Are Red States Getting Redder?

 

John Hinderaker at PowerLine blog posts about a Wall Street Journal article that suggests the Great Sort is turning red states redder and blue states bluer:

The Great Sort is under way, as normal people move to red states and liberals move to blue states. (That last is hypothetical and hasn’t actually been observed.) When massive numbers began leaving blue states like California and New York for red states like Texas and Florida, many conservatives worried that those blue staters might bring their bad voting habits with them. Happily, that doesn’t seem to have happened.

This Wall Street Journal story is headlined: “Blue-State Residents Streamed Into South Carolina. Here’s Why It Stayed Ruby Red.”

I am a political refugee from California living in my adopted state of Tennessee. I live in a deep red county, bordered by two counties that are only slightly less red, in turn bordering a county that is purple. I am subscribed to a local conservative newsletter that is constantly warning me about the RINOs in Nashville. And certainly the recent influx of persons into Nashville does seem to have turned it more purple.

I live in a community of (mostly) retirees under a property owners association that was created in 1979 when the Tellico Dam was completed, and the Little Tennessee River submerged under a reservoir. It is a good retirement community with many activities and amenities. It grew slowly until about a decade ago when demand started dramatically outpacing supply of existing housing. Since then there has been a construction boom – not just in my community but in surrounding communities as well.

When I read about new arrivals in our local newsletter, the majority are from blue states. We don’t talk politics a lot outside of groups specifically organized for that purpose. There is a progressive Next Door group, a conservative Next Door group and a “purple” Next Door group. The latter was founded in the hopes that members from the conservative and progressive groups could try and discuss things civilly. I joined for awhile, but it never realized its purpose and I left. All of this is to say that our community is a bit more purple than our surrounding areas. I am not active in the conservative group because they have “third rail” issues that seem to dominate them.

Other purple areas in the state seem to relate both to overall population density, which is highly correlated with minority populations, and colleges and universities. In these areas there appears to be a mirror image of the national progressive coalition of low-income minorities and wealthy and upper middle-class “guilt-laden” whites. Tennessee for many years had the “three states of Tennessee” slogan corresponding to its three stars on the state flag and the real economic-cultural different realities of west, central and east Tennessee. I think those differences remain but it is no longer as marked on the landscape as the various open and closed malls feature national chains.

@randyweivoda, also a blue state refugee, from his perch in Cookeville assures me that Tennessee is a long way from turning blue. This is comforting. But is it turning redder? That is the thesis of the Wall Street Journal piece:

A Wall Street Journal analysis of census data found that a third of [South Carolina’s] new residents between 2017 and 2021 hailed from blue states and a quarter from red ones, according to census data. …

Yet the new arrivals are disproportionately Republican. Estimates from the nonpartisan voter file vendor L2 suggest about 57% of voters who moved to South Carolina during that time are Republicans, while about 36% are Democrats and 7% are independents. That places them roughly in line with recent statewide votes in South Carolina.

***

Many people who leave blue states are Republicans gravitating toward a more politically favorable new home.

In Florida, for instance, 48% of people who moved there between 2017 and 2021 came from blue states while 29% came from red states, Census figures show. Among those who registered to vote, 44% are Republicans, 25% are Democrats and 28% are nonpartisan, according to L2 data. Texas also has a heavier flow of newcomers from blue states but a greater share who L2 data estimates are Republican.

This is comforting news for our local politics. Although I am informed by the conservative newsletter that our Nashville representatives are busy looking for ways to sell us out. There is reason to believe this is a bit of hype, but it is never a good idea to ignore it.

As a general proposition, is the Great Sort a good thing? If we adhered to our Founders’ design it likely would be. But so long as Washington holds too much power this seems to merely strengthen allies and antagonists. We tend to forget American politics was always rambunctious. But our ability to move into and develop new territories helped ameliorate conflict. Between the lands the government has locked up and the technology and commerce that has welded us in place, one wonders how the Great Sort will play out.

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  1. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Of course, The Wall Street Journal, which is a hostage to the top Financial Rulers of the world, is not going to mention that one of the reasons for “blue states getting bluer” is due to illegal immigration.

    There was great furor on my “X” feed about a month ago. Films of illegals lining up outside of a Social Security Service Center were making it clear that a fast path to either citizenship or voting in the 2024 election, or both, are taking place even inside a Red State like Florida.

    (There has been a  chart that has gone viral showing how few white college grads are now being hired by Fortune Five Hundred companies. The fact that over 90% of such new hires are black, hispanic or “other”  indicates exactly what is happening in terms of white displacement. Wall Street types don’t care about America’s actual citizens. Except of course if they are members of their own family, who will in due time inherit their parents’ firms.)

