Donald Trump’s tone deaf ‘911’ campaign ad is a slap in the face to seniors

Facing defections from older white voters, a crucial voting bloc that he needs in order to win a second term in the November election, Trump has unleashed a series of fear-mongering ads. The goal is to scare seniors with apocalyptic visions of what the nation could look like under a Joe Biden presidency. One of the latest features features an older woman alone at home when an attacker breaks in. She’s unable to reach anyone at 911 in “Joe Biden’s America.”

Fact checkers have rightfully taken on the ad’s false premise of the ad, calling it “nonsense” since Biden is not proposing or supporting anything that would lead to 911 calls not being answered. He also does not support “defunding” the police. In general, the pop culture landscape, especially advertising, all too often ignores older Americans. And when they are represented, it’s much more likely to be in a negative light, AARP research has found. “Adults over age 50 are presented as dependent and disconnected,” and often alone, the research said.

Having spent a career in advertising, I’ve long seen that older people are portrayed as frail, terrified and lacking agency. This is especially true for women, since sexist images of women as weak and needing protection combines with ageism to create the kinds of images depicted in the Trump ad

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