NEWSFEED THURSDAY: Why Californians who Flee California Bring Troubles

J Robert Smith

  • Oct 31, 2019
  • 3 min read

Millions of fed-up middle-class taxpayers have fled the state. Their presence as a stabilizing influence is sorely missed. About one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients live in California. Millions of poor newcomers require enormously expensive state health, housing, education, legal and law-enforcement services.

California is now a one-party state. Democrats have supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature. Only seven of the state’s 53 congressional seats are held by Republicans. The result is that there is no credible check on a mostly coastal majority.

— Victor Davis Hanson, Fox News, October 31, 2019


Not all Californians who flee the state are conservatives. Migrating Californians are sick and tired of the high taxes, over-regulation, sky-high real estate costs, deteriorating infrastructure, needlessly costly wildfires, declining public schools, the homelessness, filth, and crime that plague L.A., San Francisco, and elsewhere. But when thousands of Californians leave, too many of them bring the very politics that are at the root of the Golden State’s woes. Why is that?

An NPR report from August 29, 2013 goes a long way toward answering the question.

Still, newcomers from California have not only helped put Colorado in the Democratic column in recent presidential elections, but they’ve also helped President Obama carry Nevada two times.

Californians have contributed to make Salt Lake City and Boise more Democratic in recent years, but they are easily outvoted by Republicans in other parts of Utah and Idaho. Similarly, other states such as Arizona and Texas remain reliably Republican, but contain more liberal enclaves thanks to new arrivals from the West Coast.

“It’s not going to change Texas politics immediately, but all of the inbound migration to Texas is making Texas more liberal than it otherwise would be,” says Ian McDonald, a political scientist at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., and author of a dissertation on the effects of migration on the American electorate.

Then the critical takeaway from NPR’s report:

What may be ironic is the fact that most of the people leaving California are relatively conservative — by California standards.

They want cheaper homes and job opportunities, but they are also motivated by the state’s higher tax rates, says Robert Lang, who directs the Brookings Mountain West, a research center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Nevertheless, they also tend to be fairly progressive on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion — and overall may be more liberal than their new neighbors in other states.

“You see that in other parts of the country, too,” says Ruy Teixeira, a Democratic demographer at the Center for American Progress. “You have the phenomenon of relatively conservative people leaving a liberal state and moving to a conservative state where they’re relatively liberal.” [Italics added]

There you have it. Californians are bringing with them a more left-oriented worldview. They fail to fully connect the dots between California’s politics – and its cultural “progressivism” – and the state’s miserable conditions.

But Californians who choose to move to red states aren’t the only offenders in bringing their politics.

Massachusetts citizens have long fled to New Hampshire and Vermont. Those migrants have turned once solidly Republican Vermont into a haven for whacky leftism.

New Hampshire has been made politically competitive thanks to Bay Staters who’ve moved there but retained their old Democratic voting patterns. Colorado and Nevada have been long infected with California-itis. Georgia, thanks to the overwhelming influx of Northerners into Atlanta metro, is pale red now. Ditto North Carolina, which actually may be purple on the way to light blue.

If Californians and other blue staters keep bringing their politics with them, they’ll ensure that the troubles that drove them from their home states arise in their new states.

Problem not solved.

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