So says Arthur C. Brooks in a new editorial from the Wall Street Journal, and the numbers are compelling.
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.
Liberal Values points out another article about this phenomenon from Phillip Longman in this month’s issue of Foreign Policy. An excerpt:
TomorrowÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s children, therefore, unlike members of the postwar baby boom generation, will be for the most part descendants of a comparatively narrow and culturally conservative segment of society. To be sure, some members of the rising generation may reject their parentsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ values, as often happens. But when they look for fellow secularists with whom to make common cause, they will find that most of their would-be fellow travelers were quite literally never born.
Now here’s the thing. I think that this trend is most likely going to even out. Why? Because liberals will start attracting more and more of the devout after the abortion and gay issues fall by the wayside. And those issues will fall by the wayside. They’ve been around for too long and people are simply growing tired of them. And that means Christians will start to embrace more social justice issues. We’re seeing this in groups like the Sojourners and politicians like Kerry Horn. And as recent commenter pointed out in a post about Kerry Horn:
For so long conservative Christians have been voting based on abortion & sex = morality issues. Although we all can easily support these moral issues on biblical grounds we often wink at other very important domestic issues such as jobs, healthcare, poverty, Social Security, and our overall economic welfare in the name of being Christian. We wrap a flag around anything we perceive as moral, and generating huge profits, all the while turning a blind eye to the hardship that our own low and middle income citizens are enduring. If Jesus were physically among us and ministering to us right now, with whom would He be walking each day? The New Testament gives us a pretty good idea about that. Maybe there is something to this pastor afterall. As a Christian and fellow Texas Bapist, I pray there is.
However, for the moderates, Polimom poses an appropriate question:
Clearly those colored models of DNA strands included blues and reds for a reason, but what, then, am I to conclude about myself ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? a moderate independent who is the product of a liberal and a conservative.
Is purple recessive, do you think? Or a mutation?
Well, if the polls are correct, isn’t moderate independent the dominant gene that has to chose between two political mutations?