The pendulum of this theory goes back and forth. In the mid-2010s, it was thought that liberals fleeing their hell-hole blue states wouldn’t impact the political systems of solidly Republican states with immediate effect. To a certain extent, that was true. New York and New Jersey residents, tired of burdensome taxation, opted for redder, less tax-heavy, and more economically vibrant states. Then, 2020, along with the COVID pandemic, was a boon for those who could work remotely, mainly urban-based professionals. These people left their deep blue bastions, which were also heavy on the COVID protocols, and might have screwed Republicans out of some key races this year (via Politico):
Now there is evidence that the demographic change spurred by Republicans’ and Democrats’ divergent responses to the pandemic likely cost Republicans a number of key seats in the 2022 midterms. And the fallout, fueled by cross-country migration and even the Covid death toll, could linger into 2024 and beyond.
Data from the U.S. Postal Service and Census Bureau shows how the pandemic drove urban professionals who were able to work remotely — disproportionately Democrats — out of coastal, progressive cities to seek more space or recreational amenities in the nation’s suburbs and Sun Belt. This moved liberals out of electoral districts where Democrats reliably won by large margins into many purple regions that had the potential to swing with just small changes to the map.
And because partisan gerrymanderers carved up new districts before the extent of pandemic mobility data was understood, they could not neutralize the population shifts. And pollsters were none the wiser.
Some of the tightest Senate races took place in Nevada and Arizona, states that the Census Bureau found attracted some of the greatest population growth.
Elsewhere in the Southwest, in Colorado’s 8th District, Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer was projected to win her House race by an 8-point margin and in 9-out-of-10 simulations by FiveThirtyEight. Instead, Democrat Yadira Caraveo carried the election by a margin of less than 2,000 votes.
The heavily gerrymandered district includes parts of Adams and Weld Counties, Denver suburbs that together grew by nearly 35,000 residents since 2018. Using the 2018 and 2022 Colorado governor’s races as indicators, Adams and Weld swung 8 and 6 points in Democrats’ favor.
Far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert was nearly Colorado’s most high-profile Republican victim. While voters may have also tired of her inflammatory and divisive rhetoric, the state’s 3rd District — an enormous region on the Rockies’ Western Slope that includes ski destinations like Aspen and Telluride — also features multiple counties that swelled during the pandemic. FiveThirtyEight models projected a 14-point margin and a victory in 97-of-100 simulations, but Boebert beat Democrat Adam Frisch by only 600 votes.
A working paper by Yale researchers recently released by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that far more Republicans are likely dying of Covid than Democrats.
According to the study, which used data from Florida and Ohio counties, registered Republicans and Democrats died of Covid in equal numbers in 2020, but once vaccines became widely available in summer 2021, the number of Republican excess deaths nearly doubled those of Democrats. The disparity grew even wider during the winter of 2021.
Did Politico go there, insinuating that the COVID vaccine saved the alleged Democratic voter advantage? The ghoulish undertone is the buried lede here. Smart liberals, who know things, took the vaccine and won, whereas the country bumpkin Republicans didn’t and are dying out. Never mind the slew of healthy people who took the vaccine who are now “dying suddenly.” Or data sets showing that the majority of COVID deaths now are from people who have been vaccinated. That would be inconvenient, right? It also didn’t have to do with the GOP dropping the ball on scores of races, tediously allocating resources to some of the most crucial ones this cycle.
You can debate whether the Trump brand hurt the GOP among yourselves. Frankly, that’s going to be another messy one, but it's necessary if we want to win 2024. I’ll weigh in later, but for now—the Left is enjoying their victory lap as Raphael Warnock won the Georgia runoff.