I have been meaning to write a piece with the (mildly) ironic title “Brentwood to Brentwood” for some time. The opportunity arose over the weekend when I attended a party for Nashville area refugees from California.
The party was given by Galen Walker and his wife Kathy at the Bold Patriot Brewery they originally opened in Norco, Calif. in 2012 and then relocated to Nashville in 2019, making it an appropriate venue for such an event.
The migration from California to Tennessee (and other red states) has been going for some time but seems to have picked up speed just before and during COVID. Sometimes it seems that everyone who can get out of California does.
Of course, that’s far from true and moving even across town for most people is an arduous task the majority are loathe to undertake.
Nevertheless, a significant number are moving from California to Tennessee and I like to call it “Brentwood to Brentwood” because both states feature a well-known community called Brentwood.
In the case of California, Brentwood is a very upscale part of Los Angeles that, in the nineties, became one of the best known neighborhoods in the country, even the world, as the then-residence of one Orenthal James Simpson who, after a sojourn in prison, now resides in Las Vegas after the Florida attorney general advised him to leave.
Brentwood, Tennessee is not quite as upscale, or as famous, but definitely a well-to-do suburb of Nashville and a sought after place to live for country music stars and executives of the area’s dominant healthcare industry.
Obviously, not everyone is lucky enough to go Brentwood to Brentwood, but the most interesting question is why they pick up and go at all.
Is it politics, taxes, a combination, or are they just sick of California?
What life has become in locales like Venice—the once desirable beachfront capital of hippiedom now infested with homeless tents and littered with used syringes—would argue for the latter, but, it’s safe to say, it’s complicated.
For one thing, Nashville itself is blue—though not blue in the California sense. Most liberals here are of the relatively sane sort, although, ominously, there is a growing “woke” contingent.
Some of us migrants were surprised and taken aback by this. I know I was.
Further, though the state of Tennessee itself is one of the reddest of the red, GOP politicians, particularly on that state level, tend to lag behind their constituents. (Florida is the reverse.)
I have been told these Republican state politicians, some of them anyway, are really just new clothes versions of the old Southern Democrats that once ruled Tennessee. That strikes me as excessive, but there is some validity.
On the positive side for genuine conservatives and libertarians, however, those same GOP constituents are beginning to fight back and make their views and feelings known. You have the sense that change is in the air and that the politicians will have to respond or be primaried out.
This is particularly true now that Critical Race Theory is rearing its ugly head throughout the educational system.
Some of the interstate migrants (funny to use that term, so reminiscent of John Steinbeck), many of whom came here for that educational system (cf. Williamson County), have been leading the way in attacking that theory in the schools that parades itself as “progressive” but is actually about as racist, in the true sense, as you could get.
These same migrants (interstate legal aliens?) may actually be becoming a significant force in the Tennessee GOP in general.
A couple of years ago, my friend University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds recommended on his site Instapundit that Tennessee residents should set up a welcome wagon for all those coming here, to remind them to leave their liberal politics behind. They were coming here for a reason.
I thought that was a good, and amusing, idea at the time. Now I’m not so sure it’s necessary.
Governor Ron DeSantis reports that the majority of those coming to his state of Florida are registering Republican.
That could well also be true of Tennessee (as well as a number of other red states that are growing).
And not all California migrants are coming from ultra-left Los Angeles or San Francisco. At the aforementioned California transplant party, the largest contingent was from, of all places, Redding, a NorCal city of less than a hundred thousand that subsists off its proximity to the 5 freeway.
At the same time, the left has their eyes set on turning red Tennessee purple, if not blue. Similar battles are going on across the country as populations shift.
These battles will be forming the USA of the future. I don’t want to be in any way cocky, but from the looks of things in Middle Tennessee, there is cause to be optimistic—in part due to those migrants.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on Parler as @rogerlsimon
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.