Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More on Liberal Birthrates

In There is No Liberal Baby Bust, Froma Harrop dismisses Phillip Longman’s argument from last week that lower birthrates among liberals promise a brighter future for conservatives. Ms. Harrop argues (of course) that Longman’s scientific method was bad. Comparing Wyoming (pop. 509,000) with California (pop. 36 million) and saying that the birthrate is 12% higher in Wyoming does not prove much, she says. Also, she makes a big point of trying to prove that Longman and other conservative optimists make their case by ignoring the birthrates among minorities. "Thing is," Ms. Harrop argues, "minorities don’t really exist in the school of conservative optimism." (Yes, of course, we evil conservatives don’t even count the births of non-white people, do we?) Arrrrggghhhh!

But Ms. Harrop seems to be doing some of her own assuming and she is forgetting one big thing. First, the thing assumed: high birth rates among minorities mean bad things for conservatives because Democrats are always going to do better with minorities. I wouldn’t be so sure, if I were her. The problem for Harrop is that affiliation with the Democratic party does not always equal liberal--especially when it comes to social issues among religious minorities. Many people who vote Democrat are otherwise conservative (and, to be fair, the reverse is also sometimes true). The question may be how long can the Dems hold on to these voters with their empty promises?

But the big thing Harrop is forgetting is the electoral college. If conservatives continue to outproduce liberals at a 12% clip, the smallness of Red states in comparison to big California or big New York isn’t going to make that much of a difference. They can have those states, as far as I’m concerned. Their number of electoral votes may go up some if the population there explodes as she predicts--but not so much that they can expect to carry Presidential elections satisfying a liberal constituency only. This is all the more true when you consider that the predicted population boom in those states is NOT expected to come "from their white people" (to borrow Harrop’s phraseology) but from Hispanic and Asian immigrants. I, for one, am not so sure the political affiliations of these two groups are as settled as Ms. Harrop might hope.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Harrop certainly gets one thing right, though:

This is all a silly discussion, because political views are not inherited.

The notion that Republicans are going to take over because they have more children really is "silly". If (somehow) the ideology of Americans shifts to a more liberal view of politics (or, to give you all the benefit of the doubt, continues to swing more conservative), Americans will vote for the candidate who most exemplifies this view.

For the record, though, I think that "maternity-ward doctors stamping "Republican" on all those cute little bottoms" would be pretty funny to watch . . .

"The question may be how long can the Dems hold on to these voters with their empty promises?"

Maybe forever if the other side doesn’t promise anything. I’m in such a situation now, running for office and wondering if or how to appeal to seniors and single mothers by promising them whatever their hearts desire. If I don’t pander, the Dems pick them up by default IF they vote and the Dems are going all out to make sure they do.

If I don’t pander, the Dems pick them up by default...Comment 2 by cassandra


Don’t pander to the unwed mothers. Connect with as many organizations as you can which help unwed mothers help themselves to become self sufficient. Connect with unwed mothers who have made their own lives better without hand-outs from the government. Vow to do your best to help dependent unwed mothers to work their ways out of their dilemas in the same way.

Then pander to the old folks.

And by all means, continue to ignore the problem of unwed fathers.

And by all means, continue to ignore the problem of unwed fathers. Comment 4 by Fung

The plight of unwed fathers stems, in large part, to "Aid to Families with Dependent Children," welfare paid to the mothers on behalf of the children. A county will pay this to the mother for years, then prosecute the father for child support of 1 or more children, trying to force the father to compensate the county for the welfare it gave the mother. Occasionally, a father will be prosecuted for child support of children he didn’t even know he’d sired. "It’s for the children." That is the fiction the county exercises. It isn’t for the children, it’s for the county.


Wouldn’t a campaign dedicated, in part to helping unwed mothers stay, or get, off welfare also benefit unwed fathers who would be prosecuted for compensation to the county for the welfare it paid the mother?

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