People Moving for Politics?

It seems that some Americans are relocating to be with people who share their social and cultural views.

An NPR story that I didn’t have time to blog about earlier in the week: “Americans are fleeing to places where political views match their own.” It starts, as these things often do, with an anecdote:

There’s a private Facebook group with nearly 8,000 members called Conservatives Moving to Texas. Three of them are sitting at a dinner table — munching on barbecue weenies and brownies — in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. None are vaxxed.

And they love it here.

“As soon as I drove into Texas, literally, as soon as I could get into the state and stop at my first truck stop for gas it was, like, ‘This is wonderful,’ ” says Lynn Seeden, a 59-year-old portrait photographer from Orange County, Calif.

“People weren’t wearing masks — nobody cared. It’s kind of like heaven on earth.”

She says when the state of California forced her to close her photography studio over COVID-19 restrictions, she and her husband, a retired newspaper editor, knew it was time to “escape.”

So, on the one hand, I get why someone who is anti-mask would want to live in a place where they’re not shamed for their choice and, certainly, why someone who wants everyone around them to be masked and vaccinated would prefer to live in a place where that’s the norm. But finding a new job, packing up one’s household, and moving across the country is a rather significant undertaking. I’ve done it a dozen or so times but, even though I’m much more politically motivated than most, never for politics.

This is followed by a thesis statement:

America is growing more geographically polarized — red ZIP codes are getting redder and blue ZIP codes are becoming bluer. People appear to be sorting.

Which is followed by more anecdote:

“We felt very out of place and very uncomfortable at times,” says Tiffany Wooten, a 43-year-old stay-at-home mom whose family recently relocated from conservative Indiana to liberal Austin. “We were looking at blue cities because we wanted to be with our own people.”

The trend seems to be quickening as conservatives flee places with strict COVID-19 rules.

Karen Bates, a 52-year-old mortgage executive, moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area with her family last year from Puerto Rico. She says the island’s government was going to force her teenaged daughter, who has Type 1 diabetes, to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. She now attends a Christian school.

“She’s not had to wear a mask,” Bates says. “She doesn’t have to get vaccinated. She’s thriving on the tennis team, making straight A’s. I love the freedom of [vaccine] choice in Texas.”

In the modern era, Texas has fashioned itself into a sort-of breakaway red-meat republic — banning books and restricting abortion, blocking mask mandates, and building its own border fence. It retains this national image in spite of the fact that its five largest counties went for President Biden.

But more and more Trump followers are flocking to red Texas in search of the promised land.

“People are asking, ‘Tell me about the most conservative towns. Where should I be moving?’ ” says Seeden, of the people who post comments on the Conservatives Moving to Texas page.

So, again, the impulse is understandable. But most of us have understood the COVID restrictions to be something temporary. And that’s even more true for the most virulent anti-mask, anti-vaccine folks, who keep reminding us that this all started as a very short-term measure to “flatten the curve.” So, a major—and expensive—lifestyle reordering in response to something that appears to be ending even in the bluest cities in the bluest states seems drastic.

The national real estate brokerage, Redfin, predicted that in 2022, “people will vote with their feet, moving to places that align with their politics.”

It’s actually been happening for some time.

Residents have been fleeing states like California with high taxes, expensive real estate and school mask mandates and heading to conservative strongholds like Idaho, Tennessee and Texas.

More than one of every 10 people moving to Texas during the pandemic was from California, according to the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University. Most came from Southern California. Florida was the second biggest contributor of new Texans.

That 10% of those moving to Texas are doing so from California seems like an impressive bit of evidence, until one realizes that 12% of Americans live in California. Further, while tax policies are certainly political, moving to places with lower taxes isn’t necessarily a political statement.

After some more anecdotes, we get this:

While schools, crime, real estate prices and quality of life are still major considerations for folks who are moving, finding an area with shared political views is key.

Political scientist Larry Sabato posted an analysis on Thursday that shows how America’s “super landslide” counties have grown over time.

Of the nation’s total 3,143 counties, the number of super landslide counties — where a presidential candidate won at least 80% of the vote — has jumped from 6% in 2004 to 22% in 2020.

“Trump’s blowouts were concentrated in white, rural counties in the Greater South, Interior West, and Great Plains,” Sabato writes, “while Biden’s were in a smattering of big cities, college towns, and smaller counties with large percentages of heavily Democratic nonwhite voters.”

Put another way, Biden won 85% of counties with a Whole Foods and only 32% of counties with a Cracker Barrel.

