For some voters, it makes no difference since Biden's and Trump's actions to dodge the draft and avoid the Vietnam War horror. To others, it reflects a person's character and could be a reason not to vote for them because they failed to do their duty.
The reality is that back in the sixties, specifically, between 1965-71, when America forced men to serve in the military via a draft lottery system, many men resisted and did ANYTHING to get out of serving. All had the same fear of ending up in Nam and an end to their young life. Many were patriotic also and did their duty and 58,000 would lose their lives for nothing most believed in. Vietnam was a political and military war and was assumed from the French beginning around 1960.
Right or wrong, it is odd that today, Trump is supported by vets and active personnel even though he is NOT one of them, but just a kid from a wealthy family. When Trump was 18, he did not want to serve, so his father Fred, talked to the family doctor about a medical deferment. You see, Fred, owned the building where the family doctor's office was and the doctor also wanted a favor regarding rent. Thus, the young Trump was diagnosed with bone spurs on his heel. Obviously, the doctor sent the paperwork to the local draft board office since young Trump's got a notice. Whether the draft board actually did a physical on young Trump or not to determine the extent of bone spurs (which can be very painful) is not known. But, young Trump did avoid being drafted due to the medical classification each year. Then, by 1971, the last year of the draft, Trump got lucky with a draft number of 357 or so. That meant, he was safe from being draft. The number was too high. Trump had got 3-4 deferments total by then.
With Biden, like Trump, young Biden did not want to fight in the jungles of Vietnam and was in college. Like so many other students, his father was no man of wealth or anyone with stature. But, while Biden was athletic, his medical deferment was for asthma, which certainly would have been serious in Nam, had he gone. The curious thing that this never came out publicly until 1987 or so in his book.
Today, for voters, the issue about whether either candidate served in the military is less important because that was a different time. From 1968-72, America was just like in 2020. The establishment was for the war, while many under 30, were against it. Riots, bombings, racial strife, were daily reports on the evening news. To add to this were the war reports from Vietnam, some showing horrific events on TV. There was chaos in the White House and in the military.
Many draft dodgers were willing to go to Canada, some did, others went into other governmental services to serve their two years. Was it true patriotism or forced patriotism? Some went into the Army or other service and got out after less than a year for saying they were a drug user or homosexual. That was the easy way out. Many only enlisted once they got the draft notice, usually, into the Navy or Airforce, to avoid Vietnam duty. All young men turning 18 were very worried about being drafted.
Trump supporters who are vets or active duty do so because of his tough appearance and bravado. It's a military appeal.
perrya (author) on September 19, 2020:
Many vets of either political persuasion like Trump's personality of being tough, bellicose, up front and willing eff you in his attitude they agree on. But privately he thanks god for his draft deferment his daddy got him, why would a rich kid wanna fight in Vietnam. His attitude was let the poor suckers do it, black, brown and white. Why hasn't any of his sons volunteered? We all know that answer- apples don't fall far from the tree
Readmikenow on September 18, 2020:
Kathleen, just or clarification. Hunter Biden was kicked out of the Navy for drug use. He didn't even get an honorable discharge. Trust me...many vets look down upon this. The reports of President Donald Trump disparaging vets from the Atlantic article have been proven false. Event the editor of the Atlantic magazine admits they probably got it wrong. So, are you saying ALL vets are Republicans? I'd love to see where you got THIS information. I know many vets who are dedicated Democrats.
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on September 18, 2020:
Difference: VP Biden's son served. And as any veteran would tell you, you'd rather go to war yourself than send one of your children. Most vets who support Trump certainly do it because he is republican - period. Recent reports of him disparaging veterans has changed many of their minds. HOOAH
Sharlee on September 18, 2020:
As a veteran's wife, I can tell you factually no President has improved the benefits that veterans were deprived of for so many years. Vets received the biggest pay raise than they have seen in years. He has done many things that just don't get reported, but vets don't need to have media tell them what their benefits are, they realize that Trump has their backs.
perrya (author) on September 18, 2020:
Talking apples to oranges, I am talking about active duty. As to Vets, never needed them, thank god, because it still is not very good, though its better
Readmikenow on September 18, 2020:
"but core vets still think his bravado and Patton-like character is patriotic, which is just stupid." What do you base this on? Obviously not from spending time at the VA. I consider this statement bathed in ignorance of veterans.
perrya (author) on September 17, 2020:
The VA has always been a dismal affair for those needing their services and maybe Trump has improved that aspect, but core vets still think his bravado and Patton-like character is patriotic, which is just stupid.
Sharlee on September 17, 2020:
It well appears president Trump and Joe Biden were draft dodgers as so many young men did in that time in American history. It was a sad time when boys weeks out of high school were drafted, and trained quickly, and sent to Vietnam. I would guess anyone that could get out of the draft did so. My husband was drafted, and can honestly say, I wish he would have evaded the draft. He would not even consider it at the time. He was treated poorly when he returned. As I said it was a sad time in out history.
perrya (author) on September 17, 2020:
I agree also and it is because Trump looks tough and mean compared to a meek Biden, but Russia and China know that trump bluffs about using the military, and Trump is pulling out troops.
MG Singh emge from Singapore on September 17, 2020:
Very interesting but from the men in uniform whom I know there is a groundswell of support for Trump. That's a fact that cannot be denied though he may have dodged the draft.
Readmikenow on September 17, 2020:
"Trump supporters who are vets or active duty do so because of his tough appearance and bravado." As a vet I find this very insulting. President Donald Trump support among vets has a lot to do with how he has improved the VA. Things were horrible under Obama. I know I experienced it. Since President Donald Trump took office, the VA hospitals have gotten much needed equipment and increased staffing. There are now hotlines vets can call to discuss any of their problems. There are no longer wait times. Under Obama I had to wait six weeks to get a CT scan. Under President Donald Trump, I got one the same day my physician recommended it. If you have an emergency and are treated at a civilian hospital...the VA will pay for it. I could go on...but he has won Vets over by his treatment of them and NOT "his tough appearance and bravado." Guess what? Vets are not all PTSD ridden psychos who mindlessly follow anyone who represents John Wayne to them. That is not the case at all.
Afolabi Abraham Kuye from Lagos, Nigeria on September 16, 2020:
Its good to be patriotic. If Americas motto remains " In God we trust", people need to fear what they should do to protect its sovereignty, but just commit it into God's hands and proceed with confidence. But as it is, both candidates are old now, all Americans need do now is to forgive them and let life continue. I say this because God is always God, and he knows the right people to use at the right time, because he is always interested in the affairs of men.
Greg Schweizer from Corona, California. on September 16, 2020:
So was Bill Clinton.