Winners and losers

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There are winners and losers, according to the most recent census reports. The congressional representation for the House of Representatives is based on population and that population is determined by the U. S. Census. CNN has reported that several states will lose representation while others will see their representation in Congress increased.

States on the losing end, who will each lose a seat in Congress, are California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, and Michigan. States that will gain a seat in the House of Representatives are Oregon, Colorado, North Carolina, and Florida. Texas, the big winner, will gain two seats. People are leaving the Rust Belt and headed either west or south. The exception is California which, for the first time in its history, is losing a seat.

According to CNN’s Chris Callizza, the population boom in California is over, with Texas being the new superpower. Callizza calls Texas the most important state, politically speaking, over the next decade. It’s too early to tell what impact this will have on future elections. If the migration has conservatives moving south and west, it’s likely good news for Republicans. If liberals are leaving the blue states, it could pose problems for “red” states.

So, why are people moving? So far, there’s not much hard evidence or firm conclusions to be drawn since the results were only released a few days ago. Speculation, of course, will run rampant until analysts get hold of the data and, even there, political agendas are likely to influence the opinions of those who do the analyzing.

Some are suggesting that Colorado’s gain is due to people across the country moving to Colorado to get a lifestyle filled with Rocky Mountain “highs.” Others are pointing to the high tax burden in Rust Belt states and in California that is prompting people to migrate to states, such as Florida and Texas, where that burden is much less.

In January of 2014, Governor Cuomo stated that “extreme” conservatives, and by “extreme” he specifically singled out pro-life conservatives, anti-same sex marriage proponents, and 2nd Amendment advocates, have no place in the state of New York. The comment started a firestorm at the time and one wonders if some of the bleeding in New York’s population numbers are people reacting to Cuomo’s tirade.

Currently, there are over 393 million civilian owned firearms in the United States. There are something like 62 million more guns in America than people. And somebody certainly owns them, with nearly all gun owners being law-abiding citizens. And they vote, either at the ballot box or with their feet.

In a 2019 Gallup poll, 49% of Americans described themselves as “pro-life,” with 43% referring to themselves as “pro-choice.” Is some of the migration a move to friendlier, conservative states? On the other hand, a 2020 Gallup poll found that 67% of Americans supported same-sex marriage with Democrats approving by 83%. Republicans were pretty much split on the subject. That horse seems to have left the barn and that part of the Culture War lost by the conservatives.

All this is to say, as if anyone were to doubt it, Americans are seriously divided on a number of issues as the last two presidential elections demonstrated. Are conservatives fleeing Blue states for Red? Or are liberals simply looking for a warmer climate and taking their political inclinations with them?

It’s too early to tell of course but a big battle looms on the horizon. The next national election is only 17 months away. This will likely be the first true indicator of what changes, if any, are the results of the information provided by the census.

In the meantime, the continual election cycle, with 24 hour campaigning that began in 2016 continues unabated. Lawmakers in both Democrat and Republican controlled states are going, as they have always done, to gerrymander the congressional districts in an attempt to protect their own power.

With politicians locked in a death embrace with each other, with little regard for average Americans (although they all presume to speak for “the American people”) and statesmanship nowhere to be found, perhaps there are no winners. Perhaps the country, and all of us, are the losers.

[David Epps is the Rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). The church is open at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays but is also live streaming at www.ctk.life. He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South (www.midsouthdiocese.life). He may be contacted at davidepps@ctk.life.]