Following up on my previous electoral politics post, I did some talking to some folks from Colorado and the Pacific NW, specifically about people leaving California. Generally they leave for economic reasons.
Those economic reasons are, it’s safe to say, generally politically-driven. California has a long history, as (by far) the wealthiest state in the nation, of driving business to go elsewhere — damn shame, as California has a hell of a lot going for it. As people do the same thing, however, they very rarely conclude that the same sorts of politics that uprooted them shouldn’t be brought with them.
Thus, California emigrants are known to be consistently taking the Mountain West from “Red” to “Purple,” or even flat-out “Blue.” Looking at the electoral map, it’s pretty clear that Colorado’s shift to generally liberal politics is what’s giving the Democrats their edge, because they’ve swung districts that would normally have been as blue as Houston is red.
Looking at the electoral map, it’s really hard to see any of the “swing states” changing direction — and equally hard to see how any other mix of candidates would have changed that pattern, either.
A similar pattern is evident in New Mexico, where Blue-state emigres (not merely Californians, but a surprising number of New Yorkers) moves the state from purple to deep blue. Here in Texas, Dallas is now significantly more liberal than Fort Worth, and is nearly being colonized by people moving in from New York and New Jersey.
If the same Blue-state politics these folks bring with them become dominant, the Republicans will have been hosed — not necessarily because of the Democrats’ electoral success… but directly because of people fleeing their regulatory and economic failure.
Given the Republican party establishment’s general tendency to not merely ignore the grassroots, but to scorn the very notion that it should care about what its political base thinks, I’d say that these demographic pattens screw them in the long-term. If political liberals ever recover from their ideologically-induced economic ignorance — and watch out, elephants, we now even hear CATO Institute representatives giving educational blurbs on NPR’s Marketplace! — the foreign-policy issues that have had libertarian/conservative voters holding their noses and falling into line for the past twelve years will not be enough to save the Republicans from extinction.