But the rest of the country, it seems, will go to Texas. Andrew Sullivan highlights massive migration to Austin, Texas, which is, truly, heaven on earth. Left unspoken are the likely effects of this migration. Apart from impacts on Austin itself, whose Edenic status almost depends on its relative obscurity (how many town houses can fit around Lake Travis before it’s no longer Lake Travis?), a sudden influx from “blue” states runs a nonzero chance of realigning America’s biggest, greatest red state — especially when counting the effects (legal) immigration will have on the state in the near future.
I’ve said before that one man (or woman) could spend his life turning Texas blue, and die secure in the knowledge that this was a life well-lived. I stand by that. There’s an allure to Texas that’s almost irresistible — as soon as you start to fight it, you’ve already lost — and an emergent consciousness that acknowledges the social changes of the past few decades, while still preserving the “frontier state” mystique that will always define the state.
This is partly because Texas conservatism is not mainline conservatism, but a more individualistic breed that, with noted exceptions, manages to evade the rigid dogmatism and fundamentalism of the national movement. (Politicians like Rick Perry constitute unfortunate exceptions, not a general rule.) It may also be due to the sheer size of the state, and the dominance of its environment, peripheral constants that will always influence an increasingly dynamic core. Combined with now-unavoidable demographic changes, these qualities make the state winnable for the left, but suggest that we won’t realize it is winnable until the process is substantially underway.
It’s time to take Texas seriously, not as a stereotype or a perennial progressive foe, but as a natural ally whose curious relationship with modernity will, sometime soon, fuse the best of both worlds, balancing social and technological progress with a respect for our past, our national spirit, and our environment.