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  2. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Good post, my friend.  Almost every month I go to the monthly meeting of the Putnam County Republicans.  I was chatting with my county commissioner who told me that Putnam County used to be reliably Democratic about 20 years ago.  Now almost every elected office-holder is a Republican.  I think that besides interstate migration partially along ideological lines, we might even see that within the states.  It might be that conservative Tennesseans are moving away from Nashville and moving out to the conservative counties, while progressives from the smaller counties are moving to the big cities.

    Rodin: As a general proposition is the Great Sort a good thing? If we adhered to our Founders’ design it likely would be.

    I know a lot of pundits have wrung their hands over the great sort.  But what is wrong with people (when they have the option, as you and I did) moving to places where they feel they fit in?  I think there is nothing wrong with having political variety between the states.  I would very much prefer that we Americans embraced the ideas of federalism and got on board with moving a lot of authority and responsibility back to the states where it should have stayed.  As long as they are not violating the U.S. Constitution, let California be California.  Let Texas be Texas.

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  3. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Good post, my friend. Almost every month I go to the monthly meeting of the Putnam County Republicans. I was chatting with my county commissioner who told me that Putnam County used to be reliably Democratic about 20 years ago. Now almost every elected office-holder is a Republican. I think that besides interstate migration partially along ideological lines, we might even see that within the states. It might be that conservative Tennesseans are moving away from Nashville and moving out to the conservative counties, while progressives from the smaller counties are moving to the big cities.

    Rodin: As a general proposition is the Great Sort a good thing? If we adhered to our Founders’ design it likely would be.

    I know a lot of pundits have wrung their hands over the great sort. But what is wrong with people (when they have the option, as you and I did) moving to places where they feel they fit in? I think there is nothing wrong with having political variety between the states. I would very much prefer that we Americans embraced the ideas of federalism and got on board with moving a lot of authority and responsibility back to the states where it should have stayed. As long as they are not violating the U.S. Constitution, let California be California. Let Texas be Texas.

    Except we can expect the left to object to the “segregation” when “minorities” end up concentrated in places like the People’s Republic of California.  I wonder what kind of “bussing” they’ll demand then?

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  4. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    The “great sort” is a good thing and we are free to sort ourselves out in ways Europe can’t. Their state-size countries can’t be as fluid.  People are separated by nationalities, language, and culture, to a point. A move the distances like the ones you two made would require a change of citizenship there. 

    Federalism will determine the future here. When it breaks down, nasty things happen. Democrats have a strong desire  to control all of us, enforcing their beliefs universally rather than by state.  If their plans aren’t warned off, then the “great sort” will make the “national divorce” easier, but still difficult, and likely bloody. If people are willing to move to live free, they will not want the move to be in vain. 

    I embrace the “great sort,” but only if ‘isn’t a modern Trojan Horse hiding invaders who will conquer us at the ballot box.  

    I want the 4th branch of government neutered, returned to its role of advising the president and assisting him in seeing existing laws, those clearly stated in bills, are enforced. Their power should be limited and actions known to the one man constitutionally empowered, who will be held to account. No agency should have internal power to punish or profit from fines and fees.

    I want republicans to serve notice that their corruption and distortion of the Constitution will not be tolerated and will be considered actions that break the compact the states agreed to when they ratified the Constitution. That is the red line I want drawn to serve as a peaceful deterrent to their bad behavior. They will push forward with their lefty plans until they are stopped. They have no guardrails. Do we have a backbone? So far, I see only two groups energized, MAGA and those who took the time and expense to move.

    I’m tired of hearing about “suburban women.” They choose to live in blue areas and they have no fight in them. I will not vote to appease them.

     

    • #4
  5. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    No, I suspect in the end the whole country will go blue but be denied as red.

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  6. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Red Herring (View Comment):

    The “great sort” is a good thing and we are free to sort ourselves out in ways Europe can’t. Their state-size countries can’t be as fluid. People are separated by nationalities, language, and culture, to a point. A move the distances like the ones you two made would require a change of citizenship there.

    Federalism will determine the future here. When it breaks down, nasty things happen. Democrats have a strong desire to control all of us, enforcing their beliefs universally rather than by state. If their plans aren’t warned off, then the “great sort” will make the “national divorce” easier, but still difficult, and likely bloody. If people are willing to move to live free, they will not want the move to be in vain.

     

    It’s because of this, again:

     

    • #6
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