I don’t much care what Bruce Jenner does or says. But his recent interview does allow me to discuss something that I care about: why people vote the way they do. To many people, the big thing in the interview was that Jenner is a Republican. At The Fix, Hunter Schwarz wrote, Bruce Jenner Is a Republican. Here’s the Reason That Shouldn’t Surprise You. Most of that article has to do with the fact that most athletes are conservative.
There is sample bias in this claim. Schwarz talks about professional athletes and people at Brown University. So we aren’t talking about just any people who are interested in sports, but people who have chosen to take it to a very high level. But okay, I’ll yield the point. I’m sure there is something to athletes being conservative, but not in the way that Schwarz thinks. He wrote, “[A]thletes inhabit a world of meritocracy and hierarchy.” Yeah, but that correlation probably runs the other way. One thing I’ve been harping on a while is the fact that at the highest levels of sports, there is basically no difference between people. My bet is that the kind of people who find working out to be such a fantastic thing are people with higher than average testosterone levels.
But the real reason that we shouldn’t be surprised that Bruce Jenner is a Republican is much simpler: he’s rich. The rich vote Republican, as I discussed almost three years ago, It’s the Poor, Stupid. So there really isn’t much to deconstruct about this. We should applaud him for doing something that is good for the nation generally and the transgender community specifically. But the fact that he is just another rich conservative who says he’s a Republican because, “I believe in the Constitution”? It’s worth a yawn.
What is more interesting is what I wrote about two years ago, Farewell Gay Liberals. I made a more general argument, but said much the same thing back then. Overall, the gay and lesbian community is richer than the nation overall. And gay rights are very quickly going away as an issue. Is there any question about where this leads?
Jenner’s revelation highlights this. There is little doubt that eventually, LGBT rights will not be a political issue at all. The LGBT community has the advantage that its members are born randomly. So its status as a minority group is likely to be very short indeed, whereas the status of African Americans as a minority group will go on and on and on. What we’ll see going forward with regard to the LGBT community is that those in that group will act politically just like the population as a whole. The poor and smart members of the community will be liberal. The rich and dumb members of the community will be conservative. And most will not show up to vote anyway.