It was in that context that I ran across a link to an article titled "Demographics favor the GOP -- unless they blow it". This seemed so jarringly at variance with conventional wisdom that I simply had to take a look. Is there some huge flaw in our grasp of demographic trends that we've somehow failed to notice?
As it turns out, no. The article makes two major points:
(1) Population is migrating from blue to red states, shifting the balance of electoral votes and Congressional seats in favor of the latter.
(2) Highly-religious people (the Republican base) have more children than secular people, so the former will grow in numbers relative to the latter over time, tipping the balance of the "culture wars" back toward the right.
The problem is that both of these trends have been ongoing for quite a few years now, and they are not having the effect the right-wingers apparently expect them to.
It's true that migration is increasing the populations of some red states, but it's also turning those states distinctly purple. Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina have become swing states, and even Texas may come within reach in the next electoral cycle. Most states in the South have large black populations (and Texas has a large Hispanic population); add in an influx of more liberal migrants, and what had been a red state becomes competitive.
As for the religious advantage in birth rates, this has been true for decades and was certainly true for the period from 2000 to today. Oddly enough, though, during that period the non-religious percentage of the US population has grown explosively, now standing at 20%. That's not because of atheists or secularists out-breeding fundamentalists, obviously. It's because of increasing numbers of people abandoning religion, a trend which has accelerated as the public face of religion is increasingly a fundamentalist face, disfigured with ugly, cranky, bigoted attitudes which look ever more outdated as social attitudes change (people under 30, even self-identified Evangelicals, are much more accepting of gays than the older generation, for example). Religious and secular people aren't separate species that "breed true". They're people with different ways of thinking, who can change those ways of thinking, and the change is pretty consistent in direction.
A somewhat similar phenomenon is happening with the "gender gap" as Republican state legislatures devise new ways of degrading and humiliating women who seek abortions. Women are not becoming a bigger percentage of the population, but the Republican party is getting more proficient at offending them.
There's no reason to expect these trends to stop, much less go into reverse. If the right-wingers are counting on demographics to save them, they're ignoring the evidence of what's actually happening on the ground.