At my site, The Hayride, which deals more often than not with issues of politics and culture in Louisiana, I appropriated a term to describe the mass phenomenon of westward outmigration that the state’s dysfunctional public sector has created and fueled.
That term: Texodus.
It’s been the case for decades that Texas, with its more honest politics, saner tax code, healthier business sector, safer and smoother streets, and more upwardly mobile society, is draining Louisiana of its productive citizens. And since John Bel Edwards, an unprincipled leftist who flimflammed his way into Louisiana’s governor’s mansion in successive elections by exploiting a fractured field of backbiting GOP candidates, has taken office, Texodus has been turbocharged. Nearly 200,000 Louisianans on net have migrated to other states since Edwards’ first inauguration seven years ago, with a strong plurality of those people making their way across the Sabine River to Texas.
But while we spend a lot of time talking about Texodus, Flexodus is also a thing. You’ll find a huge number of Louisianans now living in Florida. If you spend any time in the Florida panhandle, for example, and particularly in beach communities there like Perdido Key, Destin, and Santa Rosa Beach, you’d think you were in a tony suburb of New Orleans.
You might think of Louisiana as a red state, and in federal elections it’s beet red. But the state’s political culture has never truly recovered from the populist socialism of former Gov. Huey Long Jr.’s political cabal of the 1930s, and its governmental infrastructure is capital-P Progressive and capital-O Oppressive to the proper working of a market economy. Bad politics and the resultant bad economics have plagued this place for almost a century, if not longer, and will continue to cause rampant outmigration until its Republican politicians grow enough of a spine to take Longism out back for the mercy killing it has desperately needed.
Maybe that will finally happen in next year’s statewide election cycle, and the outmigration will stop. There is reason to believe it will.
But Texodus and Flexodus don’t just describe a growing Louisiana diaspora, though the reasons for them are as obvious as applied to other states as they are similar. The fact is that people in blue states — or states that are governed according to the blue model — are increasingly poor, miserable, and hopeless.
And people don’t like to be increasingly poor, miserable, and hopeless.
So they leave.
I was asked during a radio appearance right after the midterms what I thought went wrong for Lee Zeldin in his well-fought-but-ultimately-doomed run against Kathy Hochul for governor of New York. My answer wasn’t earth-shattering, unless you can use that term to describe the obvious: Zeldin did everything right, but what killed him was that the half-million votes he needed to turn the Empire State red were down in Florida turning Ron DeSantis’ reelection into a cakewalk.
And this week the Wall Street Journal had a piece with census figures proving true what everyone knows: people are voting with their feet and turning America’s great political divide into a chasm:
Texas and Florida make up about 15% of the U.S. population but accounted for 70% of its population growth this past year. That’s one of the revealing facts in the Census Bureau’s annual assessment of U.S. migration released last week. The biggest news is that the exodus from progressive-led states hasn’t slowed even as Covid lockdowns eased.
The U.S. population grew by about 1.2 million between July 2021 and July 2022, with foreign immigration accounting for a million of the total. Yet the Census Bureau found that some states still lost population because migration to other states exceeded foreign immigration.
California (343,230), New York (299,557) and Illinois (141,656) lost the most residents to other states, but New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Louisiana were also big losers. Where are all these folks moving?
Mostly to states with lower taxes, more affordable housing and a higher standard of living. Florida drew the most newcomers (318,855), followed by Texas (230,961), North Carolina (99,796), South Carolina (84,030), Tennessee (81,646), Georgia (81,406) and Arizona (70,984). More people moved to West Virginia than left for the first time in a decade.
The effect of this had something to do with the “red fizzle” of the 2022 midterms, and not just in Zeldin’s race. New York and California actually contributed to GOP gains in the House. But in statewide elections, Republicans can’t be competitive in either state, and the other big losers like Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Michigan have become largely unwinnable for the GOP at the statewide level.
You know all this. What’s the key takeaway?
Well, if you’re a frequent reader of this column, you’re likely familiar with the concept of Weaponized Governmental Failure — and if you’re familiar with that, you know that these things are no particular accident.
The people moving from New York to Florida, or from California to Texas, or from Illinois to Tennessee, are the people the ruling class in New York, California, and Illinois are perfectly happy to be rid of. They’re the middle-class and upper-middle-class strivers who have already been dispatched from the cities to the suburbs and exurbs, and, if you’re a leftist politician — be you Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, Muriel Bowser, or Lori Lightfoot — those people are undesirables.
Because they actually care that their tax dollars aren’t stolen.
Middle-class voters get irritated when the pothole money isn’t spent on the potholes. They actually believe their tax dollars should produce functional schools that educate their kids rather than turn them into sexually confused anti-American imbeciles who read at a third-grade level and can’t do basic math. They think calling 911 should produce a cop on the scene in mere minutes ready to save the day and that the police should deter crime.
They’re actually looking for a return on investment from those tax payments. And the leftist project isn’t to produce that return. It’s to produce the kind of chaos that makes people more dependent on government.
Not all that long ago, those leftist politicians used to pay lip service to things like economic development, entrepreneurship, and self-reliance. Even civil liberties. They stopped talking about those things because they’d produced an electorate in the cities they governed that no longer valued them. And now it’s social justice and gender affirmation instead. Which is about knowing your audience more than anything else.
People flee from their rule, as they should. And that’s how the Gretchen Whitmers and Gavin Newsoms of the world want it. They don’t like the idea of a real debate or real opposition because their records can’t hold up to that light.
This isn’t all that bad a thing under the right circumstances, you know. If Michigan collapses under Whitmer’s misrule, or if Hochul drives New York into bankruptcy, it could well be an object lesson that shifts the Overton window in a good direction.
What’s dangerous is that it might happen while Joe Biden is president and while Stupid Party Republicans like Mitch McConnell are in control of the GOP’s congressional caucuses.
Because, in a functional America, New York or Illinois could dry up and blow away and the rest of the states would actually profit from the collapse. Jobs, capital, and population would simply transfer elsewhere as the market works its will, and what’s left of New York would necessarily change course.
This isn’t a functional America, is the problem.
Guess what props up Louisiana’s budget amid all this outmigration? Federal dollars appropriated by Democrats and Stupid Party Republicans who subsidize Weaponized Governmental Failure at the local and state level.
Blue cities particularly, and quite often blue cities in red states, receive a staggering amount of federal money that largely bypasses the scrutiny of state governments. And that swag eliminates most of the sting of the loss of those middle-class taxpayers to redder locales.
And since Barack Obama came on the scene and started blowing federal swag out of the door, this applies to states as well.
At the beginning of Edwards’ seven-year Texodus/Flexodus debacle, Louisiana’s state budget was around $26 billion. Now it’s closer to $40 billion, with a population that has barely budged. Think he’s upset about mostly Republican voters leaving Texodus-style? Hardly. The word “outmigration” has never crossed his lips.
As it doesn’t in the case of Newsom. Or London Breed in San Francisco. Or Eric Adams. Or Whitmer. Or Phil Murphy.
They’re glad to be rid of the normals. They don’t want us. They hate us.
But they insist on governing us no matter how far we run. The Biden regime has made that quite clear.
And that’s the problem with the Great Sorting that Texodus, Flexodus, and the rest are emblematic of.
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