New York Sen. Charles Schumer is a desperate man.
Now that he’s taken over a group of skittish Senate Democrats, he and they are terrified about their prospects in the first mid-term election of the Trump era in 2018. Aside from having to defend 23 seats compared to only eight for the Republicans, 10 Senate Democrats are running in states carried by Donald Trump Nov. 8, five of which voted Trump in landslide proportions.
Schumer and the liberal echo chamber are already signaling their strategy for the 2018 races; a War on Seniors. It’s catchy. It’s also fake.
The centerpiece of Schumer’s attack is Medicare. While not necessarily the third rail of politics like Social Security, there are 55 million Americans who are enrolled in the health care program, devised more than a half-century ago. Nobody has really said much about Medicare thus far in light of the presidential election. Trump campaigned on a promise to preserve Medicare and House Republicans have floated the idea of giving seniors the option of receiving subsidies for their health care.
Trump also intends to nominate Dr. Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Price is an orthopedic surgeon and a member of Congress who has drafted a blueprint for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, part of which involves Medicare and finding ways to keep it solvent for future seniors.
Untroubled by facts, Schumer is alleging that Trump and congressional Republicans are going to privatize Medicare. Schumer pledges that Democrats, “are going to link arm-and-arm to protect Medicare for our seniors and ensure that Republicans don’t succeed in putting our seniors’ healthcare at risk.” Who knew Schumer was so noble?
It appears that seniors are hip once again in the Democrat playbook. After losing the 2016 campaign on a platform of warning minorities, immigrants, women and gays of all manner of danger, Democrats have shifted gears for 2018, warning against all manner of danger to seniors.
This is cheap theater by Schumer; a spoof of Democrat campaigns past that comes off more as parody than serious politics. Call it Fake News if you must call it anything. Flummoxed by the improbable ascendancy of Donald Trump and a resurgent GOP, the Democratic Party is grasping at straws while standing eyeball to eyeball with impending doom in the Senate.
As early as September, Democrats were bracing for a “disaster” in the 2018 Senate elections, rending their garments because some of their colleagues must confront reelection campaigns in North Dakota, West Virginia, Missouri, Montana and Indiana. Among these five states, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton with an average of 60.72 percent of the vote. The prospect of Senate Democrats losing in these states in an electoral tsunami, while defending seats in nearly a score of other states, raises the specter of Democrats remaining in the minority for the entirety of Trump’s first term in office.
Sen. Schumer and his fellow Democrats are banking on a strategy of scaring seniors as a means of hanging on to what they have in the Senate with dreams of capturing the majority two years later, when Trump (presumably) seeks reelection. While this plan might look good on paper, it fails to recognize that seniors are not so easily duped.
The ‘War on Seniors’ talking point is based on nothing more than what Democrats guess about what might happen, maybe, possibly, someday. This fact is not lost on seniors who are savvy enough to see through the rhetoric of Schumer and other Democrats. They are more interested in seeing the results of whatever President Trump, presumptive HHS Secretary Price and the House GOP put together as they dismantle ObamaCare.
This ‘Show Me’ attitude among seniors might be the Democrats’ worst nightmare. It undercuts the identity politics of victimhood that has been the core of liberal campaign philosophy for generations. Seniors, like other constituencies, aren’t buying the lip service of the left. Like their new president, they’re more interested in results.
James Martin is the founder and chairman of 60 Plus Association. Pat Boone is the group’s national spokesman.
The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.
This article originally appeared: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/310741-schumers-fake-war-on-seniors