Today’s City Liberals, Tomorrow’s Country Conservatives?
If current trends in the real estate market are any indication, it’s possible that the Republican party could see significant growth over the next 20 years.
And this could happen regardless of who wins the White House in 2020.
The catch is that it can only happen if the GOP doesn’t shoot itself in the foot, which it excels at doing — and if the Democrats fail to curb the migration of people from metro areas out into the hinterlands, which they will surely try to do.
These factors notwithstanding, I believe this sea change is coming.
Metro Democrats flee their own killer chickens
I’m not an economist. And I’m not a landlord, realtor, or “flipper,” either. But you don’t have to be any of these things to realize that right now, America’s in the midst of the weirdest real estate boom in modern history.
Despite a once-in-a-century viral pandemic, catastrophic job losses, an economy in crisis, and a nation in turmoil, existing home sales are exploding — especially in semi-rural and rural zones.
This spring, at the height of the pandemic, online views of rural listings were up 16% compared to the same period in 2019. Country homes were selling 40% faster than their city counterparts, too. And mortgage applications were at their highest levels in more than 11 years, partly fueled by a rapid flight away from cities.
I can speak to this boom first-hand. I already live in a rural area, but I’ve been on a long-term quest for a bigger spread where I can stretch my legs a bit more. And right about now, I’m kicking myself for not having bought any one of a dozen different places I’ve seen over the last three years that would’ve been suitable as offered, or easily adaptable to my needs.
That’s because today, some of these same kinds of houses and lots are listing for 20% – 30% more than they would have a few years ago. I’ve even seen numerous places that interested me earlier this year get de-listed — then re-listed later for much more money. It’s like the peak-market insanity of 2005-2006 all over again, according to a number of real-estate agents I’ve talked with.
It’s not hard to understand why this is happening, either. Between coronavirus, civil unrest, and the opportunistic crime that feeds on both these things, cities and metro areas are becoming dangerous. And a lot of folks who live in these places — most of them Democrats — are fleeing in droves, even though their own party’s policies are to blame for much of the trouble. Their left-winged chickens have come full circle to roost. They’re armed, angry, and indiscriminate in their rage, too.
Meanwhile, work-from-home technology is proving viable for many jobs, even if the transition to it happened under duress. This isn’t just a trend, it’s a paradigm shift. And it’s making a lot of companies rethink their need for swanky workplaces in fashionable downtown districts. It’s also making a lot of their remote-capable employees rethink their need for expensive cities.
Add it all up, throw in historically low interest rates, and you’ve got a recipe for a sustained migration out of metropolitan areas — plus an unprecedented boom in rural or “suburban country” living. And there’s no end in sight to it, potentially.
How “getting the hell out of Dodge” could create legions of new Republicans
Country life has a way of getting into your blood.
The fresh air and open spaces, the sunrises and sunsets, the county fairs and small-town carnivals and apple-butter festivals, the family-style restaurants, the Fourth of July parades in the village square, the farms and fresh produce stands, the tractors and pickups and cows and horses and wildlife…
But most of all, the freedom.
Unless you’re in certain “rich rural” areas right outside of some big cities — which can be just as rife with regulation, taxation and other government interference as the metros they adjoin — authentic American country life can be pretty laissez-faire.
You can shoot guns and nobody calls the police. You can have a bonfire and nobody calls the fire brigade. You can ride your ATV on the “back 40” and nobody calls the Department of the Environment. You can keep chickens, and eat fresh eggs every morning for breakfast. And you can fish in your neighbor’s pond if you ask nicely.
These are the kinds of soul-nurturing, all-American things that can change people profoundly — I know, because it happened to me. And it’s a demographic fact that rural folks tend to be Republican or right-leaning independents, while urbanites tend to be Democrats, or lean left. This regional partisan polarization has gotten more pronounced over the last 20 years, too…
So what does that mean?
Obviously, one thing it means is that a lot of the people who are fleeing cities are Democrats. The twist is that a lot of them now know their party’s way of running things doesn’t work, and makes them more susceptible to dangers of all kinds.
It also surely means that when you transplant these people into easier, cheaper, quieter, more natural, and more peaceful country life, a lot of the America-loving, small-government Republican sentiments of their new neighbors are going to rub off on them. Especially when they discover that these fine, salt-of-the-earth folks aren’t toothless, inbred, illiterate, raving racists…
Because that’s what they’ve been brainwashed into believing by the same Democrat political machine that betrayed and abandoned them when the SHTF back in the Big City. But when all these rural newcomers learn that this isn’t true, they’re going to be forced to change their worldviews to match reality.
Now stir in the statistical fact that as Americans age, they naturally tend to get more conservative and less liberal, and the overall mix bodes well for the GOP’s future.
All the Republicans really have to do to keep these converts in the fold is avoid moralizing, remain focused on low taxes and less government, expand their tent to be more obviously inclusive, resist the Far Left instead of appeasing it, stay sane, rational, and proud in a nation that’s increasingly taught to loathe itself…
And remind everyone, at every turn, that theirs is the Party of Lincoln — whose history is one of freedom and equality under the law, not government oppression and engineered dependency, like the Democratic Party.
But you watch. They’ll screw it up, and/or make a soap opera out of it…
Meanwhile, the Democrats will launch their own campaign to stop this migration, lure the next crop of young Americans into metro hell — and punish those who fled their beloved cities instead of staying to pay the high taxes and dodge the bullets.
I’ve got some ideas about how they’ll try to do this. But they’re for another article.
Freedoms Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder