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For A Better Future, Live In A Red State

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  • Why Are People Moving to Red States?

    Clip: Michael Lind, New America Foundation co-founder and Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal weigh the pull factors that are causing people to move to red states.

  • Are Blue States Functionally Bankrupt?

    Clip: Radio Host Hugh Hewitt and New America Foundation co-founder Michael Lind debate the functionality and economic viability of blue states.

  • Education Trends in Red and Blue States

    Clip: Michael Lind, founder of the New America Foundation, Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal, and former Governor Gray Davis discuss differing views on statistical education trends in red and blue states.

Debate Details

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?

The Debaters

For the motion

Hugh Hewitt

Radio Host, 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... Read More

Stephen Moore

Senior Fellow, The Heritage Foundation & Fmr. Economic Advisor, Donald Trump

Stephen Moore is a prominent free-market economist and senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, where he works to advance public policies that increase... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • Red states outperform blue states in economic growth, attributable to low taxes and small government, according to a report from the American Legislative Exchange Council.
  • Out of the 5 states with the lowest unemployment rates, 4 are red—North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Utah—according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from mid-2013
  • When comparing the fraction of income donated to charity, the red states are more generous than their blue state neighbors. The biggest givers can be found in the "Bible Belt" south or in areas with large Mormon populations.
  • Blue states have been cutting pensions and benefits because they can no longer pay the bills incurred from years of big government policies.
  • The South and the Sunbelt are growing, while the North and Midwest are shrinking. (U.S. Census Bureau)
Against The Motion
  • The top states—measured by life evaluation, physical health, emotional health, healthy behavior, work environment and basic access—were mostly blue, while the lowest-ranked states were red. (The Gallup Healthway Well-Being Index)
  • States with the lowest poverty rates are blue, and the states with the highest poverty rates are red. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Tracking state policy efforts and outcomes, Education Week's Quality Counts report gave its top grades to blue states, and its worst grades to red states.
  • Blue states have more generous safety net programs for the unemployed and low-income families than red states.
  • Based on criteria that included air quality, water quality, recycling rates, and greenhouse gas emissions, Greenopia's Green State Guide found that the greenest states were also largely blue.

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The Research

The Research

Election Results

December 31, 1969

2012 presidential election results.

Blue States Are from Scandinavia, Red States Are from Guatemala: A Theory of a Divided Nation

Jonathan Cohn
October 5, 2012

Over the course of the last century, from the Progressive era through the New Deal and Great Society, the United States slowly but surely moved toward guaranteeing those things. Giving the red states the power to deviate from this course means giving them the right to undo that progress.

The Once and Future Liberalism

Walter Russell Mead
April 1, 2012

We need to get beyond the dysfunctional and outdated ideas of 20th-century liberalism.

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