The effects of Texas secession on the politics of the US and on Texas

SEPTEMBER 30, 2018·

Our analysis shows that Texas would become far more Texan politically as a result of TEXIT (Texas independence). I mean that Texas’ reputation for conservatism and libertarianism would attract those kinds of voters from around the country, and scare away some existing Texas voters (both Texan-born and not Texan-born).

Also, see below for an explanation of why the successful secession of Texas from the US would force the federal government to allow states’ rights to avoid the secession of more states.

Texas secession affects the US electorate in three ways:

First, without Texas’ votes, it is harder for Republicans to win US elections.

Second, Texan extreme liberals would leave the state after TEXIT. And some Texans who rely on US federal government assistance may choose to leave Texas if they fear that Texas would not replace it all. This would affect the electorate, and therefore future election results, in Texas and the other 49 states.

Third, if Texas allowed people in other states to move to Texas after the referendum, quite a few conservative voters would leave the US for Texas. Also entrepreneurs looking to avoid over-regulation, and wealthy people who want to avoid future US taxes that may be levied as socialists gain strength in the US electorate.

Effect of TEXIT on Texas:

It’s hard to guess what percentage would move. 6% of Americans move out-of-county every year. In 2015, 2.5% of Americans moved to another state. 30% of Americans don’t live in their state of birth. Only 61% of Texas residents were born in Texas. On the other hand, Texans seem to leave less often than non-Texans; only 7.8% of people born in Texas live outside of Texas in the other 49 states (1.3 million people). According to polls, the reasons people give for moving are often rather trivial, much more trivial than secession. In a Harris poll of Americans who moved out of state, the most popular reason they moved was climate, cited by 52% of those polled.

We know that if liberals leave Texas, they will bring some conservatives with them because of family ties. But if we guess that the net effect of Hillary Clinton voters leaving is to reduce the Hillary vote in Texas by 20%, then the effect on future Texas elections is about 9 percentage points. That’s a loss of 790,000 Hillary voters. Some non-voters would leave too, but that won’t affect elections. [UPDATE!: more than half of liberal Texans told 2022 pollsters they’d leave.]

Another reason Texans might sell their homes and leave is to take advantage of the increased housing prices caused by the influx of conservatives and entrepreneurs following the referendum.

If we guess that 4.5% of Trump voters and Libertarian voters in the 49 states would move to Texas, that’s about 2.8 million voters. [UPDATE: my analysis of 2022 polls of 5 Southern states indicates that 20% of Trump voters would move. That’s 4.5 times as many] The population of Texas is 28 million, so that would have a large affect on Texas. Plus the voters would bring non-voting family members. And some non-voting families would move too.

In 2016, Texan Trump and Libertarian voters outvoted Texan Hillary and Green Party voters by 5 to 4. If TEXIT and this associated migration had all occurred before the 2016 election, conservatives would have outvoted them 5 to 2! Instead of 56% to 44%, the election in Texas would have been 71% to 29%! That happens to be the same election result achieved by Oklahoma. Only West Viginia and Wyoming went for Trump by a stronger ratio.

Effect of TEXIT on the USA

With the migrations described above, Texit would have caused Trump to lose AZ, FL, WI, PA, and MI. Those are states he won in 2016. The gain of Texan liberals would increase the Hillary voters in the average state by about 1.2%, which would make a difference of only .6 percentage points in US elections. But the loss of 4.5% of Trump voters would translate into a loss of about 2.2 percentage points in US elections. For example, the effect of this 2.8 point change on a state that voted for Trump 51.4/48.6 would change the vote to 50/50. In 2016, Texas accounted for 38 electoral votes and FL, AZ, WI, PA, MI accounted for 86 electoral votes. With TEXIT, electoral votes would have been redistributed but the final result would have been that Hillary would have won with 63% of the electoral votes.

In our analysis, we did not distribute these migrations evenly, but rather based on state-by-state data on where Texans tend to move, and which states tend to send people to Texas, taking into account which states Texan liberals, Hispanics and African-Americans are more likely to move to.

The Trump-Hillary election results showed most purple states were evenly divided. Even with TEXIT, Trump still could have won if he had won another 0.9% the electorate in each of these states: AZ, FL, WI, PA. He still would not need to win Michigan. He still would not need to win any of the states that in 2016 he actually lost. In other words, TEXIT has little numerical effect on US politics even with the significant migrations described above.

But TEXIT obviously would have been sufficient to give Al Gore the win over George Bush in 2000 (if George Bush didn’t secede with Texas) because that election came down to 70 ballots in Florida. And TEXIT would have been enough to give John Kerry the win over George Bush in 2004. In the last 30 years, all presidential election wins for Republicans were very close.

Much more important than state secession is the fact that the US government gives citizenship to almost a million foreigners each year, most of whom vote Democrat. And the Constitution puts no limit on how many foreigners can be given citizenship.

