Our First Revolution

Here is a very nice review of my book Our First Revolution, by Paul Mirengoff of Power Line, plus a link to a radio interview of me by Power Line's John Hinderaker. Thanks, Paul and John, for the review and interview, and for your excellent blogging in Power Line.

Here is my Creators Syndicate column for this week, entitled "Divest Iran."

Hispanics and Generations

I was fooling around with some demographic statistics last night and started with the following question: What percentage of the 18-and-under population is Hispanic? Table 15 from the Statistical Abstract of the United States gives the estimated total population and subdivision by race and Hispanic status by age for 2005. Aggregating the statistics, I found the following, with populations in thousands:

Age group Total pop. Hispanic pop. Hispanic %
All 296,410 42,687 14%
0-18 77,590 15,130 19%

In other words, 1 in 5 Americans 18 and under are Hispanic (that is, are classified by their parents or caretakers or themselves as Hispanic).

I thought it might also be interesting to calculate the Hispanic percentage by generations. I used the generation of definitions in William Strauss and Neal Howe's book Generations, keeping in mind that we are dealing with 2005 estimates.

Millennials (0-24) 102,778 19,536 19%
Xers (25-42) 74,802 13,092 18%
Boomers (43-59) 69,040 6,799 10%
Silents (60-79) 39,053 2,739 7%
Greatest (80+) 10,739 519 5%

You get a very different picture with blacks (the Census category is blacks or African-American alone; those who specify multiple races are not included).

All 296,410 37,909 13%
Millennials (0-24) 102,778 15,677 15%
Xers (25-42) 74,802 9,957 13%
Boomers (43-59) 69,040 7,925 11%
Silents (60-79) 39,053 3,577 9%
Greatest (80+) 10,739 777 7%

Among Boomers, Silents, and Greatests, blacks outnumber Hispanics, but by only 1 or 2 percentage points. Among Millennials and Xers, Hispanics outnumber blacks by 4 or 5 points. Somewhat different Americas.

From these figures one can construct the following table, combining Millennials and Xers on the one hand and Boomers, Silents, and Greatests on the other. I'm giving figures for non-Hispanic whites, blacks, and Hispanics. The figure for non-Hispanic whites will be low, because the Census asks different questions for race and Hispanic status, and some who classify themselves s Hispanic also classify themselves as black; but it will also include Asians and other racial groups. The latter are a small percentage of the population, and Asians do not have economic and educational characteristics very different from those of non-Hispanic whites (in many cases, they rank higher).

Group All NH Whites etc. Blacks Hispanics
All 296,410 215,814 73% 37,909 13% 42,687 14%
Mill/Xer 177,580 119,318 67% 25,634 14% 32,628 18%
Boom/Sil/Gt 118,832 96,496 81% 12,279 10% 10,057 8%

Of course not all the Millennials are of voting age yet; not many of them are voting at all. But let me add a Mill/Xer line with the under-18s left out.

Mill/Xer 104,109 71,653 69% 14,288 14% 18,168 17%

You can see that of the white voting-age population, 57 percent is Boomer or older, while the corresponding figures for the black voting-age population is 46 percent and for the Hispanic voting-age population is 36 percent. Not all the Hispanics are or are going to become citizens of course, at least under present law and even if something in the nature of a comprehensive immigration bill with legalization provisions is passed. And, like blacks but to a lesser extent, they'll probably have higher death and incarceration rates than non-Hispanic whites, and so their percentage of the age cohort's population will diminish a bit. But if Hispanics are 6 or 7 percent of the electorate now, they are bound to become a significantly higher percentage at some future time. Many critics of comprehensive immigration bills seem to be thinking that this somehow can be avoided, if we take a "time-out" from immigration or if we change our immigration laws to give greater preference to immigrants with high skills and less to collateral relatives. I'm open to the latter change. But let's not forget that we're going to have a significantly higher percentage of Hispanic voters in the future. We've already let the cows--or calves--into the barnyard.

Who Next for Attorney General?

Alberto Gonzales has resigned, and it's a good thing too. He simply wasn't competent. Who should replace him? One name I would advance is Michael Mukasey, who retired recently as chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Mukasey was a year ahead of me in law school, and I knew him fairly well: very smart, very serious. I gather he has an excellent reputation as a judge, and as chief judge he held one of the most demanding positions in the federal judiciary. As a federal judge for many years, he presumably has no record of partisan activity; he would have been appointed with the concurrence of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who took very seriously his responsibility to staff the Southern District bench with top-quality lawyers. He once told me that when first-rate lawyers had a tough case to litigate, he wanted them to want to litigate it in the Southern District. Mukasey also has firsthand experience with terrorism. He was the judge in the trial of Omar Abdel Rahman, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He had to have armed guards with him at all times after that. As to his views, here is a piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal last week.

By Michael Barone