Tue
Aug 22 2006
11:08 pm

Arthur Brooks in the WSJ's OpinionJournal:

Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

Alarmingly for the Democrats, the gap is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year, meaning that today's problem is nothing compared to what the future will most likely hold. Consider future presidential elections in a swing state (like Ohio), and assume that the current patterns in fertility continue. A state that was split 50-50 between left and right in 2004 will tilt right by 2012, 54% to 46%. By 2020, it will be certifiably right-wing, 59% to 41%. A state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020--and all for no other reason than babies.

The fertility gap doesn't budge when we correct for factors like age, income, education, sex, race--or even religion. Indeed, if a conservative and a liberal are identical in all these ways, the liberal will still be 19 percentage points more likely to be childless than the conservative.

On a related note: "John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest birth rates; George W Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest."

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Andy Axel's picture

...ergo propter hoc

Those states have better graduation rates, better paying jobs, and lower divorce rates, too.

Liars will figure.

____________________________

"winkin' at my peers," quotin' Thurston.

Brian A.'s picture

Birth rates

Children voting like their parents certainly explains how we went from 64 Senate Democrats in the 1966 election to where we are today.

I wonder what percentage of the birthrate in the 26 Bush states is Hispanic.
 

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

SayUncle's picture

I saw somewhere once (not

I saw somewhere once (not sure where) a similar argument but it was tied to abortion rates (i.e., the conclusion was that since liberals are more likely to abort children, the proportion of conservatives was increasing). Not saying I buy it, but I've heard a similar thing.

---
SayUncle
Can't we all just get a long gun?

Factchecker's picture

Longer me:  I wasn't out of

Longer me:  I wasn't out of "shit" to say (there I go with my potty mouth again), nor was I joking.  I truly think Les's motive, and probably that of the WSJ and/or original authors, was another general cut against liberals (among thousands aimed to make us bleed to death) by insulting the general liberal "manliness."  Just kicking sand because they're jerks.  Same reason they drive huge CO2 factories with "W" emblems, "Support our Troops" (i.e., Bush) decals, and confederate flags on them.  
  
And just like the Fox "News" proclamation of being Fair and Balanced™ is not even intended to be true or taken seriously, but is just meant to drive liberals crazy.
Les Jones's picture

Factchecker:

No, this wasn't an attempt to call anyone's manhood into question. I have an interest in population and demographic trends because I think they're a useful forecasting tool.

As far as the "raising children" thing others mentioned - I don't understand how that phrase is offensive or strange. If you do, what is your preferred term? 


Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old Southknoxbubba.net (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

edens's picture

Just enough of me. Way too

Just enough of me. Way too much of you.

Les Jones's picture

Lots of internal migration

"The US has a TFR of 2.1 which is replacement. Population growth in the US is a function of immigration. Now, the TFR, which I do not know, of a place like Ohio may be higher than the US average, so in order for this stupid article's proposition to hold water, nobody can migrate within the US itself. Understand? I am sorry you don't."

Again, it doesn't have to be that the WASP population is growing. It's just the makeup of that population seems to be trending Republican due to demographics. 

There's lots of net migration within the U.S., and it's away from Dem strongholds and towards Repub strongholds.

State population changes - blue states losing ground

More of the same

Large cities, northeastern states losing population 

Now that could potentially go a couple of ways. If people move from blue states to red states that could simply boost the electoral votes and Congressional representation in the red states and lower the same of blue states (which is about to happen in Minnesota). But it's also possible that enough Democratic voters would move from the blue states to the red states to turn a few of them blue. It really depends on who's migrating. My guess is that the majority of people moving to red states are "red state people." (And I really hate the red state/blue state thing, but sometimes it's useful, even if it's simplistic.)


Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old Southknoxbubba.net (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

edens's picture

>it's also possible that

>it's also possible that enough Democratic voters would move from the >blue states to the red states to turn a few of them blue. It really >depends on who's migrating.

Hmmmm...

(link...)

Justin's picture

What happens when I make

What happens when I make love Yell  to myself? Are liberals gaining or losing?

 

R. Neal's picture

Maybe "liberals" are more

Maybe "liberals" are more cognizant of the ongoing overpopulation problem.

