Which Swing State Should You Move To?

Published On 11/07/2016 Published On 11/07/2016
Swing States
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Every four years America throws itself a big ole democracy party and elects itself a president. And every four years substantial swaths of the country feel left out because they’re not in an all-important swing state, meaning they could cast a ballot for Gary Johnson or Ron Paul or Ed Begley Jr. and not really have it matter all that much.

No matter your political persuasion, all Americans enjoy being important and getting attention. It may be too late for you to move to these serious swing states to weigh in on Clinton vs. Trump, but what if you want to relocate so you're not left with this same empty feeling in 2020? Use this handy and 100% accurate ranking of swing states, that's what! To be clear, this ranking is based primarily on how much you'd enjoy living in these places, not how likely they are to be the key state that tips an election -- after all, those happen just once every four years and then what are you left with? 

To the ranking!

17. Florida

Florida is kind of THE swing state. Remember 2000? I sort of do. Something about a guy named Chad. Anyway, Florida may be a top destination when it comes to election influence, but do you really want to live there, what with the rising oceans and legions of elderly drivers and python infestations and all the stuff this guy does? Beaches notwithstanding… no, you do not.

16. Ohio

Midwest Florida. Sorry, Cleveland.

15. Arizona

Desert Florida.

14. Utah

Mormon Florida? OK, maybe that doesn't really work. Actually, Utah's kind of an interloper on the swing-state scene this year because of its supposed distaste for Donald Trump and the presence of native son Evan McMullin. So… probably not your best bet if you're looking to influence things in 2020. Not that you were really hoping to move here anyway. Unless you really like Jell-O.

13. Nevada

Your mileage on Nevada will vary tremendously depending on how much you like legalized prostitution, constant gambling, and steady access to budget-friendly all-you-can-eat buffets. It's worth noting, however, that living in Nevada means sharing a state with many people likely drawn to at least one, if not all three of the above attractions.

12. Georgia

Georgia hasn't quite gone full-on swing state yet, but it's definitely flirted with the idea during the last two elections. It could be ready to join the party! Plus, have you watched Atlanta yet? You should! Georgia is having a moment, man. Just beware the roving packs of rabid animals and occasional crippling ice storm.

11. Virginia

Many have imitated the iconic "Virginia Is for Lovers" tourism slogan, but if you need any doubt as to where it truly belongs, just take a look at these smoldering photos of a young Tim Kaine.  Those eyes! Where were we? Oh yes, Virginia! It's not a half-bad place to be, what with the halo effect from DC's ascendant restaurant scene happening in the north and the resplendent beauty of the Shenandoah Valley and all those aforementioned lovers. But you can also do better. 

10. Iowa

Do you ever get the sense that Iowa stubbornly tries to maintain its swing-state status just so people keep paying attention to it after the caucuses? Just me? Well regardless, Iowa's more worthy of your attention than you might think. Sure, the jokes about corn and general emptiness aren't entirely without merit, but Iowa City's a sneaky-fantastic place to party, massive pork tenderloin sandwiches are a sneaky-fantastic way to stop your heart, and Toppling Goliath is an increasingly less sneaky but nonetheless fantastic maker of fine beers to keep you occupied during all those times you're not the center of the political universe.

9. New Hampshire

The Iowa of New England! Similarly overlooked. Similarly fond of NASCAR. Similarly good at leveraging its primary status into outsized political attention. Better skiing, though.

8. New Mexico

Rabid devotion to green chile and the ongoing cred that comes from an association with Breaking Bad aren't the only things that tip the scales towards New Mexico in this battle of similarly sized, somewhat boxy Southwest states expanded via the Gadsden Purchase. But they don't hurt! You know what else doesn't hurt? Not having Scottsdale. You know what else helps? Not having dudes who take business trips to Scottsdale.

7. North Carolina

Obama narrowly won North Carolina in 2008. Romney narrowly won it in 2012. Possible wizard Nate Silver has it running oh-so-close to even as of this writing. That's some good swing-state work for North Carolina, which had such a long red state run that people used to not pay too much attention. Now it's kinda like Florida but with vastly better barbecue and fewer face-eating incidents. 

6. Pennsylvania

Careful Pennsylvania, you've started tilting a little too blue in recent elections. People might stop paying attention to you. Will the lack of attention cause you to let yourself go? Actually, who are we kidding, you already down cheesesteaks by the dozen and chase them with pretzels before heading west to consume French fry-filled sandwiches and eat pierogies like popcorn. You don't give a shit! And all that not giving a shit is part of your charm. Also Pittsburgh and Philly are both kind of underrated in their own unique ways, at least until you find yourself in a conversation with a Steelers and/or Eagles fan.

5. Colorado

Also in possible danger of losing its swing-state status as things trend steadily more blue -- and given the demographics most likely to be drawn to its enlightened marijuana policies, the trend lines may not be reversing anytime soon. But hell, if you move there you'll be way too busy skiing, hiking, and making sure the candy you're eating is only cannabis-enhanced when you mean for it to be to find yourself too consumed with electoral politics, anyway.

4. Minnesota

Who doesn't love lakes? Who doesn't love burgers with a molten cheese core? Who doesn't love an almost unsettling, seemingly forced niceness. Prince may be gone, but Minnesota's still there for you, bundled up in the middle of the country, mostly just trying to stay warm but also fully ready to surprise you, like Prince might have with a wicked crossover and a delicious batch of pancakes. 

3. Wisconsin

People in Wisconsin hate the idea of being too far away from a bar, which is why they are everywhere. Milwaukee appears to be in the process of outfitting every single public park in the city with a beer garden, as if there wasn't already a tavern on every street corner -- not that it's a problem! And even when the weather is no longer conducive to outdoor drinking, you'll find yourself hunkered down in some bar plowing through brandy Old Fashioneds and cheese curds and you'll be so happy you won't even care too much who the president is. Well, you might, but you'll care more about the next order of cheese curds.

2. Maine

You know you've always wanted to live in one of those states that weirdly divides its electoral votes so that like, one little corner of the state can vote differently than the rest. You also know you've never wanted to live in Nebraska. So, Maine! You get to be first in line for the country's finest lobster, which means you get to eat the country's finest lobster rolls. You get to experience Portland (no, not that one). You get to have a kindly neighbor who makes you homemade blueberry jam every year. (Seriously, every Mainer gets an annual neighborly blueberry jam allotment, look it up!) Yes, you also have to deal with rich assholes on summer vacation and a tragically short window for said summer vacation, but your belly will be too full of lobster meat and blueberries to care.

1. Michigan

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who listen to everything Tim Allen says, and those who don't. Which kind do you want to be? Wait, don't answer that! Instead, consider moving to Michigan. Everyone's been saying for years Detroit's gonna get better, and it seems like it's actually starting to legitimately materialize! But it'd also be a disservice to ignore the rest of the state. Western Michigan's a damn paradise of idyllic lake towns, breweries, distilleries, wineries, cherries, and probably other stuff that ends in "ies" and makes for good eating and/or drinking. The Upper Peninsula is full of natural beauty and meat pies. It's like having a laid-back bonus state on top of your already existing state. Sure, it's trended bluer in recent elections, so it may not be the best spot for, like, swinging the election, but let's be honest, the mathematical odds of that are astronomical! You want the parties to pay attention to you, sure, but what you want MORE is the opportunity to drink a bunch of Founders on a pontoon boat at your friend's lake house. You want Michigan.

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Executive Editor Matt Lynch does not live in a swing state, and also does not swing dance. Tell him where he should move @MLynchChi.



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