Manhart demonstrates his regressivity by following incel-groomer Rollo Tomassi, who tells guys to preserve their masculine power by dating lots of women at once. (Evidently Manhart thought he could apply that same advice to states and residency.) Tomassi also says feminism has wrecked religion and modern marriage is a rip-off for men and takes offense at being told that men should act the right way and resist bullying, violence, and sexual harassment. Such, it seems, are the regressive views Manhart likes to read on Twitter.
Another sign of Manhart’s regressivity is his sly promotion of replacement theory, the dangerous lie that radicalized a man not much younger than Manhart to put on body armor and murder Americans in Buffalo because they weren’t white. On March 29, in response to a Twitter comment from Tomassi that the greatest problem facing society is “Below replacement level fertility rates,” Manhart tweeted with a right-wing hashtag that “South Dakota is the only state in the US that has above replacement fertility rates“:
Manhart’s assertion appears to be incorrect. According to the Census Bureau, 25 states and the District of Columbia “maintained higher levels of births than deaths, leading to population increase through natural change” in 2021. “Among the states with the largest increases were: Texas, California, Utah, New York and Georgia.” South Dakota also saw the second highest percentage increase in deaths from 2020 to 2021 (15.85%, second only to Utah’s 16.18%, and far ahead of the national increase of 11.82%), due largely to deaths from the insufficiently checked coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, South Dakota saw the second-largest percentage decrease in births (7.21%, behind Maine’s 7.52% decrease, and well below the national decrease of 4.43%). Our births still outpaced our deaths, but as a percentage of 2020 population, our natural population growth was still lower than that in nine other places—Utah, Alaska, Texas, District of Columbia, North Dakota, Idaho, California, Nebraska, and Colorado. Just as lefty places like D.C., California, and Colorado appear to be more fertile than Manhart’s vauntedly right-wing South Dakota, the ten states with greatest natural decreases (deaths outpacing births) include some right-leaning states like Alabama, West Virginia, and Florida.
So not only does Manhart’s assertion that South Dakota’s replacing its dead through procreation faster than any other state not square with the facts, but his tagging that comment “#leadright” seems as non-sequiturial as noting that I got cheap milk at Target this morning and hashtagging that statement “#SkolVikes!”
According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, South Dakota did lead the nation for fertility rates as measured by number of women aged 15(?!)–44 giving birth per 1,000 from 2014 through 2019, but in 2020, we dropped to second place behind North Dakota. South Dakota’s fertility rate has dropped from a high of 78.2 per 1,000 women in 2015 to 66.7 in 2020. A population can remain steady if it produces 2,100 births per 1,000 women over their lifetimes. Do some sloppy math: divide 2100 births by the 30 years in that childbearing span, and we can estimate that we need to see 70 births per 1,000 childbearing-age women each year. At no point in the CDC data posted was South Dakota the only state above 70 births per 1,000 women. So even if Manhart was thinking of those stats in his unsourced Tweet, he’s not very good at reading or updating his facts.
But back to the bigger point, the disturbing point of Manhart’s regressivism, his invocation of a now 4chan/Tucker Carlson-loaded term, replacement. Why does a Republican candidate for South Dakota Legislature bother mentioning replacement and fertility rates? Is he inviting a discussion of real policy changes that might be required to address the long-term social and economic impacts of demographic change, policies like “increasing educational opportunities for girls; increasing access to reproductive health services, including family planning; and reducing infant and child mortality“? Or is this right-wing Republican simply ringing Pavlov’s bell for his immigrant-fearing, sperm-panicking right-wing Republican base, who tend to get mad when someone attempts to discuss actual policy and facts?
Proud regressives don’t talk policy. They talk slogans to stir the id of their fearful followers. When Manhart Tweets about replacement, he means exactly what Tucker Carlson and the Buffalo murderer mean.