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California sees population decline; gleeful right-wingers blame “wokester socialism,” “itinerant hipsters” and Critical Race Theory

Apparently you CAN leave Hotel California

Good news for those who hate the west coast: after decades of steady growth, California saw its population drop some 0.46 percent in 2020, according to a new government study.

That might not seem like the hugest deal. But the news made some in the right-wing mediasphere positively giddy as they pounded out posts blaming the decline on an assortment of unlikely (alleged) ills, from “woke socialism” to critical race theory, that had allegedly come back to bite their proponents in the ass.

Some headlines:

These right wingers might not win any awards for originality in headline writing. But they were slightly more imaginative in coming up with reasons for the decline.

The Washington Free Beacon shed some alligator tears over the “shocking exodus,” declaring, perhaps a little melodramatically, that “[c]oncerned citizens are fleeing the Newsom-Boudin axis of terror for good reasons.” The Beacon didn’t hesitate to blame embattled governor Gavin Newsom (and/or San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin) for most of the state’s current woes, from “crime and homelessness, unaffordable housing costs, exorbitant tax rates, and a botched response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Others on the right were a little less restrained in their criticism of California and many of its inhabitants.

On the American Thinker blog, Monica Showalter blamed both “wokester socialism and the high cost of living” for the decline. Her evidence? She talked to some people at a “going away” party for a friend who was abandoning California for South Carolina.

I just went to a farewell party last night in Lake Elsinore, California — a very multi-racial one, where nearly all of the attendees were black and Mexican. They were homeowners, industrious immigrants. Entrepreneurs.  Cops.  Military people.  The street they were on, in a very pretty, newish neighborhood of McMansions with big yards and swimming pools, was loaded with “For Sale” signs.

Her friend wasn’t the only one contemplating an escape from California. And not because of high housing prices. Nope. They were just tired of all that Democrat wokeness.

They cited a feeling of non-representation in the one-party state run solely by Democrats.  They felt shut out.  They detested the state’s ever rising taxes and ever falling services.  They loathed the rising crime and the war on cops.

Probably the biggest reason so many cited for leaving was strong desire not to expose their multi-racial kids to wokester education and Critical Race Theory.  

Critical race theory — you can blame it for anything these days, apparently.

They said they didn’t want their kids to grow up to be victims full of hate for others. They very much liked that red states such as South Carolina and North Carolina and Texas and Florida are full of people who “have manners.”

Yes, Florida, known around the world for its well-behaved citizenry.

On FrontPageMag, meanwhile, Daniel Greenfield gets it half right, making the point that much of the loss stems not from an exodus of the hyperwealthy, fleeing high taxes, but rather from the departure of midde-class Californians.

The middle class provides political and economic stability and it’s vanishing from the state at rapid rates. What’s replacing it is an itinerant hipster class drawn to Big Tech and the entertainment industry, driven by radical politics, but with no commitment to the state.

This same hipster class wrecked New York City, before abandoning it in droves, and is busy wrecking its hubs in Portland and Seattle. Not to mention any other cities where it got a foothold …

California swapped a settled and more conservative population for a more itinerant population of millennial hipsters and immigrant laborers. 

So what are the real reasons Californians are leaving? There’s no exodus of the rich; they’re actually more likely to be moving to California than leaving it. Its working and middle class people who’ve been leaving; they do mind the high cost of housing.

Beyond that, as Jill Cowan of the New York Times points out,

Much of the slowdown is the result of forces that have reshaped the United States more broadly, like a declining birthrate and the Trump administration’s policies discouraging or limiting immigration.

Demographers say that it was probably the coronavirus that tipped the state into population decline — and that once the pandemic has passed, there will be a rebound.

California has, after all, lost more than 60,000 people to COVID, Cowan notes.

When you actually ask those moving out why they’re doing it, Cowan says,

almost half of the adults who left California in the 2010s said they left primarily for jobs, and nearly a quarter said their primary reason for leaving was housing.

Too-expensive housing. Not enough jobs. A declining birth rate. A terrible worldwide pandemic. With the possible exception of the declining birth rate. none of these things are worth celebrating. Unless you’re a Republican who cares more about owning the libs than you do about the lives and livelihoods of your fellow Americans.

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FluffyGhostKitten
FluffyGhostKitten
1 month ago

Umm…whatever Monica Showalter’s on, I want some. An entire party is some hallucination.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
1 month ago

Probably the biggest reason so many cited for leaving was strong desire not to expose their multi-racial kids to wokester education and Critical Race Theory.

How is this not just a variant version of the racist trope of claiming “well, I have a [insert minority] friend, and even he says [insert whatever racist garbage the speaker is trying to push]!” ?

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 month ago

I’m sure it would surprise them to learn that there is no such thing as endless population growth.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
1 month ago

The loss of the SALT deductions from the 2017 Trump tax plan made living and working in high-tax states a lot more painful. Many people are moving to low-tax Sunbelt states, especially retirees who can’t afford high property taxes and are no longer concerned about schools.