It’s not at all obvious that the evidence supports the thesis. That voting patterns are increasingly aligned with geography doesn’t necessarily mean that people moved to neighborhoods with politics in mind. It’s just that the two major political parties are themselves incredibly sorted, aiming to mobilize distinct bases. Democrats increasingly appeal to the college-educated and professional classes, as well as Blacks and Hispanics, all of whom tend to live near the major urban centers whereas Republicans increasingly appeal to blue-collar and agricultural workers in the rural and suburban areas.

The rest of the report is more anecdote and argues that this sorting, while dangerous to our national politics, may be a good thing for the individual psyche.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jay L Gischer says:

    Meanwhile, the people I know who live in Texas insist that it is turning blue, and statewide electoral trends seem to confirm this.

    This is a classic “trend story”, which I have learned over the years to read with extreme caution. As you have done.

    I mean, I have to laugh a bit, since yesterday a friend told me the story of driving through Arizona and listening to some local candidate pontificate about how “we can’t let California millionaires come in here and tell us what to do” The amusing bit is pretty much any Californian who has owned a home for 20 years is a millionaire. So if they cash out and move somewhere cheaper, they are political fodder (Arizona is a common target for retirement, after all).

    LOL, so which is it? Sorting or carpetbagging?

    Yeah, it’s expensive to live here, and that’s a good reason to move elsewhere. That goes regardless of your politics.

    3
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I didn’t.

    Residents have been fleeing states like California with high taxes, expensive real estate and school mask mandates and heading to conservative strongholds like Idaho, Tennessee and Texas.

    One of these 3 is not like the other. As you noted James, “Further, while tax policies are certainly political, moving to places with lower taxes isn’t necessarily a political statement. I read a story just a few days ago about people *fleeing California and moving into small towns in flyover country* simply because of far more affordable housing. Politics had nothing to do with it. But if one is looking for a particular thing, one is likely to find it.

    The reporter was told to write a story about people moving because of politics and Voila! They wrote a story about people moving because of politics. If they had asked me why I moved out here the interview would have ended as soon as I answered. My story doesn’t fit the premise.

    eta ** forgot to add that the story was very limited, I did not see how there could be a vast exodus to small towns with high unemployment and low wages attracting a bunch of people with low real estate prices. Most everybody around here drives up to STL and environs for work. I spent most of my 20 yrs out here working at Fort Leonard Wood or in STL. An hour plus commute in either direction.

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  3. Jay L Gischer says:

    Oh, and you know what I think is good for the psyche? Figuring out how to get along with people who don’t have the same politics as you. Like, for instance, you and Steven have. It’s work, but it’s good for the soul.

    7
  4. charon says:

    TX has no income tax, I believe (not checking) WA the same. Anecdotally, people from CA tend to retire to TX if conservative, WA if liberal – my RWNJ brother spent most of his working life in CA, recently retired to TX.

    Conservatives are often religious fundamentalists, a reason to want to live somewhere with lots of similar people – as suburban TX is.

    3
  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    When it comes to moving I am professional level. Well over 50 homes in 14 states and three foreign countries. I have never moved for politics, but I have definitely avoided moving for politics. To start, while I lived in the South parts of my childhood, I would never live in the deep south now. I lived in North Carolina for a while but only after Jesse Helms was done for.

    Politics is one factor – I won’t live around Republicans – but there’s not much temptation to do so, either. There is only one state in this country with good weather and that is California. So, while I could live in Massachusetts for example, have you done a Boston winter? I could live in Washington State but even with the enticing bonus of no state income tax – I like to be able to see the sun occasionally.

    As always I reject single bullet motivations, no choice is ever made for one single reason. I think what we’re seeing is economic migration presented as political. It’s very expensive to live in California. It’s cheaper just about anywhere else. But people don’t want to admit that they’re essentially doing a reverse dustbowl, retracing their ancestor’s roots.

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  6. Jay L Gischer says:

    @charon: You are correct, WA has no income tax. Interestingly enough, there are plenty of conservative areas in WA with a high level of church attendance.

    And there are uh, gayborhoods in Houston and presumably other cities in TX. But yeah, I’m sure there are folks out there who rule stuff out because of statewide politics. I’m much more of a carpetbagger than a sorter, personally. However, I don’t anticipate moving at all. I like my house.

    3
  7. steve says:

    Lived in Texas for a short while. Liked it a lot, except for the Texans.

    Steve

    5
  8. Modulo Myself says:

    The conservative narrative is so childish and nihilistic–it’s always somebody fleeing the tyrannies of a blue state for red state freedom. I can see leaving SF or LA because of the combo crime, homelessness, and the cost of real estate. But these are places people want to live. There’s no tyranny going on. The conservative narrative is what people tell themselves when they’ve failed or been rejected. It’s easier to blame the government than your own ambitions and dreams. Conversely, the person who never accepts responsibility is not exactly sought after socially. So there’s a feedback loop where the goal is to find a place where everybody has been rejected by blue states and has escaped to freedom.

