Americans have a choice this fall between giving President Biden and Democrats in Washington two more years to accomplish their agenda or handing control of Congress over to Republicans. With skyrocketing inflation, healthcare costs and prescription drug prices, most experts expect voters to decide at the ballot box with the economy in mind. However, while every American has been forced to contend with the realities of rising inflation, the issue has disproportionately affected our nation’s most powerful group of voters — older women.
Most polls show deadlocked races between Republican and Democratic congressional candidates, and with less than two months until Election Day, partisan lines are hardening. However, many women over 50 are still deciding whether to vote red or blue in November. Right now, critical elections are hanging in the balance, and older women are more motivated than ever to make our voices heard. This election cycle, we’re going to determine which party has control in Washington.
In every election cycle in the last two decades, older voters have made up more than half of the overall electorate, and new polling suggests that percentage could climb higher in 2022. One recent survey of the nation’s 56 most competitive congressional districts found that Americans over 50 make up more than 60 percent of likely voters. Older women are a particularly influential piece of that part of the electorate.
In 2018 and 2020, older women cast 30 percent of all votes, turning out to decide some of the closest and most consequential races in the country. Now, ahead of Election Day in November, we have made it loud and clear which issues we’ve prioritized and what we’re looking for from political candidates. In study after study, Americans have told pollsters they will be voting with their checkbooks in November. Eye-popping inflation reports have pushed rising prices to the top of voters’ minds, and Americans consistently cite concerns about rising prescription drug prices, costly healthcare premiums and Social Security.
Older women are especially sensitive to all of those issues. Women over 50 pay higher healthcare premiums than their male counterparts. To make matters worse, high prescription drug prices are more likely to hurt women than men — not only do women typically need more prescriptions than men, but the medications we use are disproportionately more expensive. Additionally, one Senate Republican recently praised the idea of stripping Social Security and Medicare of their status as mandatory spending programs. Jeopardizing programs like these are unpopular with women over 50, and we need Republicans in Congress and running for office to reject this plan.
Both parties are running out of time to make their case to older women. There are less than two months until the election, and the candidates running in the House and Senate races that’ll determine the majority in Congress need to sharpen their messages to win over women. The time to earn our support is now.
Maya Cummings is the founder, president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions and a distinguished presidential research fellow at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She wrote this for InsideSources.com. Her column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.