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The Ant and the Cricket
by Michael R. Bowen, M.D.
29 January 2004Democrat Donkey

A survey of the demographics of the presidential candidates' supporters reveals some interesting differences between Republicans and Democrats.

The Union Leader ran an interesting story last week from the Washington Post, reporting on a survey of the demographics of the current presidential candidates' supporters.  The investigators tracked campaign donations back to their originating ZIP code, and then characterized the donors on the basis of the general ambience of that ZIP.

One segment of donors had a $54,117 median income, and were predominantly single and living alone.  Another segment was described as "upwardly mobile, college-educated young singles."  To no one's surprise, these people plunked overwhelmingly for Howard Dean.

Sen. Kerry's contributors were not much different: young professionals driving upscale cars, living in condominiums, few or no children, most with postgraduate degrees.  There was also a category of wealthy inherited-money types, called the "Blue-Blood Estates" or the "Upper Crust," all heavy Democrat donors. Dick Gephardt was the interesting exception (and look what happened to him): he drew his money from city dwellers who were older and had lower incomes ($25,866) or were more prosperous but had already raised their children and were classified as "New Empty Nests."

President Bush, on the other hand, tended to draw his money from people with high incomes ($92,163) who were frequently business owners or corporate executives, or from the 25-to-34-year-old couples with large families living in suburbs.

Now, this study isn't without methodological flaws. I don't know about your hometown, but here in Wolfeboro, NH there are people within fifty feet of each other, in the same ZIP code, from completely different backgrounds with opposite political beliefs and drastically different incomes.  So the underlying assumption of the study should be taken with a grain of salt.  Or two.  Also, it's really not a picture of the voters as a whole, but of the small subset who donate money to political campaigns.  But with that in mind, what do these data tell us?

That the typical Democrat donor is single, married without kids, or with very few.  Coupled with their notorious love affair with abortion, this does not bode well for the future population of Democrats.  Meanwhile, the Republicans are breeding like rabbits.  Reminds me of someone's recent finding of a surprisingly broad opposition to abortion among young people today, which he explained by the fact that the pro-abortion people weren't having children!

Bush donors tend to own businesses and produce jobs, but the fans of Dean, Kerry, et al. let someone else build while they draw a salary -- or they're sitting on grandfather's fortune and have never needed to earn their own living. And the Democrats are far less likely to bind themselves down by buying a house; they live in city apartments or condos.  Unless, of course, they inherited the family estate. This is all of a piece with the liberal persona: there may be global warming, so we must all drive less and use less fossil fuel.  America has made mistakes in some of its past global interventions, so we must never go to war again.  Some of our "miracle" products have turned out to be dangerous, so we must not genetically engineer our food even though millions are hungry worldwide.  Large amounts of a chemical in the water are dangerous, so we must make sure that the least trace of it is never released.  We're worried about handling the burdens of parenthood, so let's get an abortion.  It's never "there's a problem, but we'll attack it and whip it;" it's retreat, withdraw, retrench, surrender.

So while the Republicans tend to commit, to build, to earn, and to reproduce, the Democrats stay childless either through avoiding commitment or practicing abortion.  They work in someone else's business instead of starting their own, and while they don't earn as much, they are free to enjoy travel and night life. It all makes one think of the fable of the Ant and the Cricket: committing to nothing, tackling nothing, producing nothing for the future in either material or human form, Democrats are bound to dwindle to nothing unless they change.  Right now, they are the Dead-End Party.

Michael R. Bowen practices Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine, and has a weekly column on America's Voices

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