Americans relocating to places that allow them to live according to their values and principles continues apace. California is reporting its second straight year of population decline. Between July of 2019 and July of 2021, the state lost more than 350,000 people. These are the first declines in the state’s 140-year history and follow two years of draconian COVID-19 policy. Vaccine mandates abound throughout the state, and policymakers are trying to force them on children as young as five. Meanwhile, Texas and Florida saw population growth as their leaders fought open borders, vaccine mandates, and racially divisive K-12 curriculum.
As high-profile figures move, they clarify the political principles driving their decision. The most recent defector from California is podcaster and founder of Locals, Dave Rubin. In a video announcement, Rubin talked about his previous commitment to changing the direction of California and his work during the recall to support Republican candidate Larry Elder. Now, he believes residents want to be governed by the radical progressive policies of Gov. Gavin Newsom and a unified Democrat government. Rubin is moving his business, employees, and family to Florida.
In another video, other public figures who left New York, California, and other deep-blue states welcomed Rubin and asked what had taken him so long. Tucker Carlson, Ben Shapiro, Donald Trump Jr., and others made appearances. Rubin is an admitted NBA fan, and Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando magic even promised tickets:
It’s not just high-profile Americans moving to states that reflect their values. PJ Media’s own Jeff Reynolds recently left the Portland, Ore. area after living there for almost 30 years. “I moved to Oregon in 1994 because of my deep family ties there on my mother’s side of the family. Portland used to be a hip, up-and-coming city that was big but still accessible,” Reynolds said. “What it’s become is unrecognizable. The stress of dealing with the urban rot, along with the fear of politically motivated prosecutions, sucked most of the joy out of living there. The political scene is unfixable.”
It sounds like Reynolds experienced in Oregon what Rubin described in California. He noted, “What used to be rugged individualism has been replaced in too many Oregonians with reliance upon the state, blind trust in control freak politicians, and an utter refusal by voters to make adult decisions and vote for actual solutions.” Like others who have the resources to move, Reynolds left Oregon. “So in June, after 27 years, I relocated to Florida for the chance at liberty again.”
Broadly speaking, the trend of relocating based on ideology signals two diametrically opposed visions of America. The vision in states like the one Rubin and Reynolds moved to offers individual autonomy, belief in sovereign borders and the value of citizenship, emphasis on providing equal opportunity (not equal outcomes), and electing state leaders who expect law and order to be maintained. For the most part, residents in these states do not care how other states, like Oregon and California, run themselves. In fact, it seems the more Democrat-controlled states impose authoritarian measures, the more states like Florida and Texas benefit.
Meanwhile, at the federal level and in deep blue states, there seems to be a determination to force their vision of America on the entire country. President Biden’s vaccine mandate, massive social spending, and control programs in the Build Back Better agenda interfere with personal medical and lifestyle choices. The administration’s insistence on coercive policies that demand equity of outcome based on race and its economy-killing energy policies touch the daily lives of all Americans. They are precisely the kind of policies people are fleeing California, Oregon, and other states to escape.
Red states are already passing legislation in direct opposition to federal mandates and regulations. When blue states declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants and legalized marijuana and other illicit drugs, they claimed they were on the right side of history and suffered no consequences. Yet, now that red states are eliminating racialized curriculum, arresting illegal immigrants on state laws, building border walls, limiting abortion, and prohibiting vaccine mandates, they are being challenged in the courts. Constitutionally speaking, the red states are within their right to take the actions they have. Blue states are violating laws where the federal government has supremacy.
It is not clear that any compromise can reconcile these two visions, short of a radical return to the federal powers enumerated in the Constitution and an expansion of the Tenth Amendment powers reserved to the states. A Convention of States could accomplish this. However, while there is an active movement to convene one, only 15 states have passed the required legislation — far short of the required 38. So, how do these two factions coexist if the nation can’t come to the table for a grand compromise?
The short answer is they don’t. One vision needs to win, and the other must be soundly defeated. This is the fundamental debate that elections in 2022 and 2024 must settle definitively. Currently, the momentum is flowing towards freedom. The task for all of us is to ensure it stays that way.