BlueNeck1's picture

It's all about turnout

In the end it doesn't matter how many liberals and conservatives are in the "potential" pool of voters. If you can increase the turnout of liberals you can win. The slippery slope is no liberal candidates = no liberal voters = no liberal winners = low liberal interest in politics = no liberal candidates... Chatter among liberal political junkies does not win elections. If you run hypothetical numbers a slightly above average liberal turnout can overcome a larger pool of conservatives who turn out in average numbers. Why vote?

WhitesCreek's picture

Human overpopulation is the

Human overpopulation is the reason our planet is headed toward catastrophe...But here's a vignette for you:

We have raised two boys well, as opposed to more badly. We are progressives married for 22 years.

On a recent bus trip with a soccer team we chatted with the driver who was a large, ok fat, man who turned out to have had three wives and six children, most of whom he had no ongoing contact with. He also turned out to be a rabid conservative...and dented the bus several times on the trip.

No moral judgement implied, just observing, but I do like the Kurt Vonnegut quote

" Look, we after two World Wars and the holocaust and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and after the Roman games and after the Spanish Inquisition and after burning witches, the public-- shouldn't we call it off? I mean, we are a disease and should be ashamed of ourselves.

And so, yeah, I think we ought to stop reproducing. But since we're not going to do that, I think the planet's immune system is trying to get rid of us. "

R. Neal's picture

Maybe if conservatives would

Maybe if conservatives would practice some of this "abstinence" they keep preaching we could level the playing field. On the other hand, we have Catholics.

DarthNader's picture

HAD catholics. And its

HAD catholics. And its slipping. No one is buying the crap anymore guys.

Factchecker's picture

"Shorter" (ahem)

"Shorter" (ahem) Les:  "Republicans have bigger balls, longer d*cks, and a hell of a lot more testosterone than liberals, the sickly wienies of society.  And we drive our Hummers to prove it.  By God."

_________________________________

Never has the left been so right.

SayUncle's picture

Shorter factchecker: When

Shorter factchecker:

When out of shit to say, go for the dick joke

Or maybe that's Robin Williams. I forget.

---
SayUncle
Can't we all just get a long gun?

Factchecker's picture

Shorter factchecker...go for

Shorter factchecker...go for the dick joke

Yeah, that's me.  Always the one doing blue humor on KnoxViews. 

Brian A.'s picture

Contra

There's also been people who have argued the exact opposite of the conclusion above, so I guess we'll find out when it happens. 

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Les Jones's picture

Brian:

I haven't read that book, but I notice it was written in 2002 and says "Judis and Teixeira predict that all these elements will converge by 2008, at the latest, when a new Democratic majority will emerge." Somehow I don't believe it. It sure didn't happen in 2004, and the Democrats will have to make a lot of progress in the next two elections to take back the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives.

I noticed they said that the white population is static (not growing). Maybe, but the composition of the white population has not been static - it's trending Republican.


Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old Southknoxbubba.net (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

Les Jones's picture

So, no one is concerned that

So, no one is concerned that Democrats seem to be a smaller and smaller part of the population?

True, it wouldn't surprise me if many Democrats had more money and more education - having kids curtails some educational opportunities, and it costs a lot of money to raise kids. Two counterpoints. As the article quoted above notes, even when corrected for education and income level, Dems are having fewer kids. Two, how much money you get to keep and how many degrees you get to accumulate isn't the point. The point is that if this trend continues the Dems are going to have a hard time controlling the White House or Congress. (And isn't saying "If you don't have kids you get to have more money and a nicer retirement home?" shallowly materialistic? I thought Republicans were the materialistic bastards.)

And doesn't this trend help explain a lot of differences between Dems and Repubs? If Repubs are more likely to be raising children, that would explain their different perspectives on social programs, national defense, taxes, and a host of other issues.

I don't think the Democrats are going the way of the Shakers, but these trends look very bad for Democrats.


Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old Southknoxbubba.net (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

Andy Axel's picture

"Raising children" -- I love

"Raising children" -- I love this term. Are they livestock?

In the conservabot dystopia, yes they are. They are little vessels into whom you pour all of your superstitions and beliefs, and they replicate them perfectly, and they go on to regenerate those beliefs throughout the generations. 2 becomes 4, 4 becomes 8, and so on and so on and so on (as the shampoo commercial says). Catholics and Mormons are high on this program of social engineering.

