If you want political capital, make babies. It’s an age-old tactic. If you can’t beat ’em, outbreed ’em. Eighteen years from that beautiful day in the hospital, American kids are eligible to vote and the vast majority of those kids vote for the same candidates as their parents. As such, procreation is a strong move in favor of one’s party. From there, it’s simple math. Six kids are six votes. One kid is one vote. Zero kids is nothing at all.
That math poses a problem for liberals, who are simply not having enough babies. Arthur Brooks, a social scientist at Syracuse University in New York, first brought the problem to national attention in 2006. “The political right is having a lot more kids than the political left,” he told ABC News “The gap is actually 41 percent.” And more recent studies suggest that though 70 percent of teens vote like their parents and people in prime child-having years tend slightly Democratic, the overall trend may be conservative because Republicans are getting after it.
Now, it’s not entirely clear that liberals aren’t reproducing and, as far as we can tell, no studies have specifically addressed how Americans vote relative to family size. But preliminary studies and anecdotal evidence do hint at a trend. Data from the General Social Survey suggests that a random sample of 100 liberal adults can be expected to raise 147 children, while a random sample of 100 conservative adults can be expected to produce 208 kids. That may be because liberals tend to be city-dwellers, a population known for small families, while conservatives tend to live in rural and suburban communities (and, of course, eschew birth control and abortions).
Does this mean that liberal couples need to get cracking on the baby making? Maybe. Some scholars are starting to argue against the received (and data-supported) wisdom that children will predictably side with their parents. If that’s true, persuasion might prove more important than fornication. If not, there’s really only one course of action to assure long-term results.
“Have babies!” Brooks told the liberals mourning his findings. “Forgo the cat, have kids.”