For A Better Future, Live In A Red State

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Friday, October 18, 2013

While gridlock and division in Washington make it difficult for either party or ideology to set the policy agenda, single-party government prevails in three-quarters of the states. In 24 states Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the legislature, and in 13 states Democrats enjoy one-party control. Comparing economic growth, education, health care, quality of life and environment, and the strength of civil society, do red or blue states win out?

  • Hewitt-Photo-2012-90


    Hugh Hewitt

    Radio Host, The Hugh Hewitt Show

  • StephenMoore90


    Stephen Moore

    Editorial Board Member, The Wall Street Journal

  • GrayDavis90


    Gray Davis

    37th Governor of California

  • Michael-Lind-90


    Michael Lind

    Co-Founder, New America Foundation

    • Moderator Image


      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

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For The Motion

Hugh Hewitt

Radio Host, The Hugh Hewitt Show

Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor, and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities across the U.S. every weekday afternoon. Hewitt is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, and has been teaching constitutional law at Chapman University Law School since it opened in 1995. He is the author of a dozen books, including two New York Times bestsellers. Hewitt writes daily for his blog,, which is among the most visited political blogs in the U.S., and is a weekly columnist for The Washington Examiner and Hewitt served for nearly six years in the Reagan Administration in a variety of posts, including Assistant Counsel in the White House and Special Assistant to two Attorneys General. He lives in southern California.

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For The Motion

Stephen Moore

Editorial Board Member, The Wall Street Journal

Stephen Moore joined The Wall Street Journal as a member of the editorial board and the senior economics writer in 2005. In March 2013 he became a Fox News Channel commentator. He is the founder and former president of the Club for Growth, which raises money for political candidates who favor free-market economic policies. Moore has served as a senior economist on the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, as a budget expert for the Heritage Foundation, and as a senior economics fellow at the Cato Institute. He was a consultant to the National Economic Commission in 1987 and the research director for President Reagan's Commission on Privatization. Moore is the author of six books, including Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth About Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America (2012).

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Against The Motion

Gray Davis

37th Governor of California

Joseph "Gray" Davis was overwhelmingly elected the 37th governor of California in 1998, winning 58% of the vote. As Governor, he made education a top priority, signing legislation to strengthen California's K-12 system by establishing the Academic Performance Index to increase accountability in schools, and expanding access to higher education with a record number of scholarships and college loans. These reforms improved student achievement scores for six consecutive years. Davis was also proud to fund and establish Institutes of Science and Innovation in partnership with the University of California and leading private industry; these Institutes are appropriately named after the Governor. Today, Davis is Of Counsel at Loeb & Loeb, LLP, a member of the bi-partisan Think Long Committee, a senior fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs, and Honorary Co-Chair of the Southern California Leadership Council. He has also served as lieutenant governor, state controller, and state assemblyman. He began his public service as a captain in the U.S. Army, earning the Bronze Star for meritorious service in Vietnam.

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Against The Motion

Michael Lind

Co-Founder, New America Foundation

Michael Lind is a co-founder of the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., where he is the policy director of its Economic Growth Program and Next Social Contract Initiative. A columnist for Salon, he has been a staff writer or editor at The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The New Republic, and The National Interest and contributes frequently to The New York Times and the Financial Times. He is the author of a number of books of history, political journalism, fiction, and poetry, including Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States (2012). Educated at the University of Texas and Yale, Lind has taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins. Lind is a fifth generation native of Texas, where he worked for the state legislature and where he plans to retire, notwithstanding the lamentable political culture of the Lone Star State.

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Declared Winner: For The Motion

Online Voting

Voting Breakdown:

68% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (52% voted FOR twice, 14% voted AGAINST twice, 3% voted UNDECIDED twice). 32% changed their minds (3% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 0% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 9% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 1% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 13% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 6% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST). Breakdown Graphic

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    • Comment Link Max Coscia Friday, 01 November 2013 01:42 posted by Max Coscia

      I like that the only state in the debate that gets presented in favor of the motion is Texas. Every other red state has little to offer in terms of education, median income, etc.
      Aside from this one state that I grew up in, which is most rapidly becoming blue (Austin, immigration, etc.), there is nearly nothing to recommend living in a red state.

    • Comment Link Catherine DiPietro Thursday, 31 October 2013 14:06 posted by Catherine DiPietro

      The subject of water didn't come up which is sad. The blue stars have water ( mostly) while red states don't. Hard to have a future without water.

