A Reuters article out today looked at the undecided voter — you know her as a white, less-educated female or perhaps, the "Walmart mom," as Mitt Romney's pollster Neil Newhouse deems her. It's the term du jour for the voting bloc every candidate wants to get his or her hands on, and like past descriptors it's pretty darn condescending. This is not the first time this subset of voter has gotten a buzzy name (or even this buzzy name, see here, here, and The Atlantic Wire in 2010 here) nor is it the first time that name has been subtly derogatory. Let's take a look at some other descriptors:
There are certainly nuances to each of these descriptors. Newhouse says of the Walmart mom: "Overwhelmingly they are concerned with their family budgets, not the national budget." Adding, "they are concerned about putting food on the table or gas in the tank. They haven't tuned into the campaign yet because they are struggling with their daily lives. They are living one paycheck away from going off the financial cliff." The "security mom" was preoccupied with terrorism; the "mortgage mom" with finances. In 1999 Businessweek described the "minivan mom" as "the college-educated women who commute to work from their suburban homes." The bottom line: suburban women with children who aren't loyal to one party. The frequent subtext: often they aren't smart or discerning enough to be.