Rep. Steve King’s game of footsie with the white nationalist arm of conservative politics reached a new level over the weekend, when the Iowa Republican tweeted new praise for the nationalist, anti-immigrant Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies. https://t.co/4nxLipafWO
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) March 12, 2017
White nationalists praised King’s phrasing, with supremacist-du-jour Richard Spencer recording a video shortly afterward lauding King’s comments, a sentiment he followed up with a tweet of support Tuesday. Despite that, King stood by his comment, telling CNN on Monday that he “meant exactly what I said.”
“We need to get our birthrates up or Europe will be entirely transformed within a half century or a little more,” King told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. He voiced his support for an American population that’s eventually “so homogeneous that we look a lot the same” and added that he’s “a champion for Western civilization and, yes, our English language is a big part of it. It’s a carrier of freedom.” In a radio interview, King insisted that he wasn’t talking about race, but that he was referring to “our stock” and that “we need to have enough babies to replace ourselves.”
King’s home state of Iowa is one of the most homogeneously white in the country. But census data show that his district is one where nearly 10 percent of the children younger than 18 live with at least one parent who was born overseas.
There’s a correlation between the foreign-born population in a congressional district and its politics. (Both of those things overlap with the percentage of the population that lives in urban areas.) If we use census data on the percent of the population that’s foreign-born and compare it to Cook Political Report‘s partisanship rankings for each district, the pattern is clear.
King’s Iowa district — the 4th — is embedded firmly in that clump of Republican-leaning districts that has a low foreign-born population. It’s near the bottom among all of the districts, when ranked by this metric. His ranks 337th on this metric. (There are 435 districts, but not all had census data available.)
But that position is slightly different when considering the children of foreign-born residents — those who King apparently worries might be threatening “our stock.” His district is similarly in the Republican mainstream …
… but is ranked higher — 319th — among all districts on this metric.
In King’s district, 5.7 percent of kids younger than 18 live with one parent who was born outside the United States, according to the most recent data from the Census Bureau. An additional 3.7 percent live with two parents who are foreign-born. (We excluded foreign-born children from these numbers, a small part of the total.) One reason he may not be too worried about his comments when it comes to election time? Two-thirds of those who live in his district but who were not born in the United States are not naturalized citizens — meaning they can’t vote.
For what it’s worth, about 5 percent of King’s district also mostly speaks Spanish at home, with about 93 percent of residents speaking mostly English.
That said, we suspect that his comments were translated into other languages that all of his constituents will be able to read.