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  9. John430 says:

    @steve: I moved from Seattle to San Antonio, where a number of military retirees live. We still believe in that corny old saying, “For God and country”.

  10. charon says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Grandparents who retire tend to want to live near the grandkids.

    Houston may have gay neighborhoods, but the state legislature is still totally controlled by religious fundamentalists. When I lived in the Houston suburbs (many years ago) spanking in the schools was a big issue, the majority that liked spanking got its way. That sort of thing could well be a negative to the parents of school age kids.

    1
  11. grumpy realist says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Funny how I have the exact opposite reaction to lousy winters and I love snow. All my friends know that continuous stretches of relentlessly good weather cause me to want to duck under the table (one reason why I could never stay for long periods with a friend who was at Stanford.)

    People who move to places in order to not pay state income taxes discover the hard way that they’ll either pay on the front end or the back end. No state income taxes; then there are real estate taxes. No real estate taxes, then there’s a tendency for other fees–or no services. Like the number of people from Massachusetts who retire to New Hampshire and discover that whoops, the services for older people needing health assistance are limited. (And let’s not get into the problems with bears in the backyard.)

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  12. Slugger says:

    I have lived in six states, three midwest, two east coast, one west coast. Job opportunities were the predominant reason. I think economics are the underlying reason for moves by young people. Snow avoidance is important to older people. I doubt that people actually study voting patterns before deciding on a move; voting patterns go correlate with other things that create the appearance that they are important. I am reasonably comfortable in my current neighborhood even though I am a David Lee Roth, and my neighbors are Sammy Hagars.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    Yup, nobody lives in CA or NY anymore, they’re too crowded. The examples given are MAGAts moving to red areas. For some reason yesterday MSN linked to a four month old WAPO story about the Flathead Valley of Montana. Political tensions are high and the few Dems are being made to feel uncomfortable. They mention only one person leaving, the library director after clashes over books, and that Californians are moving in. The locals aren’t sure, but they suspect a lot of the Californians of being Democrats.

    The stories of people moving for politics seem to be more about culture than politics per se. Ds aren’t moving to be around Ds, but to be around people who read books, don’t scream at school boards, and don’t carry guns. And Rs the converse. Republicans have chosen to run on culture war because they have nothing else. They’ve, quite deliberately, created a separate culture, a conservative tribe. The results are before us.

    2
  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @John430: And yet you vote for a guy who wipes his ass with the Constitution.

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  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Like the number of people from Massachusetts who retire to New Hampshire and discover that whoops, the services for older people needing health assistance are limited.

    And is a financial crisis that is a building.

    (And let’s not get into the problems with bears in the backyard.)

    Unless you live in Hanover, good luck getting help from the state with your bear problem. They may send you their pamphlet “What’s Bruin,” that, IIRC has the subtitle, living with bears.

    As much as I’d like to escape winter, at least for a few months, you won’t see me spending a dime or a minute in places like FLA or TX. I’ll stay here in purple-ish NH and perhaps take a warm weather vaca to the Caribbean.

    5
  16. grumpy realist says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I have friends in Texas (Austin) who I go down and see every now and then.

    Texas has always come across to me as a state in which it is impossible to live unless you have a car. Even if you live in an urban area. And it’s definitely not set up for people who want to walk places. (One of the reasons I like where I presently live is because I can walk almost everywhere I need to, or take the train(s).)

  17. wr says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Back when Newsweek was a thing, this is exactly the kind of story they would run. A writer (at the newsweeklies there were writers, who were the upper echelon, and researchers, who did the actual reporting) would come up with an idea for a feature story based on some conversation he’d had over drinks or some anecdote he’d heard, the editors would approve it, and researchers would fan out across the country to come up with information that would provide the basis for the story. And when the writer got the researchers’ files back, he would throw out everything that worked against his thesis, no matter how strong or overpowering, and simply insert some quotes into the story he had written before any reporting was done.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    @John430:
    So you moved to Biden country? Bexar County – San Antonio – went 58% for Biden. Which is actually a point more Democratic than Washington State.

    ETA: This is absolutely typical of people leaving California. Do they move to Waco? Nope. Fort Worth? Nope. Muleshoe? Nope. They move to the blue dots: Austin, Houston, San Antonio.

    9
  19. Han says:

    @grumpy realist:

    (And let’s not get into the problems with bears in the backyard.)

    At least they’re libertarian bears.

