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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Suburban Women could Make or Break the 2024 Election

A dual column about the suburban women vote in the election

By: Thomas Hegarty

The suburbs of America make up one of the most contested voting blocs in the country. Suburban women have made for a politically malleable and important demographic.

While stereotypes like the “soccer mom” and the “wine mom”, often also characterized as performatively liberal white women who vote the way their husbands do, have been mainstays in the cultural zeitgeist since the ‘90s

This characterization, however, has never been accurate, and is even less so today.

According to the New York Times, “Overall, suburban voters are split fairly evenly…The white share of the suburban population has plummeted to 61 percent, from 84 percent in 1990”. The suburban vote is more varied and swings wider than it ever has.

The suburbs were a massive boon to Trump during the 2016 election, and they were a deciding factor in Bidens victory over him in 2020. With another presidential election in November, Biden is trying to keep suburban women as a part of his coalition, and it seems like Republicans have lost the candidate who could have captured that vote.

Nikki Haley was outperformed by Trump consistently during the republican primary earlier this year.

One demographic, however, where Haley had a commanding lead was college-educated women.

This is incredibly indicative of support that suburban women held for Haley. She was moderate by the standards of her fellow republican candidates, and she also had a moderate view when it came to abortion.

Her more extreme views were in relation to foreign affairs, and this stands in contrast to people like Trump and DeSantis whose extreme rhetoric and policy positions are domestic, and much closer to home.

This has all been rendered moot by Trumps’ definitive victory, and now he and Biden will have to fight for the Haley voting bloc.

Trump will have a lot of difficulty recapturing this vote after underperforming there in 2024. Suburban women who moved away from Trump like Haley because they see her as a moderate candidate who will promote unity as opposed to Trump’s partisan grandstanding. The Democrats lost some of their suburban support in the 2022 midterms, and this is in no small part because Trump was not a candidate, and many thought that his political career was over at this time. The conservative suburban voters (and especially suburban women) who voted for Biden as a protest against Trump moved back to voting Republican.

This is reflected in current polls, where Biden is leading Trump. If Biden can hold this lead, then he might be able to win again in 2024 with similar margins to his 2020 win. This is compounded by the fact that Trump’s mounting legal troubles are going to hurt his ability to campaign to this demographic. Closing the gap between himself and Biden will require active work, and he simply does not have the time to do so. I believe that, as things stand, the suburban vote will remain Biden’s, and, most likely, the election.

By: Claire Houchin

Part of winning the Presidential general election is appealing to a larger audience than just one party.

Donald Trump was able to do this in 2016.

He appealed to a voter base previously untapped by Republicans, the blue-collar rural American. Many of these folks had not voted in years and had traditionally been “Blue Dog Democrats”. These voters, now known as “MAGA Republicans” became a subsection of the Republican party.

This left Trump at a disadvantage in different areas for the 2020 Presidential race. To win that race, he needed to appeal to an even greater audience, namely the middle-of-the-road voters. He, of course, did not accomplish this. In fact, there was one key demographic that contributed most to Trump’s loss–suburban women. These women will be a key demographic again in 2024. If Trump is going to win, he is going to have to win over the “soccer moms”.

There are four key issues that suburban women largely use to determine their vote: crime; the economy; parental rights; and abortion.

Conservatives are in a good place with these voters on crime, the economy, and parental rights. However, there will need to be a change in approach in terms of messaging and policy for abortion.

Abortion was the key factor in the failure of the predicted “red wave” of the 2022 midterm elections. Republicans won the House by a slim margin, and traditionally blue seats that were flipped red can be attributed to “soft on abortion” Republicans. The voters in these districts are more left-leaning.

They likely voted for the Republican candidate because the candidate promised to bring down crime, gas prices, and they were moderate on abortion. The suburban moms are like the voter base that flipped seats in 2022, so Republicans are going to have to keep that in mind this election cycle.

Before critiquing the Republican party for their mishandling of the abortion issue, let’s look at what the party is doing right.

First, they are right on crime.

“Biden’s Border Crisis” along with the defund the police movement and progressive prosecutors, has created a significant crime problem. This is especially so in blue cities that have adopted lax crime policies and safe places for illegal immigrants. This issue should be a slam dunk for Republicans in the fall.

The Republicans are winning on the economy as well.

The big issue for Republicans in the 2022 midterms was the failed Biden economy, and it continues to be a problem for Biden into 2024. The economy has not recovered from COVID, and it very well could have already if not for “Bidenomics”. Another likely success here for Republicans in the fall.

Lastly, the Republican Party has made school choice, parental rights, and child protection top issues this cycle, and they are keeping it at the forefront of American politics.

These issues being at the top of the mind for suburban women, and only being talked about by Republican candidates makes this issue a slam dunk again in winning over the minds of the suburban women this cycle.

One area that is not a slam dunk for Republicans and arguably the most important one is abortion.

Republicans across the board have agreed on the position that abortion is taking a human life. A large problem for winning over the suburban woman vote is that Republicans do not agree among themselves on what the policy should be on abortion.

Should it be state or federal?

Should there be any exceptions, and if so, which ones?

Should doctors who perform abortions be criminally punished?

When in the pregnancy should the ban take place? Conception? Heartbeat? End of first term?

The stickiness of these questions makes it difficult for Republicans to win on this issue. Especially so when the Democrats are unified, consistent, and have campaigned on their opinion for decades. If Republicans are going to get the results they want in 2024, they are going to have to be unified around a sensible policy solution that protects fetal life and mothers.

Suburban women would likely vote for a pro-border security, pro-parental rights, fiscally conservative, that believes the government should protect fetal life with exceptions for the life of the mother, rape, incest, and before the middle of the first trimester.

While this may not be what many conservatives want to hear or believe to be morally right, it may be what they must do to win the election. The suburban woman vote is the most crucial voter base this election, just as it has been since 2020.

Operating as though they are not crucial will inevitably lead to Republican losses in 2024.

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