This Blogger Candidate Forum taking a break from Impeachment-palooza to bring you something different. Before The Forum dives into the deep blue south, a quick bit of Impeachment-related news. Tomorrow is a yuge day in the House of Representatives. The House will vote on a resolution to formalize the Impeachment inquiry. If passed, this will open the hearings to the public and allow the White House lawyers to present their case, thus far. This is exactly what the president and his defenders have been clamoring about for the month. Be careful what you wish for, you may get it and it may not be what want. Shall we move on to the Southern United States?
|Map of the Southern United States|
American liberals have a density problem. While they continue to rack up electoral victories in their natural urban habitat, they are narrowly losing the suburbs and less populated states. This uneven distribution, the Democratic party is winning state but not the federal election, despite winning the popular vote. The Forum thinks you know who she is referring to.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 General Election despite winning the popular vote by a 2.4 million-vote margin (theatlantic.com; Sept. 17, 2019; date accessed Oct. 30, 2019). Madame Secretary carried the hipster enclave of Brooklyn and Manhattan by more than approximately 1 million ballots--greater than Mr. Donald Trump's margin of victories in Florida, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania combined (Ibid).
|2000 Presidential Election|
Derek Thompson writes, "But 2016 wasn't a fluke. Neither was 2000, when Al Gore lost the election despite winning 500,000 more votes than George W. Bush" (Ibid). Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin recently published a paper that concluded "Republicans are expected to win 65% of presidential contest in which they narrowly lose the popular vote" (mobile.twitter.com/@DKThomp; Sept. 15, 2019; date accessed Oct. 30, 2019).
Rightly, the Democrats can blame the Electoral College for these losses as well--perhaps that is why many of the blue persuasion want to eliminate this product of constitutional compromise. Stanford political scientist Johnathan Rodden's latest book Why Cities Lose, "the problem isn't just the districting. It's the density" (theatlantic.com; Sept. 17, 2019). You look anywhere in the world and you find that liberal, college-educated flock to the cities, where they distill their voting power through over saturation. Mr. Rodden writes,
Underrepresentation of the urban left in national legislatures and governments has been a basic feature of all industrialization countries that use winner-take-all elections,... (Ibid)
Now imagine if more Democrats moved from their natural urban habitats and evenly distributed themselves among the Red America? Mr. Thompson already did it for you.
|How to hail a cab in New York City|
Derek Thompson published an article, "Why Are America's Three Biggest Metros Shrinking?" (Ibid; Sept. 9, 2019), illuminating on what he refers to as the "urban exodus." The better description is "blue urban exodus" (Ibid; Sept. 17, 2019), as in more leftward metropolitan in blue-hued states are hemorrhaging people. Mr. Thompson reports, "The New York City metro area is shrinking by 277 people every day" (Ibid). The major Midwestern, West and East Coast cities--eg. Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, and Boston--are all in states that routinely fall into the Democrat column by wide margins. Where are people moving to?
They are migrating to redder hued states in the South and West. Fact: Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, and Orlando are among the fastest growing metropolitan in states won by the president. Other metro areas with a population of 1 million or more that grew in the last by at least 1.5 percent last year were Las Vegas, Austin, Texas; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Antonio, and Nashville, Tennessee. All of these growing metropolitan area are in red or purple states.
|William Frey analysis of census data|
However, it is not only liberals that are packing their bags and heading South. Florida is a mecca for retirees who neatly fit into the Fox News demographic and some of people (theguardian.com; July 3, 2019; date accessed Oct. 30, 2019) leaving California for Texas are conservative. However, "...today's domestic migrants are often college graduates of the exceedingly liberal Generation Y and Z" (theatlantic.com; Sept. 17, 2019). According to the research of Brookings Institute demographer William Frey, Americans between the ages of 20 to 40 are three times more likely to move than people between 50 and 70. Mr. Frey told The Atlantic,
The current migration to these suburbs is mostly people in their 20s and 30s, or Millennials, who are more diverse and liberal than the rest of the population (Ibid)
The slow drip of young resident rolling down towards red-state suburbia is helping turn southern metro blue--"Of course migration isn't the only factor pushing these metros leftward, but more on that later"(Ibid). For example, in Texas, in the counties home to Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin (the "Texas Five) grew (cnn.com; date accessed Oct. 30, 2019) from 130,000 in the 2012 presidential election to almost 800,000 in last year's midterms.
In Arizona, between 2012 and 2016, Democrats closed their electoral gal in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, by 100,000 (theatlantic.com; Sept. 17, 2019). In the 2018 Senate Midterm Elections, the county flipped Democrat, with Democrats adding 100,000 votes (Ibid).
In Georgia, one of the reddest of red states, between the 2012 presidential elections and the 2018 gubernatorial election, the four counties home to most of Atlanta and its suburbs, Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett experienced Democratic margin increase by over 250,000.
What is truly remarkable about these is the size, but how closely they match Mr. Trump's 2016 margins. Case in point, the president won Texas by 800,000 votes; Arizona by 90,000 votes; Georgia by 170,000 votes. If left leaning trends continue in these states biggest metro area, there is every reason to believe that Texas, Georgia, and Florida will be in play. However, domestic migration is not the only reason for the shift.
Re-election campaigns are just as much a referendum on the incumbent's popularity as they are about politics. While young southerners are moving their region left, older voters could switch their voting preference in response to Mr. Trump. Republicans are not helping their cause by moving further to the right to strengthen their white exurban and rural base, in the face of dwindling support in the suburbs and working-class white women (nybooks.com; Sept. 26, 2019; date accessed Oct. 30, 2019).
National elections aside, the southern blue tide could have other political implications: i.e. showdowns between blue cities in red states. The Atlantic's David Graham argued (Ibid; March 2017) that GOP led state governments, like North Carolina's general assembly, have waged war on liberal cities, like Charlotte, by reversing a local ordinance that forbade discrimination against LGBTQ people. These types of confrontation are frequent features in southern politics. In the past several months both the Dallas Morning News (dallasnews.com; date accessed Oct. 30, 2019 and the Dallas Observer published articles lamenting the Californication of northern Texas, with the Morning News noting that,
...conservatives fear these domestic migrants will bring with them a liberal ideology that would disturb the Texas way of living (theatlantic.com; Sept. 17, 2019)
The potential of more red state-blue city confrontations could for the Republican Party to finally shake off its retrograde politics and compete more aggressively for votes in the New South--i.e. be a the party for moderates, African American voters, and immigrants. The reverse is also true. Democrats in Houston and Dallas could creep into Republican territory, agreeing with their Republican neighbors' arguments on lower levels of state and local tax.
In general, the southern blue tide would be a force for positive change for both parties, especially the Republicans and, by extension, the United States. Without real changes to the Electoral College or changes in the distribution of Democratic votes, we could be doomed to replay the 2016 over and over again. The southern blue tide is not the panacea for what ails families in American southern suburbs. However, if more rural families join the liberal transplants and nonwhite families in America's ever diversifying suburbs, Americans might discover, much to their delight, a brighter more positive political future.