I listened to some conservative talk radio this evening while I fixed some plumbing in my trailer. I hadn’t checked in with these guys in a while. The tone was quite anxious, reminding me that everyone is anxious about this election. What drew my attention the most, though, was the conversation between the host and a high-level electoral strategist about presidential politics in Ohio. The host asked the strategist to give him some hope about Ohio. The answer was no, sorry, but the race is just really close. If it rains on election day, though, he said, it will keep people from voting and we’ll probably win.

It seemed a very uncomfortable thing for a political party to hope for. The fewer people that vote, the better our chances. When I looked into electoral demographics, though, it seemed true: The younger, the more female, and the less white the voter, the more likely they are to vote for Democratic candidates. And the less likely they are to vote. It looked like if everyone voted we would probably never have another Republican president. The more democracy, the more Democrats.

So it’s easy to see why Democrats get upset when Republicans pass laws that make it more difficult to vote. And lately they are talking up early voting, which could help with turnout. But I’ve never heard Democrats talking as plainly about it as these two Republicans did tonight. Why is that? Trying to be polite?

I listened to a story on NPR a couple days ago about a how high divorce rates and teen-pregnancy rates are correlated to the state’s political ideology. Republican states have significantly more divorce and teen pregnancy. In fact, as a whole, the US divorce rate has been holding steady since the mid-90s, while the “red state” divorce rates (and teen-pregnancy rates) continue to rise. That means the blue states make up the difference and their rates are falling. NPR speculated that it’s because in family-values states, people get married earlier because of social pressure or so they can have sex, but choose badly because they don’t know themselves as well as they would several years later, when Democrats tend to get married. They also note that states that are swinging Democratic, like New Hampshire, are starting to have less divorce and teen pregnancy too.

It makes some sense, though I wouldn’t have guessed it. There are a couple of things not made explicit in the story that I wonder about. First, I wonder if the Republican fixation on “family values” issues is being driven by this phenomenon; to someone living in a Republican state, divorce and teen pregnancy are really pressing issues, because their ideology and behavior are not matching up. It could even be a vicious cycle: Values driving divorce driving values…. Second, I wonder how much of this has to do with money. Social class, really. Red states tend to be poorer, and poverty puts serious stress on a marriage. And poverty is correlated with a lot of other stressors, like substance abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. Also, they mention that the demographic whose divorce rates are dropping the most are women who have graduated from college. I’ve been attending a state university for a few years now, and I can tell you that it’s not full of poor people. These kids (‘ parents) have money.