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What is a Security Mom?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2016
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A security mom is a representative of a largely mythical demographic which some politicians thought would heavily influence the outcome of the 2004 Presidential election in the United States. As it turned out, although security moms certainly existed, they did not sway the outcome of the vote, and they were largely forgotten in the weeks following the election. However, the idea of the security mom lives on in some corners of American politics, and many politicians are very aware of the importance of addressing the issues which matter to security moms.

According to numerous news outlets which published stories about security moms in 2004, these women are heavily focused on security issues, the threat of terrorism, and involvement in wars. The argument is that many parents are deeply concerned about the issues because they pose a threat to their children, with a typical security mom looking for a strong, authoritative President who will be able to make the right decisions for national security.

The media warned that in order to win the coveted security mom vote, a candidate would need to take a tough and very public stance on terrorism and security issues. Furthermore, support of things like gun rights and tougher laws for penal offenders would be expected by women in this demographic. These women could be ignored by politicians at great peril, many newspapers editorialized, and they featured interviews with and columns by examples of security moms to get the message across.

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National security was indeed a very important issue in the 2004 election, and many Americans cited it as a concern, pointing to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to the terrorist attacks of 2001 to suggest that national security should be a priority. However, Americans differed radically on the best approach to national security, and security moms by no means made up the majority. Plenty of other women with children under 18 were focused on other issues, or felt that aggressive tactics were not the best way to approach the protection of the United States.

By October of 2004, hype about the security mom had largely vanished from the media, with many polling organizations agreeing that these women would play an unimportant role in the election. However, like all political demographics, they have been closely studied by political analysts, so that politicians can take the right stance on certain issues when dealing with security moms.

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