September 28, 2006


'Fertility gap' helps explain political divide (Dennis Cauchon, 9/28/06, USA TODAY)

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic mother of five from San Francisco, has fewer children in her district than any other member of Congress: 87,727.

Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, a Mormon father of eight, represents the most children: 278,398.

These two extremes reflect a stark demographic divide between the congressional districts controlled by the major political parties. [...]

GOP Congress members represent 39.2 million children younger than 18, about 7 million more than Democrats. Republicans average 7,000 more children per district. seems like the party that keeps adding people has a long term advantage over the one that keeps subtracting. Even if there is political mileage to be made out of being nothing but reactionary--which seems unlikely--it's hard to believe there's much to be gotten from reacting against humanity.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2006 2:52 PM

Interesting and of obvious importance, but can a congressman be said to "represent" children in any meaningful sense? I didn't keep re-electing Bob Kerrey.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 28, 2006 7:53 PM

He still represented you in DC

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2006 8:13 PM


I've always assumed that a politician represents the voters, as the opinions of those who can't vote doesn't count for much. Slaves may have been counted to some extent in the national censuses prior to the Civil War, but no southern legislator ought to be portrayed as seriously representing their interests.

Note that few folks would have called me a "constituent" of any politician when I was 13 years old, even though I was rooting for the GOP from the sidelines during November of 1994.

(I should note that my previous comment was slightly incorrect, as Kerrey was re-elected once.)

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 29, 2006 6:08 PM

Of course you were a constituent, as were even those who voted against him. The essence of representative government is that elected officials are capable of representing the general interest.

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2006 6:15 PM


If their responsibility lies with those who do not vote for or against them, then their highest obligation would be to promote their country's interest when it conflicts with sectional interests. If so, then children in states half a continent away are their constituents, which makes the term meaningless; if not, then their constituents are the voters of their state or district, which means my 13-year old self was excluded.

Of course, expecting a typical politician to admirably care about the welfare of people who don't vote is probably utopian.

So you'd say the slaves were constituents? That, too, makes the term meaningless.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 29, 2006 7:59 PM

No, they don't represent their country, just their district.

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2006 8:13 PM