Beginning in the 1970s, the Republican Party’s center of support shifted from the Northeast and Midwest to the Southwest and Southeastern United States. For many Republican voters, Texas has always been understood to be a blood-red state. Yet for the longest time, Texas was a Democratic bastion as much as California is today. Today’s GOP is grossly complacent when it comes to its base of support.
The Democratic Party knows this and is attempting to garner enough support in these current GOP strongholds to make significant political gains. Whether the Left can manage a comeback after the 2016 election or not is largely dependent on how successful the GOP and, specifically, Donald Trump is in implementing sweeping policies that better the lives of as many Americans as possible.
The Great Migration
At the moment, a mass exodus is underway from the high-tax, low-opportunity Democratic states to the low-tax, high-opportunity red states. In particular, young professionals (Millennials) and the few remaining middle-class families in these blue states (California, Illinois, Connecticut, and New York primarily) are fleeing en masse to states like Texas, Idaho, Florida, North Carolina, and others. The migration has been so substantial that a very lucrative business—Conservative Move—has been founded by a California transplant living in northern Texas, which helps people from liberal states move to Republican ones.
But Republicans should be wary of these new transplants. In all likelihood, these are nothing more than poison pill migrants. These “economic migrants,” unfortunately, tend to bring their blue state voting patterns with them, not realizing these habits are exactly what made their move necessary in the first place.
Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.
Republicans rightly point to this great migration from the poorly run Democratic states as proof their policies work better than the Democratic policies. But are the people migrating to these Republican-controlled, low-tax states recognizing GOP policies as the reason for the attractiveness of their new home states? Not necessarily.
Fact is, the Democrats enjoy a far greater level of popularity among the general American population—and continue to, even in spite of the recent economic gains under President Trump. Had it not been for the Electoral College, the last five presidential elections would have been decided by the popular vote—meaning Al Gore would have been president in 2001 and Hillary would have been elected in 2016. Whether valid or not, Trump’s approval ratings are abysmal. As long as he continues having weak approval ratings, people will not make the connection between the GOP’s policies and their personal prosperity. The Republicans must wage a better media war defending their views (and pointing out Trump’s successes) going into 2018, while showing how absurd the Democrats are.
Then, of course, there is the regional aspect. Many of these states are in warmer climates (particularly places like Florida). On top of the young professionals and lower-middle-class families moving there, the elderly are also emigrating to these red states. In spite of having lived long enough to know better, it remains that 46 percent of Baby Boomers consistently vote Democratic. This is especially true of those coming from Democratic strongholds, like Boston, New York, and Chicago. These people, like their younger and middle-class counterparts, are bringing their voting patterns with them.
Let’s not forget the illegal immigration issue in many of these states, too. While there is disagreement as to whether or not illegals actually vote, the fact remains that the Democratic Party does everything it can to make America’s political structures comport more with the preferences of illegal immigrants. The assumption for Democrats is that inevitably the illegal immigrant populations will be given amnesty and allowed to vote or, failing that, their children who are born here will grow up and vote. And when they do, Democrats want to make sure these folks will overwhelmingly vote for Democrats as, in fact, they do. Places like Texas and Florida are being inundated with illegal immigrants who are distorting the political landscape of these states and will continue to do so.
Texas is viewed as a “big red island” by many politicos. Yet 72 percent of all Texans live in Democratic-leaning districts. In May 2012, University of Houston political science professor, Richard Murray, predicted that by 2020, the Texas House of Representatives “would turn blue and remain that way as long as the two-party system exists.” Murray’s prognostication from 2012 is based largely on the rising number of minority voters in Lone Star State, specifically Hispanics as well as African-Americans—two groups that consistently vote Democratic.
In the recent Texas primary, this is precisely what we saw: a surge among Latino voters in particular, but also among the growing African American community in Texas.
According to Joshua Blank of the Texas Politics Project, “the metro and suburban areas where the Democratic Party saw the majority of votes originate happen to be areas in Texas that are expanding the most rapidly, which means turnout will likely continue to rise [in future elections].”
Since the bulk of future jobs will be in the cities, it is likely that these areas will continue proliferating Leftist ideas that will inevitably take hold in the state. In fact, the Democrats saw 1 million more votes materialize in this recent election than had previously voted (similar numbers haven’t been seen since 2002).
Mercifully, Republican turnout remained higher (by nearly 500,000 votes). But the demographics do not appear to be working in the GOP’s long-term favor. What happens, for instance, when the DNC has its first Latino nominee for president in a future presidential election (as the former mayor of San Antonio and former Obama Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, plans on doing in 2020)? There were seven Latina candidates who prevailed in the recent Democratic primaries, which is one reason why many commentators believe the Hispanic turnout was so much higher in 2018 than in 2016.
For the Left, identity politics is a powerful motivator, even in Texas. After 2020, demographically speaking, Texas will likely slowly devolve into a blue state.
Leftism Runs on Selfishness
The people who usually vote Democratic tend to be unthinking in their belief that they are fighting for oppressed groups; that they are striving for a more equitable distribution of wealth; and that they are the “educated” party. It’s an incredibly intoxicating (and simple) message. It’s also highly selfish: all one has to do is vote the right way—for ever more government power over their lives—and their own quest for prosperity will somehow be excused (since the DNC trades on the guilt of successful people and the resentment of less successful individuals to sustain their political ambitions).
The Democrats fleeing blue states for red ones do not recognize that their voting patterns are why they had to leave their home states in the first place. They just see the lower price of houses, more opportunity, and a greater chance for prosperity in red states (compared to those in their home states) as reason to move. Once in their new homes, however, they systematically vote to alter the political landscape to look more like the states they had just fled. Over time—and it doesn’t take very long—those once-proud red states turn purple and, eventually, become Democratic bastions.
Don’t believe me: just look at North Carolina over the last decade for proof. As more northeasterners and northern Virginians move down to North Carolina, the state gets incrementally more Democratic. Inevitably, it will be a blue state. And since the parts of states that turn blue first are usually the more populated areas, as we see with cities like Chicago or areas like Northern Virginia, they will eventually tilt their red state into the purple state camp (which is precisely what’s going on in North Carolina today), and from there, into the full-on blue category.
Success Builds on Success
Republicans have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to win some hearts-and-minds, and that only comes through decisive political and policy victories. Even if the GOP can’t win enough hearts-and-minds, the Republicans can gain enough policy and legislative victories in the present to secure a freer and more prosperous future for us all. The more successes both Trump and the GOP have, the harder it will be for people blindly to continue voting Democratic (and if they did vote Democratic some of the damage could be mitigated—especially with young, right-leaning judges in the courts to check radical Leftist legislation).
Despite Trump’s low approval ratings, Republican leaders must recognize that the president is the only reason their base turned out in such numbers in the last election. Rather than running away from Trump, the GOP would do well to embrace Trumpism, and hammer the Democrats now, before the majority of the country goes blue.