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.