A crisp assessment of fast-changing Texas’ recent past, present and future.
Texas may appear to be among the reddest of the red states, but according to journalist and native Texan Parker, trends that have accelerated in recent years indicate that it is not inevitable that it will remain red forever. After providing a readable if potted history of the various migrations that have defined Texas history, the author focuses on the most recent as the one that is likely to transform the state and, due to the population and economic import, the nation. “Based upon current trends, by 2050,” writes the author, “Texas will account for one-sixth of all the economic production in the United States.” This latest migration, by Parker’s reckoning the sixth to transform Texas, is radically transforming the state to its demographic core. A rural and suburban white population wary of foreigners and minorities dominates red Texas, but ongoing changes will result in a Hispanic majority that will turn Texas into a competitive “purple” state. Furthermore, Parker calls for Texans to take climate change more seriously, as the facts of drought (and the catastrophes that come with it) necessitate change lest vast swaths of the state become a water-starved desert. Despite identifying a number of concerns that can only be qualified as liberal in nature, his solution is not a leftist one; he calls for pragmatic centrism to emerge as the political solution. This mushy resolution is likely to satisfy few, but Parker writes clearly and is whip-smart in identifying problems, providing a worthy addition to the burgeoning literature on a state that will prove vital to the American future.
For Parker, as Texas goes, so will go America. It is up to readers to decide just how assured they are by this conclusion.