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Texas vs. California

A History of Their Struggle for the Future of America

Kenneth P. Miller

Publication Date - 12 August 2020

ISBN: 9780190077372

384 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock


Texas and California are the leaders of Red and Blue America. As the nation has polarized, its most populous and economically powerful states have taken charge of the opposing camps. These states now advance sharply contrasting political and policy agendas and view themselves as competitors for control of the nation's future. Kenneth P. Miller provides a detailed account of the rivalry's emergence, present state, and possible future. First, he explores why, despite their many similarities, the two states have become so deeply divided. As he shows, they experienced critical differences in their origins and in their later demographic, economic, cultural, and political development. Second, he describes how Texas and California have constructed opposing, comprehensive policy models--one conservative, the other progressive. Miller highlights the states' contrasting policies in five areas--tax, labor, energy and environment, poverty, and social issues--and also shows how Texas and California have led the red and blue state blocs in seeking to influence federal policy in these areas. The book concludes by assessing two models' strengths, vulnerabilities, and future prospects. The rivalry between the two states will likely continue for the foreseeable future, because California will surely stay blue and Texas will likely remain red. The challenge for the two states, and for the nation as a whole, is to view the competition in a positive light and turn it to productive ends. Exploring one of the primary rifts in American politics, Texas vs. California sheds light on virtually every aspect of the country's political system.


  • Presents the first balanced, scholarly analysis of competition between Texas and California
  • Draws from official government sources, , including the US Census Bureau, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and state agencies, as well as a trove of non-governmental, objective evidence
  • Translates the data into maps and graphs as well as a clear, compelling history of these two unique states

About the Author(s)

Kenneth P. Miller is Associate Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College and Associate Director of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. He is author of Direct Democracy and the Courts and co-editor of Parchment Barriers: Political Polarization and the Limits of Constitutional Order.


"An impressive tome" -- Mark Pulliam, Law & Liberty

"Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty and professionals. General readers." -- A. J. Dunar, University of Alabama in Huntsville

"An illuminating and highly informative account of why two Western states that share many similarities are so often at opposite ends of the cultural and political spectrum. A must read for any who are interested in the history and politics of the American West." -- Bruce E. Cain , The Spence and Cleone Eccles Family Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University

"An ambitious undertaking about two ambitious states, or 'sibling rivals'-- Texas vs. California is well-written, its thesis is expertly researched, and the result is a thought-provoking and engaging volume." -- Ann O'M. Bowman , Professor and Hazel Davis and Robert Kennedy Endowed Chair, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University

Table of Contents


    1 Sibling Rivals
    2 Origins
    3 People
    4 Economy
    5 Culture
    6 How Texas Turned Red
    7 How California Turned Blue

    8 Rival Models
    9 Taxes
    10 Labor
    11 Energy and Environment
    12 Poverty
    13 Social Issues

    14 State of the Rivalry