Economic Security

'The Fear & Loathing Election' Mary Anne Marsh On Election Security Politics

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'The Fear & Loathing Election': Mary Anne Marsh On Election Security Politics

March 13, 2016

What is the origin of the term 'Security Mom?'

Mary Anne Marsh: Well, I first heard it from KellyAnn Conway, the Republican pollster, who certainly talked about it a lot and is someone who I have known for a long long time, uh, and respect her work a great deal. She's a very good pollster. And she's a very good agenda pollster, and certainly latches on to those kinds of notions. I think it was crucial for George W. Bush and Republicans running to sort of justify the road they decided to travel down that everyone followed. because they believed them. Because when has the government ever lied to the American people in such epic proportions but for the end of the Vietnam war? So, John Kerry's 2004 loss, I would not assign to security moms, but I do think it was a smart marketing tool for the Republicans based on the road they decided to travel on national security. So it married up well, but I think now looking back no 12 years later, 14 years later, people say for what? Why? And so a security mom now, to me, is more along the lines you're examining, is women always want to protect their families. They always want to take care of them and family takes on a large meaning. Again, because women are caretakers. They want to take care of their spouse or partner, they want to take care of their kids, they want to take care of their parents. And increasingly men and women have found themselves unable to do that. Many men, and I've seen this in a lot of focus groups going back many years now. If you were married and your husband went out and had a job, he could support the entire family. If the wife wanted to work, well her job probably didn't pay. Maybe daycare, but it didn't really add to  the bottom line. But that's okay, she was out of the house. Now, they can both work, and both work two three four jobs, and they're still not breaking even. Men feel emasculated, and feel like their not doing their role. Women feel like they're not able to do their job and their role. And so everybody feels like they're not succeeding. And again, you look at Donald Trump, whatever you think of him. They see his name on buildings. He says 'I'm gonna build a building!" And they look, and there's a building with his name on it. He says "I'm gonna fire you!" And he fires them. That's more than they've gotten out of Washington. And again, they look at Hilary Clinton the same way. They see someone who has worked her way up the ladder-- as many women do-- methodically, rung, by rung, by rung, accomplishment by accomplishment. And they see here there too. I think what the question voters are going to have now is which one of them can really get it done and really change things. 

How has this election cycle flip flopped? 

Mary Anne Marsh: Well I think historically, let's talk about the position women have in society and politics. So if you look at it from a woman's perspective, what does every woman worry about? The f-- whether they can support themselves and their family. Why? Because most every woman at some point in their life has to support themselves. 50% of all marriages end in divorce. A lot of women end up supporting their parents, themselves, their children, because they're a single mom, or out of choice, or they lose a partner, or they decide never to marry. So at some point in every woman's life, you have to economically support yourself. Historically, Democrats have been the better party on that. Whether it's the minimum wage, pay equity, making sure that women have the kind of leave they need to be able to work. And, on the related issues, every woman wants the best for their kid. And for them education is still the way up and out. But they see education as increasingly unattainable for their children because it's so expensive. But they know they need it if they're going to be economically successful. They want a better job. They want to move up the economic ladder so they can provide for themselves, and their families. And they worry about their ability to retire because women out live their spouses, outlive their husbands. And they have historically made less money. So every woman fears being the bag lady who has lost their home, lost everything. And unfortunately, most women (and men), have experienced that through the great recession. And so now you see younger women and millennials (and you see this with Bernie Sanders and others), the formative years of the millennials-- people in their twenties and all that-- they grew up listening to their parents who have lost both their jobs. They lost their home. They look at all this, and now they're staring down the barrel of six figure college debt. And they say 'I don't want to live the way my parents lived. I don't want to live the life my parents' lived when I was growing up. I want something different and better. And that's now why you start to see the cross over between democrats and republicans on economic and security issued. Because for women, security is "I want to be able to provide for myself and my family, and I want to be able to protect myself and my family." And those lines are now blurred. Not just on national security, but economic security. It's all one together now.

How is this election defined by the angry white woman:

Mary Anne MarshWell I think you can definitely say anticipate it for this election. I think I may dub this election 'fear and loathing.' Because uh people are fearful and they loath the political process. And I think for white men in particular, this is their last sand politically, electorially. They feel that they have suffered the biggest losses, and they see the demographics coming. So if you were a blue collar worker-- rank-and-file-- working the trades. They're voting for Donald Trump, because they see him as someone who can create jobs, help them get back on their feet, and stop trade deals that have hurt them relentlessly. So men, in particular men without college degrees, very appealing. Donald Trump is incredibly appealing to them. I hear, and we talked about this a little earlier, I have a lot of women come up of to me and they say "I am afraid of Donald Trump, but I don't like Hilary Clinton! I can't vote for her, and I'm afraid of him." And so I think that's-- both of them are going to have to tackle that. I think men in particular see-- white men in particular see the changing demographics of this country-- where majority minority is really where everyone is moving--certainly where the democratic party is moving. And they see that in the economy, that they're losing jobs to minorities and illegal immigrant or undocumented immigrants who are willing to work for less and do more work. It's a constant eroding of not only their economic standing, but their own personal standing. That's what's really fueling this election. And even when Donald Trump does what many of us would look at as the most egregious things, it never hurts him becauhse that Trumps (no pun intended) all of it.


To hear more from Mary Anne Marsh,  >> Listen to our conversation above. Or download the podcast here.

You can follow Juliette Kayyem on twitter here.



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