My Locke colleague Brian Balfour has noted that Americans voted with their feet in 2021, moving away from higher-tax states to lower-tax states like North Carolina. Check out the chart below from the Tax Foundation. Red signifies the top states that lost population. Green signifies the top states that gained population.

Notice that the color code tracks with what political analysts refer to as battleground states. The Southwest/Rocky Mountain area is growing in importance. Hence the attention paid by presidential candidates to Arizona and Nevada. In the eastern portion of the U.S., it’s Florida and North Carolina that get the candidate visits and media dollars.

The wild card is Texas. At least that’s what some want us to believe. Yes, liberal Californians are moving to Texas and toting their liberal/Democrat political views with them. But it’s more nuanced than that. I predict illegal immigration is the issue that will keep Texas a ‘red’ state. In November, Rice University’s Mark Jones wrote about the role of the Texas Hispanic for The Hill. (emphasis is mine)

In late October the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation conducted a representative public opinion survey of 1,402 Texas registered voters, including 616 Texas Hispanics, who are the focus here. 

The survey results reveal that more Texas Hispanics support than oppose four out of five of the border security policies that have been implemented by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on his own via executive actions or through legislation passed by the Texas Legislature under the leadership of Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan.

Twice as many Texas Hispanics support (51 percent) than oppose (25 percent) the Texas policy of having Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers and local law enforcement arrest immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. (The remaining 24 percent neither support nor oppose the policy.)

In other words, be careful about making too many political assumptions about migration patterns to/from the states. Migration is a solid signal, but it’s not the whole story. Why? Because no matter their politics, voters care about kitchen table issues. They care about whether their lives are prosperous or dominated by worry and uncertainty.

On that score, Joe Biden has already flunked the kitchen table test – even with Democrats.