How Washington state might have helped flip Arizona blue


Within the excessive drama of the current United States presidential election, Washington was a bit participant — reliably blue. We’re about as removed from being a “swing state” as you may get.

Even so, we might have performed a behind-the-scenes position in one of many greatest tales of the 2020 presidential contest: Arizona.

The Grand Canyon State — lengthy a Republican stronghold — flipped from purple to blue this 12 months, contributing 11 electoral votes to challenger Joe Biden’s victory over incumbent Donald Trump. In so doing, Biden grew to become the primary Democrat since Invoice Clinton in 1996 to win the state.

Biden wasn’t the one Democrat to win in Arizona in 2020. Mark Kelly was elected to the U.S. Senate, beating incumbent Republican Martha McSally. Arizona voters additionally authorised using leisure marijuana and handed a brand new tax on excessive earners to assist schooling.

Why is Arizona instantly wanting much more liberal?

Political analysts have pointed to a wide range of elements, from elevated Latino and Native American voter turnout in 2020 to the endorsement of Joe Biden by Cindy McCain, widow of former Republican Arizona senator and presidential candidate John McCain.

Altering demographics have additionally been cited as an affect in numerous information articles — specifically, an inflow of priced-out California liberals.

Arizona is among the nation’s fastest-growing states in recent times, drawing newcomers with its robust financial system within the Phoenix space, inexpensive housing and year-round sunshine. A couple of quarter-million folks relocate there every year from different components of the U.S. — and no state sends extra folks to Arizona than California, the place the cost-of-living could be prohibitive even for college-educated professionals.

I checked out census knowledge on state-to-state migration and located that because the 2016 election — from 2017 to 2019 — about 150,000 Californians who’re eligible to vote (U.S. residents, age 18 and older) moved to Arizona. Whereas the information doesn’t inform us something concerning the political affiliations of the these movers, California is, in fact, one of many bluest states.

However guess which different very-blue state ranks No. 2 after California for sending expats into Arizona. That’s proper: Washington.

Whereas the consultants haven’t given us any of the credit score — and to be honest, our numbers pale subsequent to California’s — ex-Washingtonians may have additionally contributed to Arizona’s flip.

From 2017 to 2019, 43,000 voting-eligible Washingtonians made the transfer south. Whereas that quantity can’t evaluate with California, it’s nonetheless surprisingly giant.

Washington exports extra residents to Arizona than any of its neighboring states — Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. We even rank forward of Texas, which is far nearer to Arizona than Washington and has about 4 instances the inhabitants.

Needless to say Biden defeated Trump in Arizona by a margin of about 10,500 votes, so these 43,000 ex-Washingtonians actually may have made a distinction.

We don’t know the political affiliation of these Washington movers, and there are, in fact, many components of the Evergreen State which can be Republican strongholds. However the knowledge additionally exhibits that greater than half of the state’s movers to Arizona are from the Democrat-heavy Seattle metropolitan space.

Whether or not it’s for work, retirement, decrease price of residing or simply to flee the rain, Arizona is among the high locations that Washingtonians go once they transfer away. California is the No. 1 alternative after which comes Oregon. Arizona ranks No. 3, simply behind Oregon.