Should parents' votes count more?

Vance has good reason to believe that giving parents an extra vote or two — or three or four, or more — might empower conservatives at the expense of Democrats. The Institute for Family Studies, a “pro-natalist” think tank, found that during the 2020 election, pro-Joe Biden counties had fertility rates 25 percent lower than counties that went for Donald Trump. “Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, increasingly inhabit different worlds in terms of family life,” the demographer Lyman Stone wrote in an IFS blog post after the election. Given how close the presidential vote margin can be in swing states, it’s not hard to imagine that stacking the deck in favor of parents might produce more GOP-friendly results in the future.

But the effect of marriage and child-rearing on one’s political preferences might be more complicated than it seems at first glance. Research has shown that parenthood can have particularly “liberalizing effects” on mothers, for example, although it’s a bit of a toss-up whether having daughters, in particular, makes parents more likely to lean left. One new study has shown that married men shifted dramatically in favor of Democrats during the 2020 election — cutting Trump’s lead in the demographic down to 10 percentage points, much smaller than his 30-point margin four years earlier…

But I have a more personal reason for being skeptical of the success of Vance’s scheme: I’m a parent, and I tend to vote for Democrats. That was true before my son was born, but I’m increasingly worried about the world he is going to inherit, and I trust liberals far more than conservatives to bring about a future in which he can survive and thrive.

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