    3
  20. steve says:

    John430- I was active duty military at the time in San Antonio. Was not especially impressed with devotion to either God or country. What was irritating was the belief on the part of a lot of Texans that the world ended at the border of Texas. Only people worth hiring were people from Texas. Texas was the best of everything. Yada, yada, yada. Living an hour away from NYC I have had to listen to those people tell me why that is the only place in the world worth living, but for my money Texans were at least as bad, maybe worse. At least the brisket was really good. Have to give them that.

    Steve

    7
  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Through my life I’ve had several Texans in my social circle. Perhaps all but one were people that I found bright, funny and moderate of temperament. The kind of people you would like as neighbors.

    You’re right about TX not being for walkers. In the 90’s Neiman Marcus and BNSF were customers of mine and I traveled there a few times. Even in neighborhoods that historically should have been walkable, that had been removed by multi lane through streets that were almost impossible to cross on foot. And then there was the sprawl…

  22. Liberal Capitalist says:

    (Caution: This post is rife with self-indulgent first-world problems)

    I am at the point of seriously considering leaving the USA. Not the blustering “If XXX get’s elected, I’m outta here”… but really just pitching it all in.

    Don’t get me wrong: The politics thing does come into this VERY much… but not because I want to move closer to like-minded folks… but more the rat-off-a-sinking-ship motivation.

    I’m working on talking the wife into making a move to southeastern Switzerland, to a small ski-resort village. There is a building that used to be a hotel in that town, that could be restored to a single-family home.

    My challenge is that we love winter sports, and we love beaches. That’s led me to have a home in western metro Denver, and a home near Pensacola. the challenge with this is there’s a little 1500-mile difference between the two, and this is leading to many ridiculous situations in dealing with this (RV, too many cars, multiple bills, remote upkeep, duplication of “stuff”… uugh).

    The thing that really made me consider this: If I draw a 150-mile circle around my home here in Colorado, I do get some great ski resorts and the stunning Rocky Mtns., but the only other things that would fall into that circle is Southern Wyoming and a southwest corner of Nebraska.

    (… and let me tell you, if you want real American history [both good and bad], then you must visit Ft. Robinson in Nebraska. Due to its now remoteness, this is the 1860’s-70’s preserved. But back then it was the center of America’s Western expansion. If you go, be prepared to lose most of the trappings of modern day.)

    The same circle around Gulf Breeze FL is worse. Sure, some nice beaches and no state taxes, but a whole lot of Alabama and the other red Red RED states. I mean: “Trump is sent by God to save us all”… right?

    If I consider Switzerland, then my local airport could be Milan IT, and in that 150-mile circle I have the Mediterranean Sea, France, Monaco, Italy, Austria, Germany (and of course all of Switzerland)

    ( If curious: https://www.mapdevelopers.com/draw-circle-tool.php )

    And the village that I am considering does not allow cars in that village (never had them, ever… and it didn’t even have a road to access the village until the mid 1960’s. Road came up, they said “Stop!”… and built a bus station and parking lot.) Which of course means that I would really be able to leverage the outstanding European transportation infrastructure to live there and visit places listed above. (Benefit of that aspect: selling 5 cars, RV, motorcycle and jetboat before the move. Seriously: Why do I have 5 cars?)

    What’s keeping me here? Since Soc Security can be delivered electronically (as I did pay in and plan to collect), then it looks like Medicare would be something that could anchor me here… but Switzerland has (I am told) Europe’s best health care and you can buy into the program as a resident. So maybe Medicare isn’t so important.

    Real estate costs: If we were to keep the location in FL (or chose to upgrade from near the beach to on the beach), then we would likely sell our much larger foothills property and swap that out for a Colorado ski town location… but (and this will sound really bad) you got to consider $2M before you get closer a ski town home. $1M get a one or maybe 2 bdrm condo with no parking.

    Before I know it, I would end up with $3M of real estate with all the upkeep costs. And our American concept of upkeep (and keeping up) keeps getting more and more expensive.

    The Swiss property is $1M… but that is a whole building in a walkable town. I would have to abandon all the crap of lawn upkeep and such to living in closer quarters in a picturesque Swiss village… oh, how will I recover from that loss.

    I mean, to get the same kind of life in the USA, I would have to spend $20M to live in Vail Village (a fake Swiss-themed village full of overpriced shopping) and even if I could afford that, it still does not compare. (There is a huge-assed expressway I-70 that runs through the Vail Valley because of course it does. It’s America.)

    The cost of living the American dream (for this “Generation Jones” guy) is possible… but is becoming really overly complex and dramatically costly. And as my calculations have always been cost vs value… well, you see where this is going.

    So, my move may have me taxed by the US and also by Switzerland… but a dramatic reduction of real-estate holdings now would put a lot more capital into existing longer-term investments and that should be able to deal with it. Call it trading one HUGE issue for a smaller one.

