Hillary Clinton is being universally panned by Republicans and Democrats for her rant last week in India against Trump voters. She boasted, “I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product. So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.”
As evidence, she pointed to places like Illinois and Connecticut — where she won by sizable margins. Then she added that those who voted against her “didn’t like black people getting rights, and don’t like women getting jobs.”
Our guess is that Hillary Clinton’s words didn’t go over very well in Arkansas, the state that she once served as first lady. She lost Arkansas: Trump 60.6 percent, Clinton 33.7 percent. Her speech was offensive and filled with arrogance for sure (and a reprise of her 2016 description of Trump voters as “deplorables” and “irredeemables”), but what hasn’t been corrected for the record is that Mrs. Clinton had her facts wrong.
Hillary Clinton’s assessment of how the red Trump states are performing economically versus the blue Clinton states was backward. For at least the last two decades, most of the dynamism and growth — as measured by population movements, income growth and job creation — has been fleeing from the once-economically dominant blue states that Mrs. Clinton won, and relocating to the red states that Donald Trump won.
Here’s the evidence. Of the 12 blue states that Hillary Clinton won by the largest percentage margins — Hawaii, California, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Washington, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware — all but three of them lost residents through domestic migration (excluding immigration) over the last 10 years.
In fact combined, all 12 Hillary Clinton states lost an average of 6 percent of their populations to net out-migration over the past decade. California and New York alone lost 3 million people in the past 10 years.
Now let’s contrast the Hillary Clinton states with the 12 states that had the largest percentage margin vote for Donald Trump. Every one of them, save Wyoming, was a net population gainer — West Virginia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, South Dakota, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Nebraska and Kansas.
The move from blue to red states — almost 1,000 people every day — has been one of the greatest demographic stories in American history. If you go to states like Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Texas these days, all you see is out of blue state license plates.
Pretty much the same pattern holds true for jobs. The job gains in the red states carried by the widest margins by Mr. Trump had about twice the job creation rate as the bluest states carried by Mrs. Clinton.
Hillary Clinton mentioned GDP numbers. While it is true that the blue states of the two coasts and several of the Midwestern states are richer than the redder states of the South and mountain regions over recent decades, she failed to mention the giant transfer of wealth from Clinton to Trump states.
IRS tax return data confirm that from 2006-2016 Hillary Clinton’s states lost $113.6 billion in combined wealth, whereas Donald Trump’s states gained $116.0 billion.
The Hillary Clinton states are in a slow bleed. That is in no small part because the deep blue states that she carried have adopted the entire “progressive” playbook: High taxes rates. High welfare benefits. Heavy hand of regulation. Excessive minimum wages. War on fossil fuels. These states dutifully check all the progressive boxes.
And the U-Haul company can barely keep up with the demand for trucks and moving vans to get out of these worker paradises. A recent Gallup Poll asked Americans if they would want to move out of their current state of residency. Five states had more than 40 percent of its respondents answer yes: They were: Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Rhode Island and Maryland. Hillary Clinton country.
Even more unbelievable to us was Mrs. Clinton citing Connecticut and Illinois as dynamic places. There probably isn’t another state in America that can match these two for financial despair and incompetence. Things are so bad in Illinois after decades of left-wing rule in Springfield that Illinois residents are now fleeing on net to West Virginia and Kentucky to find a better future.
Connecticut has raised income and other taxes three times in the last four years and still has one of the most debilitating budget deficits in the nation. The pension systems are so many billions of dollars in the red, they are technically bankrupt.
Even when it comes to income inequality, the left’s favorite measure of progressive success, blue states carried by Mrs. Clinton fare worse than red states. According to a 2016 report by the Economic Policy institute, three of the states with the largest gaps between rich and poor are those progressive icons New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Sure, Boston, Manhattan and Silicon Valley are booming as the rich prosper. But outside these areas are deep pockets of poverty and wage stagnation.
The “progressive” tax and spend agenda has been put on trial. Not only do the policies lead to much slower growth, they also benefit the rich and politically well-connected at the expense of everyone else.
Getting these statistics right — about where the growth and dynamism is really happening in America — is important because if we want to be a prosperous nation, we need to learn what works and what doesn’t.
We need national economic policies that have been shown to work at the state level. Donald Trump wants to make America look like Florida and Tennessee. Hillary Clinton wanted to make America look more like Illinois and Connecticut. Maybe that’s the real reason why she lost.
• Stephen Moore is an editorial contributor to the Washington Times and a senior fellow with the Heritage Foundation. He is also an economic consultant with Freedom Works. Arthur Laffer is chairman of Laffer Associates.