    • Comment Link Bryan Thursday, 24 October 2013 19:47 posted by Bryan

      Say what you want about red states, but I moved my family from the California cesspool to Idaho solely for quality of life improvement. It's amazing how different people are (in a VERY good way) a mere 700 miles away from our old house. Small town feel with larger town amenities, great weather, outdoor activities for everyone, clean air, virtually no crime, etc, etc, etc.

      Jobs are definitely not as plentiful, but that's expected in a smaller community.

      There's absolutely no way I'm ever going back to California, but I wouldn't rule out all blue states. WA and OR are nice, we just liked Idaho much more.

    • Comment Link Matt Thursday, 24 October 2013 04:38 posted by Matt

      Not well argued for the most part. Both of those For made weak points generally whittled down to less gov't is better, therefore red states are better. Davis meandered a great deal, but his partner did an excellent job. The results were weirdly skewed, but in general the audience demographics probably correspond well with those who would see an improvement in their standard of living in a red state (upper-middle to upper class, college educated, and white). In general though, I think the population self sorting is going to be a boon for California (where I live). Let the red states take all of our Republicans, we seem to do better the less we have.

    • Comment Link Melanie Wednesday, 23 October 2013 19:25 posted by Melanie

      The red state side did do an excellent job making the red states sound good. They certainly had a lot of powerful rhetoric. As a human who recently moved from California to Tennessee and has spent a lot of time (recently, and for the first time) in red states like Alabama and Missouri, I can say that the work and cultural opportunities are virtually non-existent in much of "fly-over" country.

      Getting a good job and decent school/healthcare is infinitely easier on the coasts. The future is on the coasts. Young educated people are fleeing the middle of the country in droves.

    • Comment Link Tom P Wednesday, 23 October 2013 18:13 posted by Tom P

      Different debaters arguing on the against side could have won this debate easily. The debaters for the motion were much more vigorous and motivated to win compared to the attitudes of the people arguing against the motion. All four people are not seeing the forrest for the trees; where are the most people wanting to live, Georgie or New York? Blue states have much better universities and colleges, much better opportunities for work, hence why everyone wants to live there. I would concede that one should grow up and make a living in a blue state and then retire in a red state such as Florida or Texas.

    • Comment Link Vern Goehring Wednesday, 23 October 2013 16:59 posted by Vern Goehring

      Gray Davis is the best you can do? He was recalled from office after 5 years and 2 elections! He's hardly a person who can make an effective case for blue states. Many Dems abandoned him because he was unable to make a case for what he believed in or even if he believed in anything.

    • Comment Link Miles Kelley Tuesday, 22 October 2013 23:07 posted by Miles Kelley

      Another voting oddity:
      As of yesterday(Oct 21), the online voting that sits beside the audience voting counted roughly ~40 'for' and ~140 votes 'against.'
      As of today, the voting counts 145 'for' and 163 'against'.

    • Comment Link Miles Kelley Tuesday, 22 October 2013 06:17 posted by Miles Kelley

      Jacob Wiencek: If it was in New York, that would tend to support my notion that the results weren't representative of a typical audience, or the argument quality.

      The initial vote was over 50%(!!) conservative-favoring. That alone is an indicator that something's weird. Meanwhile, I've noticed that the majority of the IQ^2 Debate live audience tends to lean slightly liberal on average. Also, there are a few other debates that IQ^2 has hosted that frame a debate separated primarily along party lines, and most of those tended to be split by thirds - relatively equal parts liberal, conservative, and undecided. Which is a pretty reasonable cross-section of the American political heart, as far as I've seen.

      None of that squares with '73% For' results we just saw. Particularly since the Against side did not fall on their face - They were quite compelling, with clearly supportive data and counterpoints, no matter who you ultimately agree with.

    • Comment Link Mike_K Monday, 21 October 2013 20:45 posted by Mike_K

      ""Red States" like Texas and Georgia and Idaho all receive more support from the Federal Government then they pay in taxes."

      Does this include military bases which are heavily in red states?

    • Comment Link jbenson2 Monday, 21 October 2013 15:38 posted by jbenson2

      Easy answer to who won the debate. Just look at the out-of-control chaos in California, New York and Massachusetts.

    • Comment Link Jacob Wiencek Monday, 21 October 2013 11:16 posted by Jacob Wiencek

      I don't see how the results were terribly skewed. If I remember correct this debate was held in New York City which is the heart of Democratic Party/Blue State support.
      I would argue that the people believed that the arguments presented by the Red State-ers were better. Honestly I thought the Red State side presented a better, easier to follow case.
      However I applaud both sides for openly recognizing the virtues of the other. It was a far more civil debate than I expected.

