Blue State Blues: Fleeing Democrats Will Turn Texas Blue
In Los Angeles this week, three city council members blamed fracking for an earthquake, though they are not actually certain whether any fracking has occurred. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio is continuing his fight to crush charter schools that are primarily helping black and Hispanic children. In Illinois, the House Speaker announced plans to raise taxes on millionaires, despite proof that doing so will hurt the state's ailing economy.
Even some Democrats know that their party is being unreasonable.
California's Gov. Jerry Brown, for example, refuses to ban fracking. New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo may hate conservatives just as much as de Blasio, but he is defending the charter schools. In Illinois, there aren't yet any Democrats willing to oppose the millionaire tax. Yet millions of Democrats are voting with their feet, leaving Illinois for more conservative jurisdictions.
And perhaps that is the point.
For years, Democrats have hoped to take Texas back. The Lone Star State has produced the last two Republican presidents, some of the most important conservative legislators, and untold millions of dollars for GOP candidates across the country.
To shift Texas into the Democratic column would prevent Republicans from mounting any kind of nationwide challenge and virtually wipe out the opposition.
Much of the discussion about how Democrats are going to "turn Texas blue" revolves around demographic changes, especially immigration reform. Allowing millions of illegal aliens to find a pathway to citizenship will create millions of new Democratic voters. In the meantime, Republican opposition to that plan is said to be pushing Latino voters away. All Democrats need to do is boost their turnout, and the GOP's Alamo will fall.
Yet there is another demographic change that is bound to have an effect on Texas: the rapid influx of refugees from blue states.
The Manhattan Institute notes that Texas is the number-one destination for California's émigré population, for example. It is popular among migrants from other blue states as well, owing to its warm climate, job opportunities, and lack of a state income tax. Over time, that is changing Texas's political culture.
It has happened in Virginia, where urbane transplants from D.C. and Maryland have moved the state ever-more firmly into the Democratic column. It has happened in New Hampshire, where the motto remains "Live Free or Die," but where professionals fleeing "Taxachusetts" have shifted the state sharply left. It has happened in Colorado, where liberal arrivals with a taste for the outdoors helped transform the local political culture.
That process will take far longer in Texas, but liberal enclaves in Austin and San Antonio are no longer as isolated as they were a few years ago.
So perhaps there is a method to the blue-state madness: make the union-dominated, heavily-indebted, and highly-taxed Democratic strongholds so inhospitable for economic reasons that their most highly mobile residents relocate to red states, taking their cultural preferences with them.
A likelier reason for the ongoing self-destruction of the big blue states is that they have passed a political tipping point, beyond which a despondent population despairs of being able to pull itself out of its economic and social malaise and keeps voting for more government in the hope of delaying the inevitable collapse.
But with this cohort of Democrat leaders, steeped in Saul Alinksy's tactics of creative disruption, anything is possible.