Monday, December 19, 2005

Demographics is the future

Chris Walton over at Philocrites comments on my post with Paul Douglas and the filibuster saying,

...right now, the minority party in the Senate represents the majority of the U.S. population. It's the large states, with urban centers, that are the home turf of the liberals you enjoy criticizing. But because the Constitution stacks the Senate against these very states -- only two votes for you, New York -- Douglas could never have made this particular charge against the current Senate.

Check out Charles Mahtesian writing in the latest issue of Government Executive on Fertile Ground. If the minority party represents the majority of the population, it's not going to last for long.
In the Northeast, the Democratic Party's stronghold, men and women marry later, on average, than in any other region, and the Northeastern states feature some of the highest levels of unmarried-couple households in the nation. Marriage rate data reveal similarly stark distinctions: Red states dominate the top of the chart while blue states are clustered at the low end.

These figures would be nothing more than curiosities if they weren't so portentous. Democratic strength is concentrated in states with low fertility and low marriage rates, which wouldn't be a problem if these places were attracting large numbers of new residents. But most are not, at least when compared with the fastest-growing states, and that will have consequences after the next decennial census when congressional seats (and thus electoral votes) are reallocated according to population. Based on 2004 population estimates, Poli-data of Lake Ridge, Va., a political data analysis firm, projects that nine states will lose House seats after the next census - all but two of them voted for Kerry. Seven will gain seats - all but one of them carried by Bush. In 2012, even if every state voted the same way it did in 2004, there would be a net gain of six electoral votes for the GOP ticket based on these projections.
It's going to be a long time talking and filibustering with these kinds of trends.

And take a look at The Economist's comparison a while back of Hastert and Pelosi's congressional districts. Which one would the resolutely egalitarian Paul Douglas have envisioned as America's best future?
There is also a class difference. Mr Hastert's district is as resolutely middle-class as it is cheerfully mid-American. A few businessmen live in multi-million-dollar houses, and send their children to private schools. But most people send their children to public schools, shop in giant shopping malls and eat in chain restaurants. The region's varied economy means that you do not need a higher degree to get ahead: people do well in farms and factories as well as in office suites. And the almost universal commitment to the public schools reinforces the sense of equality. Sue Klinkhamer, the mayor of St Charles, points out that her local school district is so big that people living on fairly modest incomes can send their children to the same schools as do millionaires.

San Francisco is both higher- and lower-class. The city is home to some of the richest people in the country, many of them, like the Hearsts, Haases and Crockers, the heirs to rather than the creators of huge fortunes. It also has a disproportionate number of single professionals with big disposable incomes. Yet it is also host to one of the country's biggest concentrations of homeless people. Over 8,000 of them, perhaps twice that number, many drug-addicted or mentally ill, live on the streets. “A mixture of Carmel and Calcutta”, is the verdict of Kevin Starr, California's state librarian, on his native city.
Cheerfully egalitarian, growing, attracting immigrants, (Kane County one third hispanic now) is the way to go.


Anonymous said...

perhaps you would like to correct that. It isn't Philocrates. it is Philocrites
and you do have the link correct.

Bill Baar said...