Have these news outlets realized yet that people moving from blue states to red states will bring their voting habits with them?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
1 month ago

 a very pretty, newish neighborhood of McMansions

You can safely dismiss the opinion of anyone who thinks McMansions are pretty. McMansion neighborhoods are depressing, boring and ugly as fuck.

Ninja Socialist
Ninja Socialist
1 month ago

If I never hear the words “cancel culture” “woke” and “critical race theory” used the wrong way ever again I could die happy.

Snowberry
Snowberry
1 month ago

Probably a lot of US people have already seen these stats, but here’s a quick rundown on how population changes have affected the US House of Representatives. It should give some idea where people are leaving from and moving to:

-1 seat: California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Note that New York hasn’t experienced population loss, just much slower growth than the country on the average (gaining only about 75,000 people since 2010). It went just barely over the line to lose a seat.

+1 seat: Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Florida

+2 seats: Texas

…Most likely because the bulk of the tech industry growth has been in Texas during recent years. There has been moderate growth in multiple industries in Montana, and the housing prices are still cheap there (though starting to rise). Florida has turned into a graveyard of grandiose (but failed) construction projects, though building them does provide jobs. Don’t know about the other states.

Seth S
Seth S
1 month ago

Off topic, but in a town near me we just had a mass murder-suicide with 7 dead, that happened at a birthday party. Thankfully the murderer/suicide (allegedly the boyfriend of one of the deceased victims) didn’t kill any of the children at the party, as far as I’m aware, but they’ll be dealing with the mental scars for life.

Police apparently have not disclosed a motive for why the boyfriend decided to shoot up a birthday party and kill his girlfriend along with some of her family and friends, but I imagine we might have some good guesses….

Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
1 month ago

Except for the high cost of pretty much everything, I find San Francisco a lovely place to live. I know that right-wing pundits say that dog poop is everywhere — yeah, no. Ditto human poop — nah. There is some of both, but I’m guessing that other cities have problems too. Just a guess. I’m seeing fewer people without housing on the streets during Covid, probably because the City has given some of them temporary housing. And if high prices keep fascists out of this beautiful City, then those ridiculous costs have done some good.

Lumipuna
Lumipuna
1 month ago

I’ve seen some news stories along the line that more middle class/wealthy people are working remotely (perhaps especially in tech hubs like California, and perhaps not just for the duration of the pandemic) and therefore can live in nice/affordable places where local employment wouldn’t be available.

There was one family that moved from Silicon Valley to Finland during last year’s wildfire smoke season, anticipating a winter of political instability and ever-worsening covid situation in the US. They may have also cited the housing prices. The wife (a tech startup entrepreneur) was a Finnish citizen, and they already had a vacation house in rural eastern Finland (a very quiet place but with good broadband, some other basic services, very little covid and only a few wolves). The husband (a high ranking Facebook employee) was a US citizen, though not necessarily from California. He was hoping to work remotely on a long term basis, doing a late light shift by the local time zone (depending on the season, it could be almost constantly daylight or dark at that latitude).

Prith
Prith
1 month ago

I honestly don’t have any faith at all in those numbers. The “new government study” referred to was the 2020 Census, which TFG fucked up six ways from Sunday, not only cutting it short from any normal census, but ignoring (or taking advantage of) the difficulties added by the pandemic that should have led to spending more time on it, not less.

I’m especially suspicious of New York’s lost seat, since I’m quite sure the undercount was well within the margin they missed the cutoff by.

LollyPop
LollyPop
1 month ago

It’s almost as if when housing costs outstrip people’s income, they have to look elsewhere. I swear sometimes property developers and landlords believe they live in their own sphere, completely independent of the wider economy.

In my hometown on the coast of the UK (which I honestly cannot emphasize enough was considered for nearly my whole life one of England’s primary shitholes. Journalists used to visit to write about how crap the town is and stupid the residents) house prices have nearly tripled. It was noticed by what right wingers would call the “itinerant hipsters” but are actually the fashionable and propertied youngish upper middle class from London.

I moved away partly motivated by the fact that rents are becoming completely unmanageable. Apart from the native comfortable class and new (relatively) wealthy settlers, the area is still technically deprived with low earning potential, but still the rents rise and the Air B&Bs open.

I guess Work From Home and city dwellers realising in lockdown that seaside towns have a lot of charm has compounded it, but where does it end?? We are in the biggest recession in 300 years, furlough is going to stop one day. It feels like both the US and UK are relying on housing and Buy to Let to prop up people’s sense of security and wealth but the bubble has to burst, surely?

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 month ago

@Bookworm in hijab : it remind me of late night bus from Paris to my suburb, where there’s often dark-skinned people ranting. That’s where I discovered that blacks and arabs are racists against the same target as white people. Sometime racist against themselves.

It’s also why it’s not even an actual lie from the people saying that. Finding either a yes man or an asshole of the correct ethnicity to repeat your prejudice is easy.

Mog
Mog
1 month ago

“Itinerant hipsters”. Enterprising young people have always, always moved to areas of high employment, putting up with lower quality housing until they get established in a career with some savings. At some point a lot of them want to settle somewhere nicer, maybe have kids. The only difference is that now wages are so suppressed and housing costs so high, that an increasing proportion of them get stuck in this insecure lifestyle into middle age.