    Finally: this guy that holds degrees in PolSci and SocSci is under the opinion that the culture of America has suffered a blow that won’t be repaired in my lifetime. Two years of COVID taught me that there are a shocking number of Americans that choose intentional ignorance and attempts at reasonable discussions have no influence. If literally an issue of life-or-death holds no sway, then politics (and the ideological collapse of the GOP into authoritarianism) has no hope of recovery… and that means denial of all the OTHER issues that challenge the USA and the world.

    One could say that America generationally has always had a completely bifurcated culture… but somehow in the past it seemed that we always assumed that the concept of Constitutional Liberal Democracy would prevail. Now, I’m not so sure that can continue to be an assumption. And no, I’m not saying civil war, but the institutionalization of intentional ignorance. A “don’t ask don’t tell” standard that applies to everything… while concurrently a complete destruction of the concept of privacy.

    As a result, I’m at the point of saying: Who needs this shit?

    I’m considering a two-year transition:
    * Buy the Swiss three floor / 6 brrm hotel built in 1909 and continue to rent it for a year.
    * Prep the Colorado home for sale / sell off life’s accumulated crap there.
    * Throw that money into investments
    * Move / transition to Gulf Breeze, begin remote restoration of Swiss home.
    * Sell remaining majority of stuff, sell Gulf Breeze home
    * Transition to Switzerland as a permanent resident.

    Sure: Lots of folks justify inane choices by saying: YOLO !!! while snapping a selfie of them for Instagram … but really taking serious action on that is rather unsettling to the core. I am freaking out a bit.

    Thanks for reading this, if you did. My point of writing this was mostly to try to state how I feel about this and conceptually verify my feelings in justifying this life-altering event.

    10
  23. grumpy realist says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: At least with global warming the only problem with your Swiss place is no snow. With a near-beach Florida building you’re gonna find it under water at some point….

    2
  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    We have been very actively considering a move overseas. We were actually in London sizing up neighborhoods when a producer convinced me (it’s what producers do, they convince people) to hold off and move to LA.

    Lisbon but it’s too hilly. Nice, France but the frogs are pains in the ass about visas. Valencia is on the list as a less touristy Barcelona, sea and city together in one package. Good enough rail, decent air connections. London of course if we could get over the absence of the sun. Paris ditto, plus visa issues. Amsterdam but again: sun.

    We’ve been looking at a bifurcated existence, very British: half the year in London, half the year in Spain.

    Reasons much the same as yours. We can work anywhere we can plug in a laptop. And we are so weary of American stupidity, American racism and fascism, American ammosexuality, American car culture, etc… I want to be able to close my door, walk outside and be somewhere with restaurants and bars and life, and without Republicans.

    3
  25. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Yep. No snow / Under water.

    The Swiss village is a high-altitude glacier resort… so, in my lifetime, there will (likely) be snow. And in my self-centered way, that lifetime is all that really matters.

    Colorado has already lost a month of winter (this is documented). And is heading to the same “no snow” challenge.

    And yes, by 2050 seaside areas will lose a foot to sea level rise. The Gulf Breeze home is an astounding 14 feet above sea level… so I’m counting on the greater fool concept to help sell that property. there are many.

    1
  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Seriously: Why do I have 5 cars?

    I would guess that it’s the same reason you were talking earlier about converting a hotel into a single-family home–conspicuous consumption. But that’s just a guess.

    1
  27. Skookum says:

    I have lived in blue communities (western Oregon and Seattle) and states for most of my life, but when my husband and I retired we moved to a deep red, rural, and scenic part of Oregon with lots of outdoor recreation opportunities and a lower cost of living. I had visited the area from the time I was a toddler, and it was a cherished dream to live here.

    The occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016 by Amon Bundy and his followers changed the once tightly-knit community where I now live. The occupation was before Trump, but it ignited the passions and voices of anti-government citizens, many of whom are trying to move the Idaho border to annex eastern and southern Oregon.

    What is most profoundly different, in my view, is that being a proud Oregonian is no longer a valued identity for many. They find their political views more important than their geographical, historical, and neighborly ties.

    What caused this rage? I can’t explain it, because those who filled with rage represent a number of different groups. However, I do believe that their anger being sustained by out-of-state big money donors. And social media provides the perfect means to amplify the anger–much like a stock market that has no mechanism to slow down transactions until cooler heads prevail.

    For the first time in my life I’m hearing discussions among progressive friends of whether to leave the area–and where to go. I think it might be easier for conservatives to find “safe haven” because the Republican party (and Federalist Society) have nearly perfected the practice of minority rule. And backlash against minorities and government at all levels has spread throughout the world. What democracy can truly be relied upon to not fall to these pressures?

