Thursday, September 5, 2013

NYT Worries about that Emerging Democratic Majority

President Obama's winning coalition is a wonderful thing to liberals.  But how durable is it?  In "How Fragile Is the New Democratic Coalition?" Thomas B. Edsall runs the numbers for the New York Times faithful and worries whether it will all last.

A key part of the Obama majority, according to Edsall, was what Ron Lesthaeghe and Lisa Neidert of the University of Michigan Population Studies Center call the Second Demographic Transition, i.e. people who practice and preach "postponement of marriage, greater prevalence of cohabitation and same-sex households, postponement of parenthood, sub-replacement fertility, and a higher incidence of abortion."  In other words, liberals.

And, of course, any young person that goes to government schools, and in particular the secular seminaries we call "university," is likely to be carefully taught in the ways of the Second Demographic Transition.  Unless they have a crusty old Dad at home they are likely to become liberal fellow travelers.  Because that's the default thing to do.

To conservatives, all this looks like the "Life of Julia" broadcast by the Obamis in 2012.

Of course, long term, we conservatives understand that the practice of the life of Julia means not a Demographic Transition but a demographic extinction.  Come to childless liberal Seattle to experience that.  The lesson it provides to conservatives is that the culture of nearly all religions makes sense.  Society needs to jog its young and its not-so-young away from the culture of expression and Do Your Own Thing into more socially beneficial channels, ones that encourages and supports marriage formation, childbearing, and child-raising.

But in the near term, I wonder if the Second Demographic Transition and the Julias and Julians within it will get off the Democratic coalition before it's too late.

It makes sense for the liberal ruling class to promote secularism, cohabitation, abortion and all the rest.  It makes sense precisely as advertised in The Life of Julia.  A person living that kind of life needs big government.

But it doesn't make sense for anyone that feels the conservative instinct, that we, the generation of the living, have a duty to the generations of ancestors and the generations yet unborn.  We know that the only thing that matters is to get children on the ground and grandchildren after them.

The problem for the liberal fellow travelers is that big government doesn't give a damn about Julia, or anything else beyond Julia's next vote in the next election. Liberal politicians tell the young, the minority, the female that they care about them.  Then why are incomes declining in the Obama years, for all but the top 20 percent like me that are floating on the Fed's QE3?  Why are things worst for the young, the minorities, and for women, as Stephen Moore writes in the Wall Street Journal?

OK.  If that is so then why did the young and the minority and the female vote for Obama in 2012?

Look, there's a good argument that the November 2012 election came at the last moment that ordinary people could believe in the golden words of our president, that he cared about people like the young, the minority, the women.  The reality is that the spending, regulation, and subsidy of big government end up helping people with pull, not the average person trying to make it out in the outer suburbs, and if you believe that politicians care about you, I gotta bridge to sell you.

Back in the 2000s and the Obama years thus far conservatives couldn't advance their argument against the conventional wisdom that the Democrats were the natural home of the young and the minority and the female, because nobody was getting hurt.  Not yet.  Of course the temperature was going to cool and the seas were going to recede.  Of course free contraception was just the ticket for a frisky young woman.  Of course the Democrats cared about minorities while the Republicans were country-club racists.

And the mainstream media wasn't going to disabuse anyone of the Democrats' political line.

Back then conservatives and Republicans knew that it all had to end in tears.  Settled science, you know.

In fact, economist Ronald Coase's death on Monday reminds us that government regulation doesn't usually result in better outcomes than the free market.  You could look it up, under "The Problem of Social Cost".  Economics 101.

We conservatives know that anti-natal culture, of sexual self-expression and abortion and single-parent families, is a dead end.  Math 101.

We know that the permanent campaign, the desideratum of community organizers everywhere, is a dead end, because if you divide people too much into us and them, then they will take the hint and actually divide up in civil war. Politics 101.

We know that the politics of free stuff runs out when the free stuff runs out, and it always does. Margaret Thatcher 101.

But we understand that it is hard for young people, minorities, and women to get this.  They haven't been around the course a couple of times.

Well, they are half way around the course for the first time right now, and my prediction is that by the time they complete that learning experience there will be a lot fewer Democrats in the pack than there were when they started out.

That's why they say when anything goes wrong: "minorities and women hardest hit."  Because they are the most dependent on government.

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