, including Trump’s multiple felony criminal charges, the candidate’s ages – and Biden’s in particular – are top of mind for many voters.

Biden’s doctor has repeatedly given him a clean bill of health, but his occasional stumbles, like a tumble this spring during an Air Force Academy graduation, have made headlines.And polls have repeatedly shown that they’ve left an impression. A majority of voters in recent surveys conducted by major media outlets have expressed concern about Biden’s abilities to serve a second term. NPR interviewed over a dozen seniors. Not just any seniors, but seniors who live in western Pennsylvania and vote there, a region of strategic and symbolic significance to both Biden’s and Trump’s campaigns.

Nettie Henning of Pittsburgh, a 70-year-old Democrat, said she would prefer a candidate younger than Biden but that the party had not prepared a viable alternative. “

represents our best opportunity to save democracy at this time.”

Nate Smallwood, NPR

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Nate Smallwood, NPR

The conversations I had with people of different political backgrounds confirmed that the general trend of the polls was that most voters wanted both Biden and Trump to step aside in favor of a younger generation. There were few, if any people, who expressed excitement at the prospect of another brutal campaign in 2020. But they also revealed a lot more nuance. Many seniors believed that younger people do not fully understand or appreciate the aging process. Many thought Biden’s verbal and physical stumbles were overblown. However, most of the seniors said that they did not have enough energy to become president. The interviews revealed three themes that older voters have in common when it comes to next year’s elections.

1. Voters compared the health of candidates to their own.

The seniors who attend Stella Hopewell’s line-dancing class at the Vintage Center For Active Adults in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighbourhood are all regulars. Hopewell says they have outlasted high-school students when they held joint events in the past. She said, “We dance these young people to the ground” at the end a two-hour lesson. Cathie Huber is a regular. She said, “The discipline both mental and physically, it’s fabulous.” “Absolutely fabulous. “[Biden]Huber has the same age of Biden, 80. “I still feel as sharp at 80 as I did when I was younger. “I have physical limitations, but this has nothing to do my mental abilities. “
Cathie Huber performing a line dance at Vintage Senior Services, September.

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She supports Biden and will vote for him in the next election. She believes that his age has been overblown. Huber stated, “I don’t think another term will hurt him at all.” Many of the women on the floor have reached the age of 80, but we still keep going. “This keeps us young.” Len Zapler is Huber’s line dancing partner. He sees the world differently. The 85-year old said, “My main worry is that I am losing it.” “I think he is on the brink of losing his mind. So, I would not want him to be in charge. “

Zapler is active in line dancing, yoga, and other physical activities, but his memory and reaction time have slowed down over the years. He has been disturbed by the way some media outlets have covered Biden’s speeches, especially his stumbles. Zapler adds an interesting twist to Biden’s usual quip that voters should evaluate him by “the alternative and not the Almighty.” “I didn’t even vote for Kennedy,” he joked. Zapler voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020. He said that he could not do it in 2024. “I think he has really gone off track,” he said. “I would be hard-pressed to vote but if I did, I think I would vote for Biden. But I do hope that he will have a capable and steadfast vice president. “That’s what I hope for.”

2. Voters’ perceptions on age differed by partisanship

Most Democratic senior citizens NPR spoke with weren’t particularly concerned about Biden’s health. Preston Shimer, aged 84, from Mt. Lebanon. “He still has to deal with his stuttering issue, which affects his verbal presentations. He’s been doing it his whole life. Shimer gave more importance to Biden’s career and achievements than his age-related changes in gait. He said, “I don’t care about his score on the golf course.” “You are basically electing a group and I believe that Biden’s team is far superior. “

Preston Shimer is 84.

Nate Smallwood, NPR

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When Rosalie Bablak (86), a Republican living in Passavant Community and a resident of the Passavant Community in New York, looked at the same evidence she was concerned: “We’ve got someone in the Oval Office that’s going touch the button to start a nuclear war. I’d like someone with a faster mind. “
Bablak claimed that younger people are more afraid of aging than should be. She said, “The passage is good. It’s good to be old.” We have fun.” She said that she wished we had more younger candidates.

3. Many older voters feel it’s time for a new generation of politicians

Susan Hughes, 77, of Mt. Lebanon cannot understand why politicians continue to serve well into their 80s. “I think I’m pretty capable,” she said. “I wonder why they would not want to retire. “

In September, seniors at Vintage Senior Services play pool in East Liberty, Pittsburgh.

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Nate Smallwood, NPR

Hughes is a Republican and said she favored the policies of the last administration — “the Trump-

Pence

administration,” she emphasizes — but she was bothered by Trump’s character. She said that she voted for Biden in 2020. She voted for Biden to be the 2020 presidential candidate. Hughes questioned why a politician would want to stay in office. Hughes questioned the motive for staying in office.

Hughes was not the only voter to fear a Trump-Biden rematch. John Fuller, 71 of Marshall Township and a registered Democrat, described himself as an Independent voter. He supported Biden, but is not sure which candidate he would choose this time. He said that there was “always consternation and challenge” in Trump’s administration. “And he appeared on the news everyday.” Ahmad Zaghab (71), an independent voter at Passavant Community’s Abundant Life Center, said: “It’s bad for the country.” “

Sally Thomas instructs Ahmad Zaghab during an aquafitness class at Passavant Community Abundant Life Center, Zelienople.

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