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Ed Driscoll

It’s Still the Demography, Stupid

December 19th, 2010 - 2:15 am

As Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit writes, “Bad News For Dems… Ultra-Blue States Continue to Lose Population to Red States — Texas Will Gain 4 House Seats.”

The census report coming out on Tuesday is expected to give Republicans more good news as the US population continues to shift from ultra-blue states to more conservative southern Sun Belt states.
The AP reported:

The 2010 census report coming out Tuesday will include a boatload of good political news for Republicans and grim data for Democrats hoping to re-elect President Barack Obama and rebound from last month’s devastating elections.

The population continues to shift from Democratic-leaning Rust Belt states to Republican-leaning Sun Belt states, a trend the Census Bureau will detail in its once-a-decade report to the president. Political clout shifts, too, because the nation must reapportion the 435 House districts to make them roughly equal in population, based on the latest census figures.

The biggest gainer will be Texas, a GOP-dominated state expected to gain up to four new House seats, for a total of 36. The chief losers — New York and Ohio, each projected by nongovernment analysts to lose two seats — were carried by Obama in 2008 and are typical of states in the Northeast and Midwest that are declining in political influence.

Meanwhile, back in the Blue States, in 2005, James Taranto spotted an AP report on the dearth of Frisco Families:

“San Francisco has the smallest share of small-fry of any major U.S. city,” the Associated Press reports. “Just 14.5 percent of the city’s population is 18 and under.” The AP dispatch attributes the small number of children to high housing costs and Frisco’s high prevalence of nonprocreative sexual orientations. Not mentioned is the Roe effect. The AP also describes how the city is responding:

Determined to change things, Mayor Gavin Newsom has put the kid crisis near the top of his agenda, appointing a 27-member policy council to develop plans for keeping families in the city. . . .Newsom has expanded health insurance for the poor to cover more people under 25, and created a tax credit for working families. And voters have approved measures to patch up San Francisco’s public schools, which have seen enrollment drop from about 62,000 to 59,000 since 2000.

One voter initiative approved up to $60 million annually to restore public school arts, physical education and other extras that state spending no longer covers. Another expanded the city’s Children’s Fund, guaranteeing about $30 million a year for after-school activities, child care subsidies and other programs.

So the lack of children is a reason to spend more taxpayer money on schools and other programs for kids. If there were more kids, would that be a reason to spend less? The question answers itself, doesn’t it? As Ronald Reagan once observed, “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this Earth.”

Five years later, in case you’re wondering if San Francisco is still number one on this unfortunate list, and who number two might be, the Newsalert blog has you covered. “Young, hip Seattle still very short on children,” they note, linking to a Seattle Times report:

There’s something missing from many Seattle neighborhoods: the sound of children’s laughter.

Recent census data indicate Seattle is continuing a decades-long trend of having the lowest concentration of children among all the major U.S. cities, except San Francisco.

Less than 20 percent of all Seattle households included children younger than 18, compared with 34 percent nationally and 33 in Washington state.

Seattle also has one of the nation’s highest rates of married couples without children and one of the highest rates of people living alone.

On the eve of last month’s liberal electoral shellacking, Ronald Radosh pondered “The Disappearance of the Emerging Democratic Majority:”

In 2004, John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira wrote an acclaimed and seemingly prescient book, The Emerging Democratic Majority. Their thesis was based on a demographic analysis, which led them to predict the end of any future Republican ascendancy. As Judis summed up their thesis after the Obama landslide of 2008, Obama’s “election is the culmination of a Democratic realignment that began in the 1990s, was delayed by September 11, and resumed with the 2006 election. This realignment is predicated on a change in political demography and geography. Groups that had been disproportionately Republican have become disproportionately Democratic, and red states like Virginia have turned blue. Underlying these changes has been a shift in the nation’s ‘fundamentals’–in the structure of society and industry, and in the way Americans think of their families, jobs, and government. The country is no longer ‘America the conservative.’  And, if Obama acts shrewdly to consolidate this new majority, we may soon be ‘America the liberal.’”  Therefore, those commentators who argued that the United States was still a center/right nation were dead wrong.

The realignment, according to the two authors, took place reflecting  “the shift that began decades ago toward a post-industrial economy centered in large urban-suburban metropolitan areas devoted primarily to the production of ideas and services rather than material goods.” And living in these areas were the three main groups that composed the new Democratic majority: professionals, minorities, and women. With Obama’s victory, Judis predicted, a national crisis would produce “popular willingness to entertain dramatic initiatives.” And, moreover, President Obama would not “face the same formidable adversaries” that had faced Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton in previous Democratic administrations.

As for Judis’ advice to the new president, he argued Obama should not move slowly and opt for incremental reforms but move forcefully to a full-fledged commitment to the kind of fundamental transformation of America he promised his left-wing base.

Skip ahead to the present — a scant two years later. The reality today is precisely the opposite of what John B. Judis predicted. His permanent Democratic majority has turned out to be illusory. As a front-page story in The New York Times explained, the coalition that gave Obama his electoral majority in 2008 is fraying apart at the seams. As the story noted, “Republicans have wiped out the advantage held by Democrats in recent election cycles among women, Roman Catholics, less affluent Americans and independents. All of those groups broke for Mr. Obama in 2008 and for Congressional Democrats when they grabbed both chambers from the Republicans four years ago, according to exit polls.”

And it seems rather difficult to build an emerging Democratic majority when two of the most prominent “liberal” cities in America (very much in name only, given the mammoth regulatory mazes and bureaucratic armies these cities come equipped with) have such poor future demographics. Or as Mark Steyn, who inspired our headline above with this classic 2006 article, wrote about Europe’s similar (and not at all coincidental) demographic woes, “what’s the point of creating a secular utopia if it’s only for one generation?”

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