On Friday, NPR published an analysis of the so-called "Big Sort": the accelerating trend of voters moving out of places that don't share their politics and heading to states and counties that do — and the way it's reshaping and radicalizing the country.
"The national real estate brokerage, Redfin, predicted in 2022 that "People will vote with their feet, moving to places that align with their politics," reported John Burnett. "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 they've been heading to conservative strongholds like Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas. More than one of every ten 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."
The report profiled one such person, family therapist Dr. Bridget Melson, a right-wing activist who uprooted her family from Riverside County, California to the Dallas-Fort Worth area: "We want our medical freedoms. We want our constitutional rights. We are definitely pro-life."
"Political scientist Larry Sabato posted an analysis on Thursday that shows how America's 'super landslide' counties have grown over time," said the report. "Of the nation's total 3,143 counties, the number of super landslide counties — where a presidential candidate won at least 80 percent of the vote — has jumped from six percent in 2004 to 22 percent 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.'"
Bill Bishop, a writer who has covered this topic for over a decade, warns that one consequence is further radicalization: "Groups of like-minded people tend to become more extreme over time in the way that they're like-minded." All of this comes amid the spread of extremist conspiracy theories, as the QAnon movement forms ties to far-right evangelicals.
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