Red State, Blue Cities

Will the Texas model become a victim of its own success?

John Steinbeck once called Texas “a mystique closely approximating a religion”—and today, the Lone Star State remains full of myth, mystery, and paradox. Yet, as Steinbeck also noted, “Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America.” This strong sense of place and identity owes to Texas’s distinctive origins and the hardy character of the migrants it attracts.

Texas’s booming economy has produced rapid population growth, much of it in the form of migration from other states. Most new arrivals have settled in Texas’s large and burgeoning cities, which, despite Texas’s reputation as a red state, lean increasingly blue. As a result, Republican governor Greg Abbott warns that Texas runs the risk of being “California-ized.” As Texas becomes ever more populous and urban, preserving the small-government identity that has proved vital to its prosperity and growth will pose a challenge. Will the “Texas model” become a victim of its own success?

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