Blue States Sinking
By BETSY MCCAUGHEY
Someone should remind the RNC that red states are on the rise.
Last week the national Republican Party issued a report on why it lost the 2012 presidential election. The report belongs in the paper shredder. Look at a map of the U.S. and you’ll see why. The Republican Party is already on the way to dominating presidential politics. Red states are on the rise, and blue states are sinking.
In politics, demography is destiny. The biggest mistake the GOP could make is to change course and abandon its current policies. It will soon control an electoral college majority.
Americans are voting with their feet to live in Republican-run states with low taxes, pro-business environments, and job-producing fossil-fuel production. This migration will produce a huge gain for the GOP in congressional seats and electoral college votes. The U.S. Census shows that from 2000 to 2010, Americans fled Democratic-controlled states on the East Coast, the West Coast, and the Great Lakes region to make their homes in Republican-controlled states with pro-growth policies.
The population shift continues. Democratic states are shrinking , and Republican states are gaining population. The biggest population losers are New York, California, and Illinois. The eight states where the most Americans are choosing to relocate are Florida, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, and Tennessee — all states with Republican governors.
Chief Executive magazine gave every one of these rapidly growing states a high grade for business-friendly policies, and labeled Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, and California the states with the worst business policies. But it doesn’t take an economist to figure it where the opportunities are. Over the last decade, Americans figured it out for themselves, uprooted their families and moved to red states.
The Southeast, the Gulf Coast, the Rocky Mountain states and the Great Plains are what Joel Kotkin of the Manhattan Institute calls “pro-growth corridors.” Right now these four pro-growth areas make up only 30 percent of the nation’s population, but that figure will rise rapidly.
Newcomers to the U.S. are also flocking to these pro-growth regions. Republicans should take note of this before recklessly concluding, as last week’s report does, that the GOP needs to change its message to immigrants. The pro-business messaging of the Republican governors is not keeping immigrants away. Between 2000 and 2010, the foreign-born populations of Charlotte and Nashville doubled, according to Kotkin, and the foreign-born populations of Tampa and Atlanta increased 50 percent.
The evidence is even stronger that the GOP should not tamper with its pro-fossil fuel energy policy. It’s a winner. Americans are moving in droves to fossil-fuel producing states. In contrast, California, which refuses to develop its gas and oil reserves, and New York, which foolishly delays fracking to create jobs in its impoverished upstate counties, are losing population and will lose congressional seats and electoral votes in 2020.
Americans want growth. They know Republican governors — now presiding in 30 out of the 50 state capitals — are making it happen. Sadly, the GOP bosses behind the 2012 presidential campaign didn’t stress how these same policies could restore growth on a national level. Or if they did, the message got lost.
Worse, last week’s report gave economic growth the cold shoulder and whined about CEOs making too much money. Reagan’s policies, the report suggested, are thirty years old and therefore out of date. How ridiculous. Low tax, small government policies are behind the current red-state boom.
Shockingly, last week’s post mortem also never mentioned the Constitution! Defending the Constitution and personal liberty against government intrusion is the GOP’s core mission.
Worst of all, last week’s report suggested that to attract minority voters, the GOP should hire Hispanic and African-American communications directors for each state. Wrong again. The Democratic Party is about hiring quotas. The GOP stands for color-blind fairness — hiring people and voting for people based on content of their character, not the color of their skin.
Next time the GOP wants to know about winning, ask the winners — the Republican governors. They are presiding over the rise of the Republican Party.
*Betsy McCaughey is a former Lt. Governor of New York and author of Beating Obamacare.