James Taranto of The Opinion Journal's Best of the Web (scroll down) returns to his Roe effect theme today.
You read it here first, in January 2003. Now the Washington Post and the center-left New America Foundation have noticed the Roe effect, though they don't actually call it that. From a Post op-ed by the foundation's Phillip Longman:
High fertility . . . correlates strongly with support for George W. Bush. Of the top 10 most fertile states, all but one voted for Bush in 2000. Among the 17 states that still produce enough children to replace their populations, all but two--Iowa and Minnesota--voted for Bush in the last election. Conversely, the least fertile states--a list that includes Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Connecticut--went overwhelmingly for Al Gore. Women living in Gore states on average have 12 percent fewer babies than women living in Bush states. . . .
In states where Bush won a popular majority in 2000, the average woman bears 2.11 children in her lifetime--which is enough to replace the population. In states where Gore won a majority of votes in 2000, the average woman bears 1.89 children, which is not enough to avoid population decline. Indeed, if the Gore states seceded from the Bush states and formed a new nation, it would have the same fertility rate, and the same rapidly aging population, as France--that bastion of "old Europe." . . .
When secular-minded Americans decide to have few if any children, they unwittingly give a strong evolutionary advantage to the other side of the culture divide. Sure, some children who grow up in fundamentalist families will become secularists, and vice versa. But most people, particularly if they have children, wind up with pretty much the same religious and political orientations as their parents. If "Metros" don't start having more children, America's future is "Retro."
This is almost a call to arms for liberal women to start bearing more children. With unions fading as a political force, the Democratic Party may have to hope for a different kind of labor support.