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Fleeing Paradise: California’s Conservative Exodus

Generations of people flocked to California for the beautiful climate and landscape. Gold, entertainment, and industry lured people in to what seemed like paradise. But as California has drifted further and further to the left politically and as the cost of living has skyrocketed, many conservative families are fleeing paradise for places where more of their neighbors share their views.

Sarah Parvini recently wrote a piece at the Los Angeles Times that put some faces to the conservative exodus from California and shared some of their stories. Parvini writes about one couple:

Like many other Republican and conservative voters in California, the retired couple have decided to leave the state. A major reason, Stark and her spouse say, is their disenchantment with deep-blue California’s liberal political culture.

Despite spending most of their lives in the Golden State, they were fed up with high taxes, lukewarm support for local law enforcement, and policies they believe have thrown open the doors to illegal immigration.

Others in Parvini’s profile cite not being able to publicly express their support for President Trump or having to lie about their politics as a reason for leaving the Golden State. Of course, economic factors played into these families’ decisions to move as well, but political motivations help spur the moves to, as one man in the article called it, “redder pastures.”

According to studies from California’s Legislative Analyst’s office, the state lost a million people between 2007 and 2016 to domestic migration, a figure that accounts for roughly 2.5 percent of California’s population. Texas is a big target for those who move out of California, with 63,175 Californians moving to the Lone Star State in 2017.

Cost of living does play a role; after all California is one of the most expensive places to live in the continental United States. One woman in Parvini’s article claims that her family paid over $1 million for a “fixer-upper” in metropolitan Los Angeles, so it’s easy to see that economic factors could easily lead families out of the state.

Even with California’s high cost of living driving families to other parts of the country, it’s difficult to deny that the political benefits of moving elsewhere. One woman in Parvini’s article who moved to Kansas noted that she feels more at home among more political diversity.

[Lisa] Woolery said that “it was nice to come to a place where whether you were a Democrat or Republican, you feel respected.” Southern California, she felt, wasn’t an inclusive place where it’s possible to have a “differing opinion.”

“If I said I was a Republican, or I voted for Donald Trump, I would get comments like, ‘Oh, I didn’t think you were a racist,’” she recalled.

Many of us wonder what it will take to turn California away from the far left. But if so many conservatives are leaving, it may mean that the Golden State is too far gone, and that’s a shame.

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