On Wednesday at a campaign event in South Carolina, Donald Trump claimed that House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has long supported entitlement reforms, wrecked the Republican Party’s chances at the White House in 2012 because he supposedly alienated older voters.
There’s only one problem with Trump’s claim: it’s completely wrong.
“That was the end of that campaign, when they chose Ryan,” Trump said. “That was the end of the campaign. I said, ‘You gotta be kidding.’”
Trump specifically claimed that Ryan’s desire to cut Medicare is what caused support among older voters for the Romney-Ryan ticket to tank.
“The only one that’s not cutting [entitlement programs] is me,” he said.
Since Mike Huckabee dropped out of the race, Trump is the only Republican candidate who has promised that he won’t cut entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, even though just these two programs have Americans in the hole by some $73 trillion already, meaning working taxpayers will soon have to pay the tab for retirees while receiving few or no benefits themselves. Or America could default on its debts and liabilities, sending the world economy into a tailspin.
When you crunch the numbers, Trump’s claims about 2012 don’t pan out. In fact, Romney and Ryan garnered the highest amount of support from older voters than any other Republican candidate in a presidential election since Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory in 1984.
Among those who were 65 or older in 2012, 56 percent voted for Romeny/Ryan in 2012, while only 44 percent voted for Obama/Biden. The 12-point spread in 2012 was 4 points higher than how the GOP fared in 2008 and even 7 points higher than in 2004, when a Republican sitting president ran for reelection.
Before Bush’s reelection in 2004, the Republicans lost the elderly vote to Democrats every election going back to 1988, when George H.W. Bush garnered a 2 percent lead among that age demographic.
If anything, it would have been more accurate for Trump to say that Ryan, along with his running mate, garnered the strongest support among older voters in over 20 years.