    • Comment Link Miles Kelley Sunday, 20 October 2013 09:23 posted by Miles Kelley

      A good, robust debate with lots of good points and data on both sides. One of the more enjoyable.

      I wasn't a fan of Gray Davis' meandering "In office, I did this" and "When I was a kid" stories. But his partner Michael Lind really shined. Excellent and relevant data.

      Over the years, I've watched roughly 50 of these wonderful debates(I just now counted). I've gotten used to their ebb and flow, and what tends to allow one side win or lose the voting phase.

      Now, I did not see an overwhelmingly superior argument by either side this debate - No one clearly won. But the voting results shown are terribly skewed and unnatural. I'm disappointed that the natural results were avoided.

      I call foul. I don't know on who, or how, but this is not an organic result.

    • Comment Link boris Friday, 18 October 2013 19:50 posted by boris

      Who would have expected the types of responses seen here to a Red State / Prey State debate ? lol The left never misses the opportunity to trot out their doctored statistics and tired marxist slogans. Without hate, greed, race, arrogance and envy, what are you?

      Live well in your socialist , godless, racially divided, crime ridden Cities my friends and please stop migrating to our havens of prosperity and tranquility. Please keep your "San Francisco values" "and your "rich vs. poor " dogma in your Blue States..

    • Comment Link MGC Friday, 18 October 2013 14:24 posted by MGC

      I think this is something of an unfortunate debate as each side ends up accusing the other of lacking virtue, rather than working together to address the challenges we have. I don't think either side is for promoting poverty, greed, corruption, laziness and irresponsibility. Unfortunately, this kind of debate focuses on fault and lack of virtue, rather than an honest assessment of our challenges and the values we actually share. Cards on the table--I'm in a blue state and happy about it. I will also say that as a married mother of two who very much values her family, I'm tired of hearing that I lack family values because I tend to vote democratic. I also don't want to include my friends who vote Republican ( I have a couple) of callous indifference to the poor. I believe that family values are broadly shared across the political spectrum. I think if we could start by acknowledging that both sides want strong families and strong communities, and both sides want to encourage hard work and access to economic opportunity and both sides want to encourage entrepreneurship, strong businesses and a vital economy, then maybe we could focus more on the ideas that will help us get there without insisting the party we're not affiliated with is riddled with moral failings. I did not actually get to see this debate, but I hope the debaters were able to move to a different level of discussion than is implied by the frame of the debate.

    • Comment Link Tim Friday, 18 October 2013 14:07 posted by Tim

      Whether you think the topic was valid, invalid, or just irrelevant, the format was very good. If only presidential debates worked like this, we would all benefit from the classic debate format.

    • Comment Link Don Friday, 18 October 2013 12:06 posted by Don

      Maybe we need both states with services and those that don't. I know families with autistic children that have moved to states with schools that have special programs for their children. Without those programs those children might require special assistance all of their lives. J.K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book while on welfare, now she's more than paid that back.
      Some people just want to be left alone, and i'm one of them. I'll migrate to a state that shares my values.
      At the end of the day i think it's more ROI than anything else.

    • Comment Link Stephan Cox Friday, 18 October 2013 12:06 posted by Stephan Cox

      Wow. There's a heavy burden of proof for the side in favor of this. You've got less access to healthcare, abortion, social services, and--this is unavoidable--populaces who are less educated and more intolerant of others who are different from them. Good luck.

    • Comment Link Tooraj Friday, 18 October 2013 10:19 posted by Tooraj

      This debate will be entertaining (like comparing national soccer teams which involves patriotic emotions mixed with some results and facts) but it will be an inaccurate topic. The reality is Blue and Red states cannot survive independently. They need to co-exist to exist. It is very important to highlight the inter-dependencies and supply chain connections such as the import/export flows of human capital, food, natural gas, technology, innovation, etc. between these states. Then I guess it would be a boring discussion and not a polarizing one since watching politics has become a sport for some of us: “Entertain us.”

    • Comment Link James Rossiter Friday, 11 October 2013 15:22 posted by James Rossiter

      "If you consider the nanny state preferable to individual striving and responsibility, which apparently the Gallup Hathaway poll definitions do, then you think living in blue states is better."

      If this is true, why do read states rely so heavily on the Federal Government? "Red States" like Texas and Georgia and Idaho all receive more support from the Federal Government then they pay in taxes. And "Blue States" Like California, New York and New Jersey pay more in taxes then they get back.

      So much for "individual striving and responsibility."

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