‘Biden Bingo’: President’s campaign adapts classic game to include malarkey and aviators

PHOENIX (AP) — DeAnna Mireau reached into a container and pulled out a piece of paper.

“The next question is: Do we have a drum roll?” » she called to a room filled with around 20 elderly people and half a dozen journalists. “Justice! Justice for all.”

No one moved, so Mireau looked for another piece. Next comes “worker empowerment”. Then “malarkey”. Finally, when she called “friends,” there was a winner.

“Biden Bingo!” » A soft voice sounded in the middle of the room. A white-haired man straightened his elbow to raise a triumphant fist in the air. The room filled with applause.

With this, Art Winter, 83, of Scottsdale, Arizona, became the first winner of That of President Joe Biden Last effort to involve older voters in his quest for a second term.

Biden is marrying campaign mainstays like rallies and phone banks with social events like bingo and pickleball to engage seniors in what will likely be an extremely close election. Older people are more likely to vote than the average American, and many retirees have free time to volunteer, knock on doors or make phone calls.

Seniors also make up a sizable share of the population in several key states, including Arizona, a popular retirement destination. Biden narrowly beat former President Donald Trump, again the presumptive Republican nominee this year, by fewer than 11,000 votes here in 2020.

“Bingo and Biden – what a winning combination,” said Mireau, the game host, once the match was over. Some bingo players lingered to chat or eat food provided by the campaign.

What you need to know about the 2024 elections

Mireau was enlisted to run the game because she lived in Las Vegas for nine years. She is also experienced. She runs the bingo games at her Phoenix mobile home park.

“By bringing like-minded people together who share the same goals, we can generate a lot more energy, and that helps us get to the finish line,” said Mireau, who heard about the event through to his involvement in the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans. a left-wing group made up largely of retired trade unionists.

For his “Biden Bingo” win, Winter was offered a choice of four prizes. His wife made the choice: several crossword books.

The game continued. A few drawings later, there was another call from “Biden Bingo.” Another triumphant punch into the air. Winter again. This time, his wife chose an envelope containing a mystery gift card. He put it aside without opening it.

“I’ve never won a door prize,” he said with a laugh at his table.

The game continued. More pieces of paper taken out of the trash: election day. Education. Veterans. Aviator sunglasses. Scranton. Medicare expansion.

Here Mireau intervened. “It will literally save lives, and it could be yours,” she said.

More tidbits – and more references to Biden’s political personality, some humorous, some serious: the Amtrak train. Dr. Jill Biden. American jobs. Working families.

Not one but two bingos have been announced now – but not “Biden Bingo” this time. These winners apparently forgot the instruction to announce their victory with the president’s name, but no one enforced the rule.

Suddenly out of prizes, but with a trash can still full of Biden-themed scraps of paper, a campaign aide hurried to look for more. She came back with a deck of cards and a few books of large-print word games.

The slips of paper are inspired by extracts from Biden’s biography and the government’s priorities. He traveled to the Capitol by Amtrak train as a U.S. senator. He wears aviator-style sunglasses on sunny days. And he made “malarkey” a household word.

Finally, there was only one piece left.

“Good paying jobs,” Mireau said, and the room erupted in applause. Everyone had filled their trays.

And now it was time to get down to business. An energetic young man showed up who identified himself as one of the campaign organizers working in this local Democratic office located in an aging office building in downtown Phoenix. He handed out his own slips of paper – volunteer cards – and urged them to contribute to the campaign by knocking on doors and calling other voters.

Half of adults 65 and older have a very or somewhat favorable opinion of Biden, according to a recent study. AP-NORC survey. Older adults are more likely than those under 65 to have a positive view of the president.

Although Biden’s approval has declined during his term, it has declined less among people 65 and older. About half of people 65 and older approved of how Biden was handling his job as president in an AP-NORC poll conducted in March. That’s a slight decline from January 2021, when Biden first took office, when about 6 in 10 adults aged 65 and older approved of his performance.

Only about a third of those under 65 approved of Biden’s job performance in March, down from about 6 in 10 in January 2021.

In the 2020 election, Biden and Trump split voters 65 and older. AP VoteCast data shows that about half of voters aged 65 and older voted for Trump and about half for Biden. Biden won among women and nonwhite voters aged 65 and older, while Trump won among older men and white voters in that age group.

A majority of Americans say they doubt mental abilities of the Biden, 81 years old and the Trump, 78 years old. But posing a major risk for Biden, independents are much more likely to say they lack confidence in his mental abilities (80%) compared to those of Trump (56%).

Brenda Clarke, a 75-year-old retiree living in Tempe, Arizona, said she gets angry when she hears her friends express doubts about Biden’s age and accuses the media of stoking the concerns. She said Biden supporters need to remind people of his accomplishments.

“It’s our responsibility to constantly call people out when they’re trying to spread this,” Clarke said.


Associated Press writer Linley Sanders in Washington contributed.

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