In this Crucial Battleground State, Older Voters are Split on Whether Biden and Trump are Too Old for the Presidency

Credits: CNN

Darrell Ann Murphy, an 83-year-old Mahjong teacher in Easton, Pennsylvania, uses her classes to foster a love for the game and keep fellow seniors mentally sharp.

However, she establishes a rule at the beginning of each class: no discussion of religion or politics. Despite this, Murphy is open about her political affiliations, identifying as a lifelong Democrat, a moderate, a supporter of abortion rights, and a vocal critic of Donald Trump.

Easton, located in Northampton County, is a deep blue city in a pivotal battleground state, historically known for close races and a tendency to pick presidential winners. Trump narrowly won Northampton in 2016, contributing significantly to his Electoral College victory, while Joe Biden flipped the county in 2020.

Trump and Biden (Credits: CNN)

As part of a CNN project tracking the 2024 campaign through voters’ perspectives in key states or demographic groups, a visit to Easton explores the sentiments of older voters, a reliable and influential voting group. This demographic, especially in battleground states like Pennsylvania, can be crucial in determining election outcomes.

A Mahjong game at Murphy’s home reflects the diversity of opinions among aging voters, particularly regarding the age of presidential candidates in the 2024 election.

While some support the idea of an age limit for presidential candidates, others dismiss it as irrelevant. The conversation highlights the challenges of discussing politics in today’s climate, where strong feelings can strain relationships.

A 71-year-old geology professor, Larry Malinconico, supports Biden but acknowledges concerns about age affecting voter perception. He believes physical frailty is wrongly equated with a lack of mental acuity and emphasizes the importance of focusing on accomplishments rather than age.

Mickey Brown, an 80-year-old conservative and two-time Trump voter, raises concerns about Biden’s ability to lead based on personal observations while caring for his wife.

Despite their political differences, Pat Levin, a 94-and-a-half-year-old lifelong Democrat, disagrees with Brown and stresses that age should not be a determining factor in evaluating competence.

Levin, who attends weekly workouts at SteelCore Studio, expresses a common sentiment among her peers: a strong desire for Biden to succeed in safeguarding democracy. She believes Biden should be judged based on his performance rather than age.

As the 2024 election approaches, the perspectives of these seniors provide insights into the diverse opinions within this crucial demographic, highlighting the challenges and complexities of discussing age, politics, and competence in today’s political landscape.

I'm Richard Rosales, I cover political news and ongoing US elections.