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Team DeSantis Offers Advice to New Transplants Arriving in Florida From Blue States

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was re-inaugurated yesterday, having won another term by a breathtaking 19.5-point margin in November.  Four years prior, DeSantis defied the polls and a blue-tinted election cycle to eke out a victory by just four-tenths of a percentage point.  He then took constant incoming fire from the state and national media, especially during COVID, gaining steam and popularity as he fought and won those battles.  His policies and marketing of Florida as a 'citadel of freedom' in an age of lockdowns, mandates and restrictions ultimately served the state -- and his political fortunes -- very well.  People first voted with their feet; many as tourists, and quite a few as new permanent residents.  Then people voted, and DeSantis accomplished something extraordinary in an election that was distinctly less heartening for his party, nationally.  As he begins another four-year term with a powerful mandate and a national profile, here was the governor's message to Floridians after taking the oath of office:


Florida's legislative session (which offers DeSantis a valuable opportunity to put points on the board, in terms of conservative bona fides and overall governance) is slated for early 2023.  Various reports indicate that DeSantis would not announce a potential 2024 presidential campaign until after the session is over, in the spring.  Meanwhile, his campaign team is offering a warm welcome to all the new residents of the state, politely encouraging them to remember why they moved to Florida in the first place, particularly if they came from blue states:

Based on November's results, I think that message was widely internalized by the newly-expanded Sunshine State electorate.   I'm no political expert, but I'm fairly sure the righthand column of states leading in net in-migration may have something in common -- and therefore contain some sort of lesson. The same applies to the lefthand column, on out-migration, where the top five 'leading' states are perhaps the most Democratic in the country.  DeSantis addressed these dynamics in his speech.  The graphic shared by the DeSantis war room comes from a Wall Street Journal editorial published in late December, entitled, "The Blue State Exodus Continues:"

Texas and Florida make up about 15% of the U.S. population but accounted for 70% of its population growth this past year. That’s one of the revealing facts in the Census Bureau’s annual assessment of U.S. migration released last week. The biggest news is that the exodus from progressive-led states hasn’t slowed even as Covid lockdowns eased. The U.S. population grew by about 1.2 million between July 2021 and July 2022, with foreign immigration accounting for a million of the total. Yet the Census Bureau found that some states still lost population because migration to other states exceeded foreign immigration. California (343,230), New York (299,557) and Illinois (141,656) lost the most residents to other states, but New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Louisiana were also big losers. Where are all these folks moving? Mostly to states with lower taxes, more affordable housing and a higher standard of living...It’s notable that the population outflow from progressive states didn’t slow after lockdowns eased and many employers called workers back to the office. Mortgage interest rates increased, making it more expensive to buy a home everywhere, not just in progressive cities. Democratic Governors can’t blame bad weather. All of Illinois’s neighbors except Michigan gained population.

The piece also references the DeSantis vs. Gavin Newsom feud we've discussed previously, which has been mostly fueled by Newsom's trash talk and political stuntery:

The contrast between California and Florida is particularly striking and instructive. Gov. Gavin Newsom this summer ran ads in Florida urging residents “to join us in California, where we still believe in freedom.” While women in California are free to have an abortion on demand, they can’t choose where their children go to school. Restaurants aren’t even free to hand out plastic straws. Florida has no income tax and an expansive private school choice program. It also doesn’t smother businesses with regulation. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn’t have to run ads in progressive states. The Sunshine State sells itself.

Florida's leader has responded to Newsom's barbs and needling in some detail, but the overall gist of his rebuttal could simply be described in one word: "Scoreboard."  Relatedly, this is fairly amusing:

Ironically, New Yorkers bolting for Florida may have helped Hochul barely win re-election last fall. If freedom-minded people continue to leave Democrat-controlled states for greener -- or, redder, really -- economic and political pastures, GOP states will get redder and Democratic states will get bluer. Upsets like Lee Zeldin's near-miss become harder to pull off.  Regardless, I'm sure Hochul will further endear herself to New York voters with priorities like this:


Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation granting state lawmakers a pay raise from $110,000 to $142,000 per year that will make them the highest paid legislators in the nation. Signing the legislation bought Hochul some goodwill among members of the state Senate and Assembly on the eve of her inauguration as the first female governor to ever win a full, four-year term in office. Not a single Republican in either chamber voted for the pay increase sponsored by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers)...Critics to her political right have lamented how she didn’t similarly bless a special session in recent months to address purported issues with controversial criminal justice reforms that Republicans and some Democrats blame for rising crime. “If @GovKathyHochul had any political courage, she would not only veto the ridiculous $32,000 pay raise, she would have called us back for a special session to deal with the disastrous cashless bail,” Assemblyman Michael Lawler (R-Rockland), who was elected to Congress in November, tweeted last week.

Hochul took neither of those suggestions -- ignoring the cashless bail fiasco, and rewarding Albany Democrats' self-congratulatory pay raise with a 'job well done' bill signing.  Remarkable.  But she's still getting hammered from the Left, including over this interesting move, which is at least something of a concession to reality (though also seems partly driven by identity politics and other conflicting leftist pieties).  Looking at the situations playing out in Texas and Florida versus New York and California, which one-party state would you rather live in?  Answers may vary, but the statistics above are what they are, and the verdict seems quite clear.


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