    Older progressives are probably going to stay in place, but younger progressives are thinking about the future of their children. Some immigrants are moving back to their county of origin.

    The only “good” news for Oregonians of moderate and progressive views is that the state’s population is growing and it’s mostly high-tech workers and professionals who choose to live in the many Oregon communities that offer amenities such as good schools, recreational facilities, thriving art communities, healthy food, and access to top-notch healthcare. Alas, this is not representative of most rural communities in Oregon.

    My husband and I have made many ties in our new home, and I hope the community finds a way to navigate the political pressures with wisdom and kindness. But pain is a powerful motivator, and if the pain and fear of living here becomes too much, I don’t know what we will do. I can say that I have personally feared for my safety at public gatherings because of the potential for gun violence.

    One thing serving in the military taught me is that militarization comes with a economic cost impacts the quality of life in our great county. When I left active duty, I dedicated myself to turning swords into plowshares where I could. To my dismay in my later years, I have learned that many find militarization and authoritarianism to be more attractive that peaceful co-existence with those may be different but share adherence to the Golden Rule.

    10
  28. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I could live in Washington State but even with the enticing bonus of no state income tax – I like to be able to see the sun occasionally.

    The sun is out right now.

    And our tax system is great for the upper middle class and up — we have one of the most regressive state tax systems in the country!

    3
  29. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    …half the year in London, half the year in Spain.

    Sounds good.
    Quite a few Brits had such plans for their later lives.
    Bought properties on that basis.
    Unfortunately, now we’ve left the EU, unless person concerned can wangle EU citizenship, UK nationals are limited to 90 days residence in any 180-days period (except for Ireland).
    🙁

    As an American, and with “independent means of support”, as they say, I expect you’d be exempt (but might be worth double checking).

    2
  30. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    5 cars… yes, there is a bit of that conspicuous consumption. And at least I realize it rather than plowing down land and building a 10-car garage… but when you grow up eating govt cheese not to starve… there is the acquisition phase that needs to be conquered and then overcome. (I guess some never do).

    As to cars: two of them are Honda Elements (practical), the wife loves her near 20 yr old low miles Audi convertible (relatively practical). Stupidity resulted in a 1969 orange corvette convertible and 1989 convertible Dodge Dakota Pickup truck. So, yeah. they all can go.

    But the hotel… don’t confuse American scale when thinking a “hotel”… with 1909 Swiss standards. That place is about the size of a slightly larger than average American home. As to consumption there… not so much. The historic facade needs to remain. Two small top floor bedrooms become one (as a master). The 4 on the 2nd floor become a guest bedroom, office, and my wife’s art studio… and the first floor is kitchen / living room. The one nod to having some money may be putting in a very small elevator. But even that is not so unusual by either Swiss or Florida standards.

    As it is, me and Ikea would likely need to become good friends. Their flat-pack life and I are good friends.

    2
  31. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We were actually in London sizing up neighborhoods when a producer convinced me … to hold off and move to LA.

    After a lot of global travel, I have to say that LA is a very acceptable place to live. I always said if forced to live in one place and never leave, LA would be the place. Sure, high property costs & taxes, but Ocean, mountains, high culture, low culture… all that and much more.

    People bitch about traffic and … well, all the things that usual people find to bitch about. But there’s nothing like driving up the PCH and stopping at some random someplace to get a breakfast burrito a good coffee and just enjoy life.

    But that would mean, for me, buying into a way to try to make this all still work… and I have crossed that threshold (I think).

    ps: Estoril (esssshhh-torrr-il) up the coast from Lisbon was very nice.

    I could not find myself living in London, as every time I go back it becomes less and less friendly. And I used to go to school there for a bit and lived in W1.

    Nope to France, and nope to Spain (if Spain is in the running only for the weather). a HUGE yes to Italy for the food and the who-really-gives-a-damn culture.

    My parents being immigrants as children to the USA really has made me a countryless gypsy at heart.

    3
  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I live comfortably in 400 sq. ft. So your “average American house” is probably still larger than anywhere I’ve lived since I moved out of 1500 sq. ft. when I was 32. And yes, I do know that “hotel” in a lot of places is not what we understand it to be here. Even so, I was guessing at maybe 10 or so rooms, so I overestimated slightly. But like I did when an acquaintance retired to a 3000+ square foot house in Hattiesburg for himself and his significant other, I scratch my head at needing that kind of space. I even scratch it at wanting that kind of space. Whatevs.