The thing is, beliefs aren't coded into DNA. Over time, children often reject their parents' bullshit. Time marches on. Things change. People learn over successive generations.

Overall, I get the feeling that this WSJ editorialist is pushing the same xenophobic theme as Pat Buchanan is putting forward lately -- that the white race is dying out on the North American continent, and this columnist is appealing to his liberal brethren to breed, breed, breed.

I recall Les riding this same tired hobbyhorse back on the ol' SKB blog, too. Something about how not only was it your biological imperative as a human creature, it was your utmost social duty as an American. Lest we suffer the same fate as the Dutch, who're supposedly being overrun by melanin-enhanced peoples of the Muslim persuasion or some such nonsense.

____________________________

"winkin' at my peers," quotin' Thurston.

Eleanor A's picture

Well, and here's where

it's even more full of holes: A third of the population increase in the U.S. each year is now due to immigration (and that's not counting illegal immigration). Moreover, the (more than) doubling of the U.S. population since 1950 is due to a much lower death rate than previous, not an explosion in the birthrate.

Many population experts predict whites to gain a minority status in many major cities in the next decade or two, because Hispanics have double the average number of children (3.6 as opposed to 1.8 for whites and Asians).

So, this GOP juggernaut materializes...how? Last polling numbers I saw, Hispanic support for the Bush Administration hovered around 19%. Blacks have about a third higher birthrate (2.5 or so children), and not many of those vote Republican, either.

R. Neal's picture

So, no one is concerned that

So, no one is concerned that Democrats seem to be a smaller and smaller part of the population?

No, because they aren't. There are just more states where the GOP has a tiny margin over Democrats, enough to fill seats in Congress and put a doofus in the White House.

Don't forget that Gore won the 2000 popular vote, and even with a clown like Kerry the popular vote was close in 2004, with Bush getting only 50.7% of the popular vote.

Really, the country is pretty equally divided, but GOP gerrymandering and swiftboating tactics give them an edge. In reality, more voters identify with the (alleged) Democratic position (whatever that is) on most issues that matter.

Which makes sense. There are a lot more working people than wealthy people and captains of industry. But the GOP has done a better job convincing working people that they, too, will be wealthy captains of industry some day if they just vote for more tax cuts, more war, more poverty, more sickness, more corruption, more no-bid sweetheart government contracts, more deficits, etc., etc.

rikki's picture

delivery past due

I think it's great that Republicans are birthing the generations whose earnings they have already spent.

Also, the apparent fact that being a Republican is genetic and people just can't help it explains a lot, for example, why Republicans still walk around talking about how they are the party of small government, balanced budgets and strong national defense, while reality shows the opposite. Still, I can't help but feel that a gene that makes people gullible and oblivious is bad for America, even if it's good for the Republican Party. I guess it's just a matter of where your loyalties reside.

Socialist With A Gold Card's picture

Les, here's the central

Les, here's the central fallacy in that piece:

Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections.

No, I don't think this is a "given." If you start from a flawed assumption, everything that follows is flawed. Where does this 80% number come from? Is Brooks saying that 80% of the population are unthinking sheep who simply do what Mommy & Daddy did, without ever thinking for themselves and forming their own opinions?

God help us all if that's true.

If that assumption were in fact true, then the South would never have switched so monumentally from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican over the last 40 years. The very success of the GOP's "Southern Strategy" proves Brooks to be full of it. People's opinions can actually be swayed, regardless of family habit.

There is certainly an epidemic of stupid in this country right now, but I don't think it has much to do with blindly following family tradition.

--Socialist With A Gold Card


"I'm a socialist with a gold card. I firmly believe we need a revolution; I'm just concerned that I won't be able to get good moisturizer afterwards." --Brett Butler

Anonymous's picture

Back off and let those men

Back off and let those men who want to marry men, marry men.

Allow those women who want to marry women, marry women.

Allow those folks who want to abort their babies, abort their babies.

In three generations, there will be no Democrats!!!

I love it when a plan comes together!

zoomfactor's picture

A small detail

Anonymous exclaims: "In three generations, there will be no Democrats!!!"

Don't count your blessings yet, chief. You are assuming that we will still have "elections."

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