Techxodus: The Flight of Terrified Techies From California

California today provides a model for America as a whole,” Peter Leyden, CEO of Reinvent, declared in a TED talk in 2018:

In the early 2000s, California faced a similar situation to the one America faces today. Its state politics were severely polarized, and state government was largely paralyzed. … The solution for the people of California was to reconfigure the political landscape and shift a supermajority of citizens—and by extension their elected officials—under the Democratic Party’s big tent. The natural continuum of more progressive to more moderate solutions then got worked out within the context of the only remaining functioning party. This model of politics and government is by no means perfect, but it is far ahead of the nation in coming to terms with the inexorable digital, global, sustainable transformation of our era. It is a thriving work in progress that gives hope that America can pull out of the political mess we’re in. California today provides a playbook for America’s new way forward.

How’s that California-inspired, national one-party, Democratic monopoly rule thing working out, Peter? With massive funding from Silicon Valley and Wall Street, helped by censorship of conservative media, ads and memes by social media monopolies, the Democrats won back the White House from the unpopular Donald Trump in the middle of a pandemic—with a Californian, Kamala Harris, becoming vice president. But while the Democrats won over some upscale, white, Never-Trump Republicans, the Republicans picked up votes among African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans, leaving Republicans with a good chance of winning back the House in the 2022 midterms and perhaps the White House in 2024.

Meanwhile in 2020, California’s population growth slowed to a rate of 0.05%, the slowest since 1900. Tech giants that got their start in the Bay Area like Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Google, and Palantir have either moved their headquarters or are building campuses in Austin, Houston, or other Texas cities. Elon Musk is now an Austinite.

While Bay Area diasporas are finding refuge across the lower 48 states, what some are calling the “Techxodus” from California is largely a “Texodus.” My hometown of Austin leads the list of the cities to which people are moving in the United States, with Dallas at No. 7. Meanwhile, San Francisco has achieved the grim honor of being No. 3 on the list of cities that people are escaping, following Hartford, Connecticut, and New York City. And yet, despite tweet after tweet from locals confirming these trends, they have received almost no mainstream media coverage.

The “pull” factors of Texas and similar conservative states—the absence of a state income tax, a pro-business (and anti-labor) political climate—are real enough. But these factors are not new—and if they were the real causes of [ … ]

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