The much-discussed suburban voter of this election cycle may have multiple motivations for voting. One factor that appears present now is fear. Are our lives at risk? Will the country will be ruined if the other party is in control?
A little thought experiment: does this easily play into suburban anxieties and fears? Here are some fears scholars have suggested suburbanites face on a regular basis:
1. Fear of the “other,” usually referring to people of non-white races and ethnicities. This manifests itself in multiple ways including exclusionary zoning and gated communities.
2. Fear of losing a middle-class or upper middle-class status. This leads to trying to gather resources for just their family or community.
3. Fear that either their children are not going to succeed or that they are at risk. After all, the suburbs are supposed to be a safe place for which to launch them to excellence.
4. This dates back more to the early decades of postwar suburbia but a fear of losing their individualism and being pushed into conformity to suburban norms.
There are counterarguments to each of these as well as a general claim that suburbanites move to the suburbs because they wanted to, not because they were all fearful.
But, if there are indeed numerous fears in suburbia, does marketing politicians and policies on the basis of fear an even more effective tactic for suburban voters?