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Will Coronavirus Accelerate The Exodus From Blue States?

I&I Editorial

Don’t be surprised if some people mistake COVID-19 outbreak maps with those election outcome maps. The virus has killed more than 46,000 Americans and is expected to claim 20,000 more by August. But it’s hitting certain areas far harder than others.

Of the 10 states with the highest number of deaths per 100,000 residents, only two voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, and one of those was Michigan, which had been voting Democratic until Trump flipped it.

At the other end of the spectrum, of the 10 states with the lowest death rates, only one (Hawaii) voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The median death rate for blue states is 4.3. For red states, it’s 1.9. (See the chart below.)

Heavily Democratic New York and New Jersey are driving this crisis. These two states alone account for 54% of all the coronavirus deaths in the U.S. The differences are stark.

While the number of confirmed cases in the nation is 2,511 per 1 million people, it’s 13,359 in New York and 10,402 in New Jersey. The overall death rate in the country is 140 per million people. In New York it’s 1,028. In New Jersey it’s 535.

Democrats have been working overtime to blame Trump for every COVID-19 death. But aren’t Democrats who run these heavily infected states more to blame?

Democrats say Trump should have been far more aggressive early in the year. Had he done so, however, those same Democrats would have screamed for his impeachment on the grounds that he’d gone dictatorial. And what were these same Democrats saying during the early months? Most of them, like most of the public health officials – including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization – were aggressively downplaying the risk.

In any event, a disease largely concentrated in a few liberal states has led to the shutdown of the entire country. In his syndicated column, Dennis Prager ponders what would happen if the reverse were true.

Imagine that Georgia and North Carolina – two contiguous states that, like the New York metro area, have a combined total of 21 million people – had 18,690 COVID-19 deaths, while metro New York had 858 deaths (the number of deaths in North Carolina and Georgia combined).

Do you think the New York metro area would close its schools, stores, restaurants, and small businesses? 

Would every citizen of the New York area, with the few exceptions of those engaged in absolutely necessary work, be locked in their homes for months? 

Would New Yorkers accept the decimation of their economic and social lives because North Carolina and Georgia (or, even more absurdly, Colorado, Montana, or the rest of what most New Yorkers regard as “flyover” country) had 18,960 deaths, while they had a mere 858?


Even within conservative states, liberal areas have been hardest hit by the disease. Indeed, a map of the death rates by county looks eerily similar to how these counties voted in 2016. (See the maps below. The blue and tan map shows COVID-19 death rates by county — the darker the blue, the higher the rate. The red and blue map shows results from the 2016 presidential election by county.)

To be sure, the high death rates are concentrated in and around cities, which are prime breeding grounds for any contagious disease. And no matter where they’re located, urban areas tend to be more liberal than the rest of the population.

There’s something else to consider. This outbreak is like no other, and it could turbocharge the ongoing exodus of people from high-tax, heavily regulated blue states toward those that limit government spending and are more pro-business. It could also prompt legions of urban liberals to move to less contagion-prone regions.

This interstate migration from blue to red has been going on for years. In 2018 alone, New York lost 180,000 people to other states. New Jersey lost more than 50,000, and Connecticut lost more than 20,000. Texas, on the other hand, gained 82,000, Arizona 83,000 and Florida gained 132,000.

What’s more, in any phased re-opening, red states are likely to open earlier, since their disease rates have been lower, giving them yet another advantage over blue states.

The problem with such migrations, however, is that liberals who abandon liberal states because they can’t afford the taxes or because business is scarce keep voting liberal in their new locations.

It would be especially ironic if a disease that afflicted mostly liberal areas of the country were to result in more counties and more states turning blue.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board.

Editor’s note: This editorial had misidentified the author of the column quoted as Victor Davis Hansen. It is, in fact, Dennis Prager. We’ve corrected that, and added a  link to teh column. Thanks to the alert reader who notified of our error.

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Heavily populated areas will surely have more virus and be slower to open. But that problem is also compounded by hate-Trump blue politicians. If Trump says open, they say closed, if Trump touts a med, they won’t take it, if Trump told them to breathe air, they’d try to breathe sand. Blue states will commit suicide to keep Trump from being right about anything. All I can do laugh about it because they elected these fools, however, if the blue states think that the rest of the country is going to keep paying their bills when they could be working, then the arguments will get serious.

  • As we already know…when Blue Staters flee the devastation of Blue State problems, they bring the Blue State problems with them and infect the Red States.

    • There’s a reason to keep blue states locked down – quarantine liberal policies.

