A new phenomenon in American politics: The Karen vote

Women who like the president's results but not his tone could be important in the fall.

In previous elections it’s been called the “soccer mom vote.” Earlier this cycle it was dubbed the “kindergarten teacher vote.”

Some are now starting to call it “the Karen vote.” Whichever way you label it the tag speaks of middle-aged suburban women who generally like the president’s economic policies but abhor his tone and manner.

Before we brush them off as annoying battleaxes, we must factor in their electoral numbers—and they are myriad. Not only that, but they have the power to influence others in their immediate social vicinity as well, though their ire can be non-focused.

Despite what they see as his bombast, before COVID they were solidly supporting the president mainly on economic issues.

But after the virus hit some, seeing the economy tank and perhaps unnecessarily so, they are rethinking their support.

Many Karens who have always questioned the president’s tone and manner are, now that other factors are in play, putting more emphasis on those two aspects of the Trump persona. And many of them don’t like what they see.

A somewhat mitigating factor may be the recent riots and social unrest sponsored by the Democrats and their Chinese and Antifa allies. The Karen voter demographic is viciously protective of home and hearth.

Riots and social unrest threaten that stability and that may, as the president is seen as much stronger than Biden against the mob (actually, Biden is seen as a virtual part of the mob), convince the Karens to prioritize their annoyance with the president and vote for him to protect their families.

This demographic also tends to be socially moderate, if not liberal. One of the reasons many of them voted for Trump in 2016 was that they perceived him as a social moderate as well, a perception he did not dissuade.

But the president has been very canny in his social policies and politics. He has moved to the right while making noises, at least after Charlottesville, to placate reasonable social moderates.

The Karens have seen this shift on issues like abortion and LGBTQ rights and, as they are almost uniformly pro-abortion and very pro-gay rights, have not been pleased by it. But the economy trumped that until recently.

The Karens are primarily located in the suburbs and they will have the most impact in the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Trump won all those states in 2016 and the Democrats have heavily targeted them for a flip. As such there are rumors circulating in DC and at the RNC (just rumors at this point) that to enliven the convention and appeal to the female vote the president will ask Mike Pence to step down and promise to laterally shift him after reelection, and put a woman on the ticket.

This could also steal Democrat thunder on that particular move.

However, that rumor has been around for months and most discount it as DC inside baseball scuttlebutt.

Regardless of the veep choice, the Karens will have some influence in the election result. How much or how little is largely up to the president.

This piece was written by David Kamioner on June 26, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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