January 5, 2010


The Limits Of Politics: Why urban-centric blue state politicians can't save cities like Chicago and Detroit. (Joel Kotkin, 01.05.10, Forbes)

The recession may have slowed the pace of net migration, but the essential pattern has remained in place. People continue to leave places like New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles for more affordable, economically viable regions like Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. Overall, the big winners in net migration have been predominately conservative states like Texas--with over 800,000 net new migrants--notes demographer Wendell Cox. In what Cox calls "the decade of the South," 90% of all net migration went to southern states.

Utah, Colorado and the Pacific Northwest have also experienced positive flows--but perhaps most striking have been the migration gains, albeit modest, in Great Plains states such as Oklahoma and South Dakota as well as Appalachian Kentucky and West Virginia. Historically these places shipped many of their people to cities of the industrial Midwest, the eastern seaboard and California; that is no longer the case.

Ultimately these shifts could undermine the true blue political strategy, perhaps as early as the 2010 congressional and state elections, and certainly after reapportionment. By 2012, the census will likely take seats from New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, handing them over to Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Utah. Perhaps nothing will epitomize the new reality more than the fact that California, now among the most extreme blue states in terms of governance, will not gain a Congressional seat for the first time since the 1860s.

These trends suggest that the current administration and the majority party in Congress must adjust their strategy. Further attempts to push a radical "progressive" agenda--expansive public employee bailouts, higher taxes and radical measures to combat "climate change" and suburban development--might please their current core constituencies, but they have the perverse effect of driving even more people and jobs out of these regions.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 5, 2010 6:40 AM
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