Americans Move to Red and Blue States as Polarization Deepens

As political polarization is on the rise in the United States, Americans are increasingly moving to either deep-red states or deep-blue states in order to live among others who share their political beliefs.

According to the Associated Press, 48 out of the 50 states have one party in control of their state legislature. In 28 of these states, the party in control has a veto-proof supermajority in at least one chamber. As a result, Republican-controlled states are implementing more conservative policies while Democratically-controlled states enact more left-wing policies.

On abortion, for example, the deep-red state of Idaho has passed a “heartbeat bill,” banning abortion after a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus, which is usually after five or six weeks. Another law was passed cracking down on interstate travel for the purposes of having an abortion, making it a crime to assist a minor in leaving the state to get an abortion. Meanwhile, in nearby Colorado, there is a state law forbidding any restrictions on abortion.

When it comes to transgenderism, Idaho has enacted a law prohibiting minors from undergoing so-called “sex change” procedures such as surgery or hormone therapy, whereas Colorado openly encourages minors from other states to travel there to have such procedures done to their bodies.

While the concept of federalism, the system that allows states to be so radically different, has long been the basis of the experiment that is the American Republic, some claim that this rapid polarization will make tensions throughout the country worse over time.

“Does that work as well in a time when we are so politically divided, or does it just become an accelerant for people who want to re-segregate?” said Rob Witwer, a Republican former state legislator in Colorado.

The polarization of various states may also be along the lines of cultural and lifestyle preferences as well as politics. Ryan Strickler, a political science professor at Colorado State University-Pueblo, said that “Democrats want to live in places with artistic culture and craft breweries, and Republicans want to move to places where they can have a big yard.”

Other prominent examples of states that have seen this trend include two of the nation’s largest states: California and Florida. As California shifts further to the far-left under its Democratic supermajority, hundreds of thousands of residents have fled due to increasing costs of living and taxes, among other financial woes. By contrast, Florida has seen an influx of new residents seeking a state with a Republican supermajority that has largely relaxed restrictions on businesses and has lower costs of living.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.