The fact is that the average US voter, over the decades, has been moving so far to the Left that conservatives can only win by a small margin (as proven by George Bush twice and Trump once), but progressives can win by huge margins (as proven by Clinton and Obama). Indeed, Obama won by 9 million votes in 2008. For that reason, the small numerical effect of TEXIT is probably enough to keep the presidency of the US just out of reach of conservatives.

Surprisingly even the US Senate seems barely winnable with Texit. With TEXIT, and predicted migrations, Trump would have won 24 out of 49 states, so that implies that Republicans could still get 48 out of 98 senators after 8 years of Obama. But only one third of senators are up for election each year. Averaging over the past 4 presidential elections, this kind of approximation indicates that Texit would cause Republicans to average only 47% of the Senate. Still, with a never-ending string of liberal presidents, it’s likely that purple-state voters would try to balance the excesses of the leftist presidency with some more conservative senators.

Currently, the majority of the US population lives in states that were gerrymandered by Republicans. But the migration to and from Texas would change that within a few years. This means that the House of Representatives would be controlled by the Left.

Migrations would be different if TEXIT leads other red states to secede:

An important question is whether Texas’ neighboring states Oklahoma, Arkansas, or Louisiana would secede following Texit. After Texas secession provides a precedent, other states will consider secession, especially neighboring states with economic and family ties to Texas. Red states would have to decide whether it is more risky to stay with socialistic blue states in the remnant of the USA, or to join Texas in some kind of loose federation. This is the kind of federation that the US Constitution provides for, if interpreted literally.

We just proved above that losing Texas would have meant losing elections in multiple purple states in 2016. TEXIT would make it more difficult for conservatives to win national elections in the USA, even after 8 years of an extremist like Obama. That would pressure red states to withdraw from the Union.

If Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana secede, staying with the blue states would feel even more risky to the remaining red states, triggering a cascade of secession referenda. These referenda might occur while Texas is still in the process of seceding, if it appears that the process will be peaceful.

More importantly, red states would see a chance to join a country that respects states’ rights (federalism), traditional values, the Constitution, laws of economics, property rights, gun rights, and immigration control.

If all the red states secede, obviously not so many people would move to Texas, and those leaving Texas would move only to blue states. The migration would be between the blue-state country and the red-state country.

Why is TEXIT a good thing for conservatives outside Texas?

The most important effect of CALEXIT or TEXIT is giving people another option. Secession creates a new country that Americans may join, free of the US federal government and its presidents, activist federal judges, Congress, and bureaucracy. Migrations would cause Texas to become more conservative.

And if secession becomes reality, the US government will be forced to take states’ rights seriously to convince other states not to leave. For the first time since 1865, states would have leverage over the federal government. This would allow red states to be free of so much liberal meddling from activist federal judges and unconstitutional federal laws. If state use their leverage effectively, they could avoid social engineering by the federal government.

If that fails, they too could secede. TEXIT would provide the precedent, access to the ocean, and a sizable self-sufficient core for a new federation. Many red states might join Texas to enjoy the freedom.

American conservatives who wouldn’t want to move to an independent Texas (no matter how socialist the USA becomes) have to consider which is more important for their state: the positives or the negatives. The positives are the increase in states’ rights and the demonstration of a pathway to secession of their own state. The negatives are that the USA would be 9% smaller, and the migration would make their state slightly less conservative. However, if their red state begins an effort to secede soon after Texas’ referendum, then their state might not suffer a negative migration. Indeed, if they succeed in seceding, their state would become redder as conservatives from blue state move in.

Combining CALEXIT and TEXIT:

If both CALEXIT and TEXIT had occurred prior to 2016, Trump would have won New Hampshire and Nevada. Also California has more electoral votes than Texas, and both would be seceded. So Trump would have won 63% of the electoral votes instead of 57% of the electoral votes. But if Hillary had won another 0.7% of the electorate in each of these states: FL, WI, PA, MI, NH, and NV, she would have won the election. So Democrats would certainly still have an advantage in the 48 remaining states, but not as much as they do in the 50 states today.

For CALEXIT we assumed that 3.9% of the Hillary voters and Green Party voters in the 49 states would move to California, which means a loss of 2 percentage points of the total electorate of the 49 states. We also assumed that 25% of the Californian Trump voters would leave California, which adds another 0.9% to the electorate of the 49 states.

17 thoughts on “The effects of Texas secession on the politics of the US and on Texas

  1. This article fails to take into account that Texas would be an independent and sovereign country, and no longer a part of the USA as it is currently known. Though Texas would be a strong supporter of the Constitution that is currently used by it’s contemporary states, politic and politicians will have to sway in Texas. Hilary Clinton is not a Texan and she is not a member of that nation and would have no more voting rights in Texas than she does in France or Italy. Flights going into and out of Texas from other former states will be international flights only. Texas borders will be international borders. Should other states secede with Texas, and they form an independent coalition of states, or a confederacy, they would be international borders.

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