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  33. JohnSF says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    Had I the option, the two areas that would tempt me most would be
    1 – NW Italy (the Lakes); but property there is pretty damn pricey.
    2 – SW France
    3- OK, maybe northern Spain and Portugal also

    Any further south, you have summers too hot and dry for my taste, and less seasonality.
    The zone along the Pyrenees/Alps axis has the benefits of enough rainfall to be green, plus (brief) winters; but more sunshine and less damn grey soggy dampness than England.
    (Yes, we’ve had a run of wet, windy weather here. How did you guess?)

  34. wr says:

    @Han: “At least they’re libertarian bears.”

    Aren’t they all?

    1
  35. grumpy realist says:

    After you live in the U.K. for while you’ll find yourself visiting Belgium for the sun.

    In other words, don’t get fooled by all those pictures of the countryside of England with the hedgerows and the larks and the sunlight dappling the country roads. Chances are that was the only damn day the damn summer of the damn year that the sun came out. (I visited a friend in Oxford once. That was his line later, lacking the expletives.)

    (If I want lush and green, I’ll move back to Japan. At least there the rainy season is only for six weeks in the summer.)

  36. wr says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I feel exactly the same way. I grew up loving this country and it’s too painful to stay here and watch it go down the toilet. And I suppose that should fire me up to fight to save it — but I’m in my 60s and I’m not going to run for office in a Red state and I wouldn’t win if I did, so what am I supposed to do besides bitch on blogs?

    And honestly, having just come back from Sweden my mind is swimming at the vision of countries where people believe that the proper function of government is to make life easier for its citizens. Little things — like a train that runs from the Stockholm airport right into downtown for 30 bucks, runs every fifteen minutes, and is clean and pleasant. NYC has been trying to build a train from JFK into the city for decades, and the closest they’ve got is some kind of shuttle that deposits you at a subway station. Because here the proper function of government is to make sure rich people don’t have to pay taxes, and everyone fights over the scraps.

    Won’t be living in Sweden — it’s too cold and the language is too hard. But I figure we’ve got another year in the USA…

    2
  37. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: ” And we are so weary of American stupidity, American racism and fascism, American ammosexuality,”

    I long dreamed of living in the UK. But decades of Tory government has left London basically unaffordable as they’ve allowed (encouraged?) Russian oligarchs to use London real estate for all their money laundering needs. And post-Brexit, it’s hard not to see a big chunk of the British population as being as dumb as Americans, just with fewer guns. (Which is not nothing, of course.) And then the Tories have been looting social services to pay for billionaires’ tax cuts for so long systems are beginning to fall apart.

    Yes, Tony Blair was a colossal sleazebag, but England sure was more fun when he was in charge!

    2
  38. EddieInCA says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Zermatt? I’ve been there and it’s amazing, and I love the lack of cars.

    I got there via the matterhorn, skied over from Cervinia on the Italian side. Interestingly enough to drive from Cervnia to Zermatt would take almost 4 hours. Via skis, it’s up two gondolas and down an amazing ski run. 30 mins tops.

  39. EddieInCA says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Liberal Capitalist says:
    Sunday, 20 February 2022 at 13:58

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    5 cars… yes, there is a bit of that conspicuous consumption. And at least I realize it rather than plowing down land and building a 10-car garage… but when you grow up eating govt cheese not to starve… there is the acquisition phase that needs to be conquered and then overcome. (I guess some never do).

    As to cars: two of them are Honda Elements (practical), the wife loves her near 20 yr old low miles Audi convertible (relatively practical). Stupidity resulted in a 1969 orange corvette convertible and 1989 convertible Dodge Dakota Pickup truck. So, yeah. they all can go.

    Bingo. I have six cars, down from 8, and it’s just my wife and I. And I grew up super poor, so I’m sure that’s part of it. But I’m in the process of downsizing. And a few of the cars are dream cars that now that I’ve had them, I can get rid of them. I have two Porsches, a 1963 restored Ford Fairlane, a 1956 pristine, all original, matching numbers Mercury Monterey Coupe, a 2008 BMW Z4 Cabriolet that my wife drives, and my all electric Kona EV that I just got a few weeks ago. Both Porsches are for sale, and I expect to have them sold within two weeks. I will also sell the 56, and end up with just the Z4 and Fairlane, plus the electric car. I hope to buy a very cheap transportation car in Ecuador when I make the part time move there.

    Like you, I did a whole lot of research before deciding on Ecuador. I think your plan is solid.

    1
  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I’m not sure why you feel the need to justify it (to yourself I assume) If it is something you want to do, that is all the reason you need. I had long dreamed of retiring to Mexico but grandchildren put an end to that.This is where I’ll die, and I’m OK with it.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: The one nod to having some money may be putting in a very small elevator.

    With that floor plan, yes, do the elevator. Old folks and stairs are a relationship doomed to divorce.

