There are some 46.2 million seniors - 65 and older - in the U.S., according to government counts, and that's 14.5% of the population. Seniors also are known to be voters. "They turn out at the polls," said Mary Anna Mancuso, who blogs at Politicalhype.com and noted they constitute more than a fifth of folks who actually vote on election day.
Despite those numbers, neither candidate has talked a lot about senior issues. "For two candidates who are seniors themselves, they have not put a great amount of air time on senior issues," said Mancuso.
But both have staked out positions on the key senior issues - Medicare, Social Security, and the so-called death tax (aka the estate tax). In some instances, there are - perhaps surprisingly - agreement. In other cases, there are sharp differences.
The candidates also take very different positions regarding policies as such. Clinton generally is long on detailed policies. Trump is the opposite. "There are hardly any details in Trump's plans," said Utah political writer Donna Carol Voss. "Trump paints a vision instead."
Where will seniors come down? Nobody knows right now but, said Jo-Renee Formicola, a professor of political science at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, "some voters will vote on just one issue."
Here's the Trump vs. Clinton scorecard:
The estate tax: The "death tax" is crucial to seniors, said Formicola. There is no sharper divide between the candidates. Clinton want to lower the exclusion from 2016's $5,450,000 to $3.5 million. She also wants to raise the tax rate from 40% to 45%.
Trump wants to end the estate tax.
Experts said that roughly 2 in every 1,000 - 0.02 - pay the estate tax. 99.9% do not.
Nonetheless, said Formicola, the estate tax is very important to many seniors. "They want their estate passed to their children," she said.
Social Security: An issue that is central to most seniors is Social Security -- 33% say it is their primary source of income. The system also is under enormous stresses, especially as millions of Baby Boomers retire - 10,000 turn 65 daily - and they also live longer. How to keep Social Security solvent?
Trump has offered scant concrete details about Social Security, but he has insisted the benefit will be there for seniors. As for keeping the system solvent, he has pointed to economic stimulus as the key. Said Trump to AARP: "If we are able to sustain growth rates in GDP that we had as a result of the Kennedy and Reagan tax reforms, we will be able to secure Social Security for the future….Our goal is to keep the promises made to Americans through our Social Security program."
Hillary Clinton's approach is different. She said she will, "[f]ight any attempts to gamble seniors' retirement security on the stock market through privatization...[o]ppose reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments, [o]ppose Republican efforts to raise the retirement age—an unfair idea that will particularly hurt the seniors who have worked the hardest throughout their lives...[o]ppose closing the long-term shortfall on the backs of the middle class, whether through benefit cuts or tax increases."
She also has said she wants to expand the benefit: "Americans should receive credit toward their Social Security benefits when they are out of the paid workforce because they are acting as caregivers."
How will she pay for the changes? She wants to tax the richest Americans. "Social Security must continue to guarantee dignity in retirement for future generations," her campaign said. "Hillary understands that there is no way to accomplish that goal without asking the highest-income Americans to pay more, including options to tax some of their income above the current Social Security cap and taxing some of their income not currently taken into account by the Social Security system."
Medicare. 44.9 million seniors are in Medicare, by far the most common health insurance for the elderly. Clinton has said she will oppose efforts - usually led by Republicans - to privatize the system. She wants to expand the system - opening enrollment to Americans as young as perhaps 50 (compared to today's 65). But she also wants to "reform" the health care delivery system, so that out of pocket costs for seniors drop, but also there is less fraud and abuse.
While the GOP platform commits the party to "modernizing Medicare" - thought by experts to mean privatizing the program - Trump has offered a different view. He has said, "Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And we can't do that. And it's not fair to the people that have been paying in for years."
Is that in fact his position? Brigid Harrison, a professor political science at Montclair State in New Jersey, said of Trump, "it is difficult to discern a cohesive statement." That's particularly true with Medicare. In some statements, Trump talks of cutting Medicare benefits. At other times, not so much.
There also are places where the candidates agree. Tim Garson, director of the Health Policy Institute at the Texas Medical Center, said that both candidates want to empower Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, action not currently permitted Medicare but which - its advocates say -- will result in sharply lower costs for Medicare recipients and the system itself.
How should you vote? Philadelphia financial advisor Steve Cordasco, whose clientele includes many seniors, said it is simple. "If you are broke, you will vote for Hillary," he said. "If you are rich, Trump's your candidate."
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held 0 positions in the stocks mentioned.