In any case, it’s Republicans who have long insisted that people should seek work at any cost to themselves, including moving. It’s them that says governments and society have no responsibility to provide a living to anyone. Now they are furious they aren’t starving to death in the place they were born?

rv97
1 month ago

They shouldn’t be cheering too hard – people coming over to Texas may become libertarians at the very least instead of the hardcore God-fearing conservatives they wished new residents were, assuming cost alone is driving Californians to Texas (and most of those who can lived in big cities).

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 month ago

@Mog : no, they are furious that California isn’t head over heels for fascism, so any and all facts will be relentlessly cast as a failing for California.

Maybe they also fear that youngster going in other state mean even more democrat victory. Perhaps even some left wings will get elected if that continue.

Colschick
Colschick
1 month ago

These population trends have been going on in California for about 20 years, so I don’t know why anyone would label it “shocking”.

Middle class families with school age children have been known to be fleeing for quite a while. California used to be tops at school funding. Now it’s near the bottom.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
1 month ago

@ Seth S, oh my God… I don’t even know what to say. Those poor kids. I’m seriously just…nope. I can’t. I agree with you that we could probably guess at least some of the motivations, and they are all along the lines of “women are property, really”.

@Ohlmann,

That’s where I discovered that blacks and arabs are racists against the same target as white people. Sometime racist against themselves.

Yeah, we really need to stop with thinking “butbutbut Bilal was black!” is good enough, and actually address the problem of racism in the ummah, FFS…

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
1 month ago

Oh and for some reason I can never edit, but Ohlmann I wanted to add, yes you can always find a [choice of minority] person who will say [racist/sexist/homophobic] stuff, and it’s also awful when we do it, just as it’s awful when white/straight/cis/etc people do it. I agree with you.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

Yeah they don’t mention the fact these people tend to move to Democraticlly controlled cities.
They’re not clamoring however to into the poorest states in America—which currently are mostly controlled by Republicans.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
1 month ago

@Prith: Same here. Agent Orange and his enablers really didn’t want an accurate census — too many people with too much melanin for their taste.

Less than 1/2 of 1% is well within the margin of error of that travesty.

rikalous
rikalous
1 month ago

I’ve got a brother and sister-in-law who moved out of the state in search of somewhere cheaper and less on fire, and another brother who moved down to Austin for the music scene. None of them ever expressed any concerns about California wokeness or Critical Race Theory, and the Texan works retail so I haven’t heard much about good manners, either.

CarrieV
CarrieV
1 month ago

Has anyone else here had issues with friends or relatives who refused to fill out their Census forms? More friends of mine refused to participate in the Census count than not. Some claimed it was to f*ck with Tr*mp, some claimed that it was none of the government’s business who lived where. Both excuses are infuriatingly stupid.

I went online to see if there was a valid reason to avoid filling it out… nope, of course not, but there *were* hundreds of California-specific links giving overwrought and hysterical reasons as to why we should avoid telling Big Brother our business.

Certainly many did leave California. But I have to wonder how many just didn’t get counted.

North Sea Sparkly Dragon
North Sea Sparkly Dragon
1 month ago

@LollyPop, Grimsby or Hull? Both made it into ‘Crap Towns’ and both are by the seaside, technically.

Seth S
Seth S
1 month ago

Update on the murder suicide:
“The suspect had a history of controlling and jealous behavior towards the victim,” Frabbiele says. “This behavior, in particular, was obvious when he tried to isolate her from her family making efforts to prevent her from attending family events.”

There was no history of domestic violence calls. (which of course has nothing to do with the utter uselessness of police when it comes to domestic violence.)

Police have speculated that he committed the shooting because he was not invited to the party. (not because he was clearly an abusive, controlling dickhead who didn’t want his girlfriend spending time with her family).

The kids very likely saw at least the first few of the adults die before running for a back room where the murderer thankfully left them be.

The firearm was legally purchased some years ago, but not by the suspect, and was not reported stolen. They are investigating how he got hold of it (I’m guessing either he “borrowed” it or it was a private sale).

LollyPop
LollyPop
1 month ago

@North Sea Sparkly Dragon

Ah it’s much further South, down in Thanet. It took about 40 years but after spending 5 hours in the car to places like Port Isaac to visit their second homes well off Londoners finally remembered there’s a coast one hour away – and one that has a bit of ‘urban’ cred for the Shoreditch types, haha.

There’s a Instagram account called The Daily Margz poking fun at the gentrification. It’s proved a little divisive!

Hambeast
Hambeast
1 month ago

Buttercup Q. Skullpants said

Have these news outlets realized yet that people moving from blue states to red states will bring their voting habits with them?

That may not mean what you think it means, not entirely, anyway. Lake Elsinore is just up the road from where I live. Do you remember back in 2014 when a bunch of anti-immigrant protesters blocked a busload of kids and moms in DHS custody and actually turned them back? Those are the people we’re talking about here. Sadly, a lot of them are Latinx.

If they relocate to red states, they’ll be right at home.