    1
  42. MarkedMan says:

    I’m late to this discussion but FWIW my wife and I are starting to look around for a retirement city. We have very consciously decided to look only in Blue states and then only in blue counties of those states. It has less to do with politics than governance. Red states and red areas are uniformly bad at governance. Red states make up 9 of 10 slots in virtually every “worst of” list you can come up with. This is not a coincidence. Governance by anger and division, by sowing resentment in order to distract, is going to result in lousy governance, every time. When we are old and infirm we don’t want to be depending on red governance for anything.

    3
  43. Sleeping Dog says:

    @wr:

    @Han: “At least they’re libertarian bears.”

    Aren’t they all?

    And like libertarians, the bears feel entitled, to your bird feeder, your trash bucket and sometimes even the contents of your refrigerator.

    2
  44. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    …feel entitled, to your bird feeder, your trash bucket and sometimes even the contents of your refrigerator.

    Sounds a bit like a party guest I can recall…

    1
  45. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Zermatt?

    Nope. Part of me doesn’t want to say, but realistically as this is just our small group of ne’er-do-wells here then I will say: Saas-Fee.

    It’s the next valley over from Zermatt. So, much the same, without the massive influx of stupid money (aka: Vail disease).

    Seriously stunning sights, with a lot of adjacent ski areas as well.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I live in a red county in Washington State, but I suppose that one feature of my situation is that in my red county the Republicans aren’t all bat shirt crazy…

    …yet. My biggest obstacle to moving to a bluer county is that my bias is for lower cost of living and that’s harder to come by the bluer things get. Additionally, Republican policy tends not to impact me personally. Sad, but true. If that makes me one of the bad guys, so be it. I’d like to move but as a renter, 100% + increased rental costs are a downside.

    2
  47. EddieInCA says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Saas-Fee. It’s the next valley over from Zermatt

    I actually know it. Between my 28th and 29th birthdays, I followed the snow around the world. Skiied all over Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and France. Stayed a week at Hotel Tenne in Saas Fee, and skiied Feeschatz, Bergbahnen, Almagell, and Zeibel. Damn, that’s beautiful country. And you’re, what. 2.5hrs to Geneva, 3hrs to Zurich, 2.45 to Bern, 3hrs to Milan. All which you can get to via train. I remember loving the area. But I couldn’t handle the winter, no matter how much skiing I would get to do.

  48. steve says:

    Sleeping Dog- I think what you observed probably equates with what I have seen. Get Texans far away from Texas and they are decent people. You dont get the incessant Texas is wonderful stuff. The New Yorkers here are also better once they leave the city but can still be irritating. My theory is that they probably go back to NYC occasionally to stock up on attitude since it is only an hour away.

    Steve

  49. MarkedMan says:

    @steve: You know, I never really equated Texans with people from NYC before, but it makes a certain kind of sense. From my first trip there in the late 70’s I’ve said that New Yorkers (meaning only people from NYC) act like they are from the biggest small town in the world. It doesn’t even occur to them to judge their own city in comparison to others. (Block after block of buildings covered with scaffolding year after year after year? It never even enters their head that it is downright bizarre.) Texans are kind of the same but, as you said, only when you come upon them in Texas.

    1
  50. Mister Bluster says:

    @steve:..You dont get the incessant Texas is wonderful stuff.

    When I was working at home (anywhere in Illinois) I would run into out of state telephone contractors all the time. One guy from Texas just wouldn’t give it a rest. “Texas has the best this. Texas has the biggest that.” On and on. All day every day.
    I finally said to him “There’s one thing that Illinois has that Texas will never have.”
    “What’s that?” he asked.
    “My home.”
    That actually shut him up for about five minutes.

    1
  51. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Voting blue in your red county might help moderate the Republicans.

    Anyway, that’s the story you can tell yourself. Now you get cheaper rent, and are doing good.

  52. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    I find myself getting very depressed and envious of a few people in this thread. I’m only a few years away from theoretically being able to retire overseas, but only if I adopt a relatively frugal lifestyle over there. Which means not being free to fly back here for friends and family a few times a year, or anything similar. If I could do that…Europe here I come.

    Sigh…bleeping Mondays.

    1
  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: Your situation could be way worse. I’ve outlived (even at my tender age) all but 2 of my US friends and closer acquaintances. Of course, the pool I described has been small to begin with all my life. Sometimes being introverted sucks, too.

  54. John430 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: But things are slowly turning a deeper red as more Latinos are understanding that the Democrats do not have their best interests at heart.
    Saw a GOP sign recently that said: Votar Republicano. El camino solo para Prosperidad y Seguridad. Rio Grand Valley Latinos have awakened!