The United States has reached a level of partisan division that is hitherto unheard of. While politics have always been and likely always will be a flashpoint for disagreement, there is an increasing tension across our country — and what is driving it might surprise you.
More and more people are picking up and leaving their homes to move to friendlier political locales. And one business, run by former California congressional candidate Paul Chabot, is attempting to cash in on the phenomenon.
Conservative Move was launched on May 22, but in the three months of its existence, it has attracted quite the buzz. According to the company’s website, its only mission is to help conservative families relocate to areas more amenable to their lifestyle, a modern twist on white flight.
“[W[e just wanted to help families make the move like we did… and that’s where we can be of help to you. Sell your home. Buy your new home. Live,” their website reads. Further, it explains that the company is “focused on helping families move to the North Texas region and specifically Collin County, Texas.”
While relocating away from your home might be considered the purview of Millenials, a notoriously liberal group, nearly 63% of all adults will pack up and leave their hometowns for a new community at least once in their lives. Whether or not these numbers increase as the result of services like Conservative Move, however, remains to be seen.
The average cost of an intrastate move is around $1,170 today, according to the American Moving and Storage Association. And that figure doesn’t include the hassle of selling your home and finding a new job.
The startup is not the first evidence that political ideology has been a factor in relocation. In 2008, the journalist and author Bill Bishop explored how the self-sorting of individuals into politically homogeneous groups is having a devastating effect on the way our political system functions (or doesn’t) in his book, The Big Sort
In a related trend, there has also been a discussion among liberals of moving into conservative districts and states, and especially swing states, in order to sway future elections.
Despite all this talk, however, there is little evidence to support that such self-sorting is actually happening on a wide scale. In one study, authors Jonathan Mummolo and Clayton Nall argue that while many people report wanting to move to an area that matches their ideologies, it proves a significant challenge in practice thanks to the difficulty of actually identifying the political climate of an area.
In that respect, Conservative Move might prove immensely successful. In fact, the company has already helped to place conservatives in more right-leaning neighborhoods like Collin County. Detractors argue that despite a tendency for the county to go red, it’s far more diverse than Conservative Move has implied.
As Dallas News contributor Mike Rawlins puts it, “if people move to Collin County expecting to find a conservative utopia, they are going to be very disappointed.”