The Thinking 

The Fluke Vote

December 5, 2012


JONATHAN V. LAST,  at The Weekly Standard, closely analyses the role of single, unmarried voters in the recent election, a subject which has been discussed here before. The number of single voters increased by a remarkable six percentage points from 2008. Last writes:

To put this in some perspective, the wave of Hispanic voters we’ve heard so much about increased its share of the total vote from 2008 to 2012 by a single point, roughly 1.27 million voters. Meanwhile, that 6 percentage point increase meant 7.6 million more single voters than in 2008. They provided Obama with a margin of 2.9 million votes, about two-thirds of his margin of victory. Back in 2010, [Ruy] Teixera noted that 47 percent of all women are now unmarried, up from 38 percent in 1970. “Their current size in the voter pool​—​more than a quarter of eligible voters​—​is nearly the size of white evangelical Protestants, who are perhaps the GOP’s largest base group,” he writes. “And since the current growth rate of the population of unmarried women is relatively high (double that of married women), the proportion of unmarried women in the voting pool should continue to increase.” In the medium run, he’s almost certainly correct.

After asserting that the number of single voters is only likely to grow and illustrating its formidable influence as a leftist bloc, Last then makes this cock-eyed recommendation:

Instead of trying to bribe single America into voting Republican, Republicans might do better by making the argument​—​to all Americans​—​that marriage is a pillar of both freedom and liberalism. That it is an arrangement which ought to be celebrated, nurtured, and defended because its health is integral to the success of our grand national experiment. And that Julia and her boyfriend ought to go ahead and tie the knot.

Last seems to be saying that pro-marriage rhetoric is enough. He should go back and read Patrick Moynihan’s report on the demise of the black family. People who think that marriage can be resurrected by preaching its virtues are oblivious to the nature of government-sponsored disincentives to marry. Preaching hasn’t worked for the black family and it won’t work for the white family either (except for those at the top). As long as our government sustains single mothers, as long as family courts continue to strip spouses of their assets and children when they have done no wrong, preaching is an exercise in fatuous denial. Republicans are not likely to address those fundamental issues. Why? Because it will lose them the single vote.

In a just democracy, those who are unmarried would not have the right to vote.


— Comments —

Laura writes:

I wrote, “The number of single voters increased by a remarkable six percentage points from 2008.”

But there is nothing remarkable about it. The breakdown in marriage has been reported endlessly. Why would we expect otherwise? We live in a culture which ceaselessly promotes competition, rather than cooperation, between the sexes. Indeed, it would be remarkable if these numbers were not so high.

Kevin M., who is unmarried, writes:

“In a just democracy, those who are unmarried would not have the right to vote.”

Agree 100 percent (with the possible exception of singles who served in uniform).

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