The Washington Post had two more takes on the results of a Pew Research Center study that showed that four out of ten U.S. households with children under 18 are headed by a single mom.
First was the inevitable examination of how this emerging demographic will affect presidential campaigns.
What do Pew’s findings mean for politics – especially at the presidential level?
Let’s start with the fact that single moms have been a solidly Democratic group in each of the past two presidential races. In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama won 74 percent of single moms – defined for these purposes as unmarried women living in households with children under 18. Obama followed that by winning 75 percent among that group in his contest with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in November. In both of those elections, single moms constituted 6 percent of the overall electorate.
The story goes on to say what a problem this creates for the GOP, of course.
And then Kathleen Parker chimed in about how infrequently the bad effects of the absence of fathers are brought up.
Conversations the past few days about Pew’s findings have veered toward practical questions of men’s value. During a recent segment on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” guests – all women except Joe Scarborough, who looked sheepish and mostly kept his own counsel – visited the familiar question: Why do women even need men?
The ladies worked earnestly to find positive roles for their hirsute colleagues, noting that men can be useful in family planning, child-care sharing, working as part of a team. Although a man’s presence was implicit in the hypothetical household, I waited futilely for emphasis to shift to the importance of fathers to their children’s well-being. Father, it seems, has become the new F-bomb. Oh, we’ll say “F#$&” in a 30-Rock second, but “father”? The term, along with the concept, seems to have receded from popular usage, displaced by the vernacular of drive-by impregnators, the inane “baby daddy.”