The latest ignorant MAGA culture war attack: Demonizing ‘the childless left’
"Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance, who is seeking the GOP nomination in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, has found a new culture war attack that's dumb even by MAGA standards: demonizing liberals, progressives and Democrats who don't have biological children of their own — and he is arguing that Democrats who don't have children shouldn't hold public office because they don't "have a stake" in the United States' future.
Vance wasn't always a MAGA Republican. Back in 2016, Vance cynically said that if Donald Trump won the election, it would be terrible for the U.S. but would help him sell a lot of books. Trump's presidency, just as Vance predicted, was a disaster. And he continued to show his cynicism by flip-flopping and becoming a full-fledged MAGA Republican.
Now, Vance, who has been praising Hungarian strongman Viktor Orbán as a role model for the U.S., is hoping that attacking "the childless left" will boost his U.S. Senate campaign in Ohio. The Democrats he has singled out include Vice President Kamala Harris (who he has described as a "cat lady"), Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City. Of course, he neglects to mention that are plenty of far-right Republicans who never had kids, including author Ann Coulter and the late Rush Limbaugh.
We singles live empty lives of quiet desperation and will die alone. Now Rubio is demanding that we also fund happy… https://t.co/cVSg02o1UQ— Ann Coulter (@Ann Coulter) 1513356341.0
During a conversation with MAGA Republican and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, Vance argued, "We need more American children because American families, American children are good for us. They make fathers more invested — there's all kinds of research on this. They make our economy more dynamic. They make fathers more empathetic, more invested in their communities."
At a late July rally, Vance mentioned Booker and AOC and claimed that they have no "personal and direct stake" in the United States' future because they don't have biological children — and he told the Republican crowd, "The Democrats are talking about giving the vote to 16-year-olds. Let's do this instead. Let's give votes to all children in this country, but let's give control over those votes to the parents of the children."
Journalist Philip Bump, writing about Vance in a July 26 article for the Washington Post, offered some actual data on liberals, conservatives and children. And the data shows that being conservative isn't necessarily synonymous with having kids.
Bump explained, "Every two years, the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago conducts the national General Social Survey, a broad poll of Americans on a range of social issues. Included in that survey are questions specifically about politics and children. So, by looking at the data from 2016 and 2018, the most recent surveys for which data are readily available, we can see that conservatives are more likely to have children than liberals — and are also more likely to have more children. About 80% of conservatives have children, compared to 62% of liberals. And 65% of conservatives have two or more kids, compared to about half of liberals."
Bump offered some analysis of this data, noting, "The divide between how many children conservatives have and how many they have at home is in part a function of conservatives tending to be older — and therefore, having more grown children. But among those under age 50, the ideological divide emerges again, with conservatives being more likely to have children than liberals. However, liberals are more likely to be under age 50 than are conservatives, with a majority of conservatives being over that age and six in ten liberals being 50 or younger."
Liberal MSNBC pundit and hip-hop expert Ari Melber, taking Vance to task during his August 12 broadcast, featured a guest who had an interesting point when he noted that "lonely isolated men" with a lot of guns are likely to be MAGA Republicans — not liberals. Political strategist Chai Komanduri told Melber, "What they're really doing is a type of deflection, and it's one that's very appealing, I think, to the MAGA base. You know, Michael Bender, in his recent book about Trump, really laid out a case that the average Trump voter is much closer to Alex Jones than he is to Ward Cleaver. The Trump base is full of lonely, isolated men with their head full of conspiracy theories and their closets full of guns."
Indeed, incels are likely to be MAGA Republicans, not liberals or progressives. Incel stands for "involuntarily celibate," and incels are a cult of extreme misogynists who have a deep hatred of modern women and bitterly resent being lonely, unmarried and childless. Even Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW), a movement of male separatists, distances itself from incels — who have been linked to acts of domestic terrorism such as Elliot Rodger's May 23, 2014 killing spree.
Incels are hardly known for being card-carrying progressives. But as Komanduri, pointed out, "lonely, isolated men" are part of MAGA World.
The Beat With Ari Melber 8/12/21 [FULL 6PM] | MSNBC Breaking News Today August 12, 2021 www.youtube.com
Journalist Elizabeth Bruenig called Vance out in an article published by The Atlantic on August 11, writing, "If socialist progressives are inveterate childless baby-haters, this is news to me, my husband, and the two children I birthed before age 30. We're fairly fond of the critters around here, and a substantial chunk of our politics is premised on the idea that children are precious and deserve the very best we have to offer as a society, regardless of whether their parents are rich or poor."
Bruenig continued, "But whatever one's beliefs about which policies most benefit children — universal health care; paid parental leave; free child care, pre-K, and school lunches, in my opinion — a political conversation that favors kids has to take children as its subject. This current discourse does not. Instead, it's concerned with adults, and the decisions, personal or political, that cause them to opt into or out of parenthood. This much is especially clear in Vance's rhetoric, which identifies the 'childless left' as the source of America's woes, and suggests meting out more votes to parents to right those putative wrongs."
Ocasio-Cortez is younger than the other Democrats Vance has been singling out. At 31, she is among the youngest members of Congress, which means she still has time to have kids if that's what she wants. If she wants kids, fine; if she doesn't, fine — that's totally up to AOC. And the fact that Vance thinks he can take it upon himself to dictate whether or not she decides to become a parent is sexist and profoundly offensive on so many levels.
Moreover, it's none of Vance's damn business.
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