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Richard Rider

2016 Trump vote tells California Republicans which states to flee to

When weighing one’s exit strategy from California (all sane Californians should be giving this topic some thought), it’s important to pick a state that won’t turn zombie on you after you move there.  Plan ahead.

For instance, Nevada has many attractive aspects, but it voted for Hillary in 2016.  BOTH of its state legislative houses are now controlled by Democrats (the lower house by a LOT).  Only a Republican governor provides some protection against the rising Democrat tide in this state.  And how likely is it that the governorship will remain in GOP hands?  Avoid any permanent move to Nevada — unless you are quite willing to move again when they institute a state income tax (IF an income tax matters a lot to you).

Here’s a good starting point for weighing the relative sanity and safety of states — use the 2016 presidential vote as a guide.  More important than WHO won is how MUCH they won by. The higher the Trump percentage vote, the less likely that the state will later bite you.

Now I say that as a person who didn’t vote for Trump!  I voted for Gary Johnson.  In California with its standard “all or none” Electoral College vote, a vote for Trump was no more likely to elect him than a vote for Johnson. Or for Donald Duck.  The California outcome was never in doubt.

But I digress. The voting percentages DO tell us the general political mindset of a state.  The deep blue states below are the ones who voted solidly for Trump.

2016 National Map of General Election Results for President


Here’s a more detailed percentage breakdown for each state:

Some observations:

  • Texas is good, but not great.  Trump won with 52% of the vote, while Hillary got 43%.  Probably a safe state for a decade at least, but certainly there are some big cities to avoid.
  • Tennessee appeals to me, for reasons that go beyond JUST this criteria. Trump won 61%-35% — a VERY comfortable margin. Almost no state income tax, and phasing out what’s left of it.
  • Wyoming and South Dakota have some appeal, though both may be too rural for many people. But my wife has a big family living in SD, and Sioux Falls is a lovely little city.  Both states are solidly Trump. And both lack a state income tax.  Admittedly, both might get a little nippy in the winter.

There is no one single criteria that should decide the issue of which state is best for a departing Californian. Each person has list of factors important to them, and each person weighs these factors differently. That being said, this information is a good place to start thinking about your exit plan.

Mark my words. California IS doomed. The only good news is that it will be a stately decline (no pun intended). Hopefully JUST a stately decline.