Live from Music Row, Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Convention of States Action head Mark Meckler to the newsmaker line to discuss the migration of conservatives from blue to red states and how blue states are becoming bluer as Americans vote with their feet.
Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line our very good friend Mark Meckler. Mark is the head of the Convention of States Action. They have a new poll out. Mark is a good friend, was one of the early organizers of the Tea Party movement.
Mark, you may recall, we first met in April of 2009 when we all gathered in Los Angeles at the studios of PJTV to do some programming for the first set of Tea Parties. Great to have you on the program here today, Mark.
Meckler: Yes, you’re making me feel old, Michael. That goes way back, doesn’t it?
Leahy: It goes way back. Ironically, an all-star panelist here and is relevant to your poll who has lived in Nashville for four years. Remember, the CEO of PJ TV at that time was screenwriter Roger Simon. He’s now a columnist for The Epoch Times and lives in Nashville and every Thursday he joins me in studio on this program as an all-star panelist. How about that?
Meckler: I love that. One of the best commentators and writers in America today.
Leahy: So your poll just came out and was conducted by the Trafalgar Group and you say one of the hidden insights of the 2022 elections, is the red states got redder, blue states got bluer. People who live in blue states are moving to red states. Tell us more about that.
Meckler: Yes, I think its interesting the way this breaks down along partisan lines, too. And the numbers don’t sound huge until you extrapolate them nationally. We have a 4.1 percent of independents, 4.4 percent of Republicans, and 1.1 percent of Democrats say that they’ve moved over the last few years to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs and political values.
And so those sound like small numbers. But if you look at, for example, in a presidential year, president Trump got roughly 80 million votes and you say 4 percent of that, you’re talking about millions of people relocating from wherever they lived in a blue state to a red state.
And I think this is one of the explanations for why we saw voting turn up in the Republican Party in the red state specifically. Florida is a great example of that. People are moving and they’re voting with their feet.
Leahy: People are leaving the blue states like California, Illinois, New York, and Connecticut and then moving to the red states like Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. I’ve heard some people say that one of the reasons Lee Zeldin did not win the governor’s race in New York is because all of the conservatives that would have put him over the top moved from New York to Florida. Any thoughts on that?
Meckler: Yes, I think that’s certainly part of the reason they moved from New York to Florida. And this is interesting also. When you look at the swing there, it’s roughly 4 percent of Independents and Republicans, and only 1 percent of Democrats which means that the blue states are staying blue.
It also means something else under that, which is it means that Democrats in the red states aren’t leaving. And they’re not leaving, generally speaking, because the economies are good and the freedom indexes are high. And I’m going to say something that’s very partisan. Republicans are nicer. They’re not mean to them in these red states. (Leahy chuckles)
It’s tolerable for a Democrat to live in a red state. And this is why you don’t see them moving. And you see this playing out even more. And when you look forward, what we saw is polling that says roughly 10 percent of Republicans and Independents plan to move in the next year to a region that aligns with our values.
And again, only 2 percent of Democrats. It’s almost four times the number of Republicans and Independents feel they need to move to somewhere that is more friendly to them.
Leahy: Now, I think that when last we talked that you were a resident of a blue state, but you have ties to red states. Have you at all personally considered moving to a red state?
And by the way, let me just mention, I don’t know if you know this, but here in Tennessee, we have no state income tax. And we would love to have Mark Meckler as a resident of Tennessee.
Meckler: Well, I appreciate that, but your recollection is correct, though. In the last four years, four years ago, almost to the day, on the 5th of December and I moved to Texas. I’m one of the people who were part of that exodus. And we moved for precisely the reasons that people were moving.
California is no longer friendly to our values. The tax system is a disaster. I’m a big fan of guns. I’m a hobbyist. And I couldn’t even tell what the laws were in California any longer. And so we picked up and we moved to Texas.
Leahy: I’ve learned something. But of course, this is an obvious thing for somebody intelligent who lives in a blue state to do. What was that move like?
Meckler: For us, I would say it was like peeling off the chains and becoming free people again. I literally remember when we drove across the border into Texas down near El Paso and stopped at the first barbecue joint we found. I remember moving into the house. Our stuff wasn’t here yet.
Patty and I were here sitting in the house on some patio furniture and she said, do you miss California? And my response was, where? (Laughter) I don’t even think about it. Everybody will tell you it’s the weather. But for me, moving to be surrounded by people who go to church, who love God, who love their country, having no state income tax, everything is better in Texas than in California.
Leahy: What’s left in a blue state, though? It looks to me as if sane people who are conservatives who love freedom are moving from blue states to red states; the blue states are getting bluer and crazier. Your thoughts?
Meckler: Yes, I do think that’s happening, and I am actually worried about that because we have states that are swing states now, like, say, maybe a Wisconsin or a Pennsylvania, and we have to worry about whether we’re going to lose those states and how that affects the Electoral College.
And so what it means is those who stay are going to have to fight even harder. There are still plenty of people left behind, in my opinion, to win in a bunch of those states. Also, what we’re going to see is people in blue states getting sick of the blue and they’re going to turn to more conservative Democrats or the Republicans because those states are kind of going down the drain, I have to say.
Leahy: So here’s my theory about 2024, almost two years ahead of it, but I think in order for a Republican candidate to win the presidency, they got to take all the states that Trump won in 2022. And then there are three states that must be one back in order to get to 275.
That’s a narrow Electoral College victory that will get you over the 270 hump. Those three states, in my view, are Wisconsin, Georgia, and the epicenter of the fight for liberty in America in 2022, 23, and 24, Arizona. Your thoughts?
Meckler: Yes, I would agree with all of that. And actually, I don’t think that’s a stretch. I think it’s a narrow path to victory, but I don’t think that’s a stretch, especially in a presidential year. And I would say specifically with 2024 looking at who the potential candidates are, I know the Republicans have their own fight going on and there’s going to be some difficulty there, but the real fight is in the Democrat Party.
And the problem is they just don’t have a bench. Joe Biden is literally brain-dead in the presidency. Kamala Harris is disliked at a higher percentage than Joe Biden. They just really don’t have a strong bench. If I could throw out a prediction, I think the most likely candidate for the Democratic Party right now, though, he says he’s not running today is Governor Gavin Newsom from California.
Leahy: He certainly has the hair for it, right? And the smile for it. (Meckler chuckles)
Meckler: I think he’s actually just on a personal level in front of the camera, he’s good. He’s not a dumb guy, a smart guy, and he’s a business guy. He knows how to talk. And so I think he’s got what it takes to actually run. And I think that sets him way above the rest of the field in the Democrat Party.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Mark Meckler” by Convention of States.