Weekly Digest: The Party of Single Women
Welcome to my weekly digest for November 11, 2022.
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The Party of Single Women
CNN’s House of Representatives exit polls from the Tuesday election had one finding that triggered a lot of discussion. It was the vote by sex and marital status.
Unmarried women were the only group Democrats carried, and they had the greatest skew of any of those groups. There are two conclusions we can draw from this. The first is that once we look at marital status, we don’t see the type of strong gender polarization that some observers say has taken place in Korea. There, some argue men are conservative, women are progressive. Here we see that married men and women are both Republican, and that while single men are as well, it’s not by much. Married women are more conservative than single men. I wonder if similar results would hold in Korea if marital status were factored in.
Second, the Democratic party is structurally aligned with a post-familial world. Simply put, greater family formation rates would be bad for them politically because of their dependence on single women. Hence we should expect them to be positive towards policies that encourage long term or permanent singleness, and that discourage marriage. We should also expect them not to support policies that would materially support increased family formation rates. Brookings Senior Fellow Richard Reeves, author of the new book Of Boys and Men that I am planning to review soon, is an example of a Democratic thinker who is at peace with post-familialism. Conversely, if you promote long term singleness or post-familialism, you are supporting the Democratic party.
Results by age are also interesting:
As expected, younger voters skew Democratic. To me it’s interesting that Gen Z are less Democratic than the latest Millennials. Perhaps that will be a somewhat more conservative generation. It would be interesting to cross-correlate the more conservative 30-39 vote with family formation in light of the above findings on sex and marital status. Millennials married later, but as they do get married, they may shift to a more conservative posture. Perhaps the politics of the future will depend in part on how many Millennials land the plane to marriage.
A lot of the exit poll results are what you’d expect, but there are some other interesting nuggets in there. Rather than try to reproduce it all here, I’ll just say to please click over to read for yourself.
Since the election consumed the news this week, I didn’t find as much other good stuff as I ordinarily would have. I will, however. highlight this piece from Kirsten Sanders called “After After Virtue.”
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New Content and Media Mentions
Tim Keller mentions me and the three worlds framework in a new piece at Mere Orthodoxy. I didn’t actually watch the interview he engages with, but I agree with a lot of this. And whle I haven’t yet personally said much about communication approaches (aka “winsomeness”), it’s one where I have work in development, so stay tuned.
This week’s Life, Books, and Everything podcast with Kevin DeYoung, Collin Hansen, and Justin Taylor has an extended segment on my three worlds model starting at around 33:20.
Rod Dreher gaves me a mention in his writeup on the election. So did Carmel Richardson, also at The American Conservative.
Tim Challies includes me in one of his recent roundups.
New this week:
I wrote about recent criticism of my three worlds model.
I also gave a post-mortem on Tuesday’s election. Note that while I think many (not all) socially conservative positions are unpopular, I don’t think they are “bad for business” as some claim. See also below.
My Monday podcast this week was a call to stay prudentially engaged in politics, with a number of ways to think about voting. Obviously no longer relevant for Tuesday, but some of the content is evergreen. Paid subscribers can read the transcript. Remember: I’m the person who told you multiple times before the election that the majority of people probably want abortion to be legal at some level.
At American Reformer, Luke Macias looks at polling data correlating voting preference with theology. And Josh Abbotoy writes about the managerial revolution in Middle Earth.
With regards to social conservatism and talent/business attraction, New York magazine published a piece about progressives leaving Austin ofter Texas’ conservative policy turn. This progressive University of Texas professor pointed out that Tuesday’s election results belie this claim.
They definitely hate socially conservative policies, and there are always going to be people who’ll run to the media to serve as anecdotes to eager reporters. But I haven’t seen much evidence in today’s world those policies materially affect talent and business location decisions in most cases.
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Aaron, when I read critical reactions to your three worlds framework I keep coming back to this thought. It seems to me that America was negative towards various aspects of Christian faith throughout the 20th century. The issues shift somewhat, and the culture may oppose more or fewer Christian doctrines at different times, but this shifting and sliding isn't what you're getting at with the three-worlds model. The thing that's new about this new era is that Christian *identity* (not just doctrine) is now opposed. The institutions of society are openly, and *self-consciously* anti-Christian. I think the distinction between doctrine and identity might be helpful to some. Now we know that many influential Americans were anti-Christian throughout the previous century, but they have now "come out of the closet," so to speak. The self-consciousness is important too. Suppressing Christian identity is not quite official policy, but it is a conscious intention. The revealing contrast here is the treatment Islam gets from the same people and institutions.
Aaron, no excuse for not watching that Australian pastor interview. The segment is 5 minutes and very relevant to your interests. I'll even serve you up the link:
The Keller piece was thoughtful, and here he doesn't really seem to be denying Negative World, which he calls "a deepening post-Christendom" -- fair enough.