Who You Vote For May Kill You:
Analysis Reveals Mortality Rates of Republican vs. Democratic Leadership
There is an unnerving phenomenon in the U.S. every four years. People are more argumentative, connections are “unfriended” on Facebook, and there is more disagreement and dissention within family and friend than in non-election years. This could be mere coincidence, but America’s Presidential race seemingly brings out the worst in us with respect to our emotionally-driven social interactions. Having heard the phrase “that candidate will be the death of us” more than a few times this election season alone, as a life insurance professional it got me thinking. Does deciding which political party to represent our country in the White House impact our individual health, and more importantly, our mortality rate?
2016 is an especially volatile election year, with two lead candidates who appear to revel in undermining and criticizing each other, rather than focusing solely on the pertinent issues facing this country. This contentiousness has certainly trickled down to their respective constituencies, causing much community divisiveness in the process. Does this negativity cast a black cloud not only over our collective emotional health, but also our physical well-being? And, is one political party more “deadly” than the other?
With this, I endeavored to uncover if there’s a correlation between the average death rate and the political party of the sitting President.
My company researched and analyzed mortality data from the year 1930 through 2000. The results showed that under the six Republican presidents represented, there was an average of 46.23 deaths per 1,000 people (not age adjusted). Within the timeframe mentioned above, six Democrat presidents also held office and their average death rate per 1,000 people, not age adjusted, came in at 57.6. The glaring results indicate that more deaths per capita occur under Democratic leadership.
Note: While there were an equal number of Republican and Democrat presidents elected, Democratic presidents were in office four years longer than the Republican presidents and, in 1961 during a Republican term, mortality data was not available for unknown reasons. While those two factors could have skewed the results slightly, the available data still provided a viable model for analysis.
However, digging deeper, another study by New York University psychiatrist James Gilligan, author of “Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous than Others,” followed violent death rates (particularly suicide and homicide) in relation to Presidency terms. His study concluded that “Republican administrations are risk factors for lethal violence”, and the only redeeming quality for the country is how Democratic presidents have “repeatedly undone the damage.”
Another study, this one conducted by the International Journal of Epidemiology, looked across the last nine Presidential administrations, with findings revealing that infant mortality rates were below trend when the President was a Democrat, and above trend when the President was a Republican—3% higher on average than with a Democrat President in office.
One more category I thought important to research involved the military. Were there more military deaths when a Republican held office versus a Democrat? The research I found only studied the years between 1980 through 2010, when Republicans were in office for 18 years versus the 11 years with a Democrat as POTUS. In order to take an equal sample, I chose instead to study the years between 1991 through 2010, giving each political party ten years in office. The conclusion that was drawn was as follows: Under the Republican Presidency, 15,524 fatalities occurred in the military versus 10,574 fatalities with a Democratic in control. The available evidence concluded that 4950 more deaths occurred while a Republican held office.
|Mortality (not age adjusted)||57.6 per 1,000
(not age adjusted)
|46.23 per 1,000
(not age adjusted)
24.6% Higher under Democrats
|Suicide/Homicide||Suicide decreases by 11.1 per million
Homicide decreases by 4.2 per million
|Suicide Increases by 9.7 per million
Homicide increases by 3.6 per million
|Suicide and Homicide rate higher under Republicans|
|Infant Mortality||Below trend||Above trend||3% higher under Republicans|
|46.8% higher under% Republicans|
The basic findings were this: Death rates do seem to fluctuate consistently depending upon which political party is in office. When compared on the whole, Democratic presidents appear to have a higher death rate for the country in general, whereas specific categories of death rates—specifically infant mortality, violent deaths (suicide and homicide) and active military—were shown to rise when a Republican holds office.
Regardless of what political party moves into the White House this November, there does seem to be a ripple effect on mortality rates. Perhaps something to consider when you cast your vote this fall.
Brian Greenberg is a multi-faceted entrepreneur currently serving as a founder and executive of multiple online businesses, including serving as President of True Blue Life Insurance. Recognized as one of the most creative people in the insurance industry, Greenberg is in the world’s top one percent of life insurance and financial services professionals. He may be reached online at www.TrueBlueLifeInsurance.com.
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