    • What you forget is that in blue states, leftists are brought to us through migration as well and slowly change the demographics of our state so that conservatism no longer has a voice. We are looking to find a place where our values and our votes count. I just read an article that says ID has become REDDER with recent migration. I know a few who have gone there and it is one of the places I am considering myself.
      – native CA, lived in all three left coast states

  • Blue states probably do like for example Italy (and apparently New York!): if a patient dies of whatever in a hospital with Wuhan virus patients, the patient is presumed a virus victim.

  • The idea that crowding together in big cities is good for the planet turns out to be bad for humans as well as the planet. Acting like humans are not natural inhabitants but somehow different from all other inhabitants of the planet is also wrong.

    Humans are natural and everything we do is natural. Everything we build and use is natural to this planet. When animals cause species to go extinct that’s natural. 99.9999% all fauna on this planet has gone extinct but leftists act like it’s some horrible thing when an extinction occurs now.

    Some people want to freeze everything right where it is, animals, plants, temperature.

    That’s unnatural.

  • You know all those people who said we need to crowd together in big city apartment buildings and ride mass transit?

    Yeah, no thanks.

  • And the death rate for Louisiana is high because of New Orleans, a densely packed city.

  • why do Blue states have the biggest problems with Covid? Is that a rhetorical question? Its because of dems, incompetent, corrupt, lying thieves…its also why blue states have the biggest problems with anything, like, pensions, budgets, homelessness, illegal immigration, crap schools, high taxes, it goes on and on and on.

  • “Keep them civil?” Which of the comments allowed to be posted qualifies as “civil?” For that matter, is anything in this article “civil?” We will know soon enough if the so-called “red states” like Georgia are right to be reopening so quickly. The “blue states” will follow science. The “red” ones will follow Trump. Come November, we will know who’s right.

    • The article is stating facts. It’s tough you’re offended by facts. I know you’re hoping everyone in Georgia dies. That would make you happy.

  • If you come from a blue state to my very red state, don’t bring your idiot groupthink with you. Remember why you left those liberal enclaves.

    • Washingtonian here who came in 2003 when WA was still relatively moderate. It’s a beautiful state but has declined rapidly related to exponential growth combined with leftist policy. I am looking to get out and yes I will be moving to the reddest state I can find that makes sense to me. I’m not your problem and there are many like me. We’re voting these people out over and over and are overrun; we have no voice. Don’t assume we’re all liberals or that we have ever been. Liberals are predominantly inner city baby boomers or Millennials everywhere.

    • It is the hangover that people don’t enjoy – not the process that led to the hangover.

  • Nature does not like high concentrations of people or animals. If there are high concentrations, then there are compensating networks. For example, large herds such as caribou or wildebeests migrate so as not to destroy their habitat. Mega-cities like NYC or Karachi just take the resources from everywhere else. There is a lack of resilience in this system, so they are not robust and they, as a consequence, cannot take a hit very well. Think about it: if potable water ran out in NYC, the city would have to be evacuated in three days. No water no life, no sanitation. It becomes a petri dish of disease.

  • This is consitant with Revelation 16:2. Democrats are not Christian so they would have the mark of the beast.

  • People who leave high tax states often bring their politics with them. Notice how Colorado and Virginia moved from red to purple to blue. Arizona and North Carolina will be next followed by Florida.

    • Colorado has not gone blue. The Colo GOP went stupid. Last year the dems tried for another tax increase and got stomped yet again, that’s the 3rd time this decade. Colo loves mildly libertarian centrists. The GOP keeps running brain damaged hyper… you can’t even really call them conservatives, they’re pathetic clowns.

  • Blue States inflated the Corona virus numbers to include just about anything from flu deaths to pneumonia deaths and probably even more. This is obviously A typical liberal scheme to overload the system, shut down a thriving economy and create poor people who need a hand out. Your numbers prove this more than they proved what your story said.

  • Cities are deadly. Big, crowded cities are deadlier still. Liberal, big, crowded cities deadliest of all.

  • It would have been much more revealing if you had inserted an actual map of the USA instead of a bar graph for voting, that way one can compare apples to apples.

    When I saw the Johns Hopkins dashboard for the first time with the resolution set for USA, I thought I had seen a very similar map elsewhere. When I pulled up the county map in the USA of voting in 2016, I saw that they were nearly identical. About the only difference was the area around the lower Mississippi.

    • Thanks for the comment. We actually had included such maps, but they apparently they weren’t showing up on the page. We redid the layout so they should appear now.

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