Dallas, Texas Mayor Eric Johnson made a surprising announcement in September, switching his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican. Johnson was elected in 2019 and won re-election in 2023 as a Democrat.  

Mayor Johnson criticized far-left policies for causing high crime rates, homelessness, and wasteful spending. Before becoming a mayor, Johnson was a member of the Texas State House Representatives from 2010 to 2019. 

Johnson penned an op-ed in-Wall Street Journal and stated: “The future of America’s great urban centers depends on the willingness of the nation’s mayors to champion law and order and practice fiscal conservatism. Our cities desperately need the genuine commitment to these principles (as opposed to the inconsistent, poll-driven commitment of many Democrats) that has long been a defining characteristic of the GOP” … “In other words, American cities need Republicans—and Republicans need American cities.” 

Johnson added, “Too often, local tax dollars are spent on policies that exacerbate homelessness, coddle criminals and make it harder for ordinary people to make a living. And too many local Democrats insist on virtue signaling—proposing half-baked government programs that aim to solve every single societal ill—and on finding new ways to thumb their noses at Republicans at the state or federal level. Enough. This makes for good headlines, but not for safer, stronger, more vibrant cities.” 

Major cities were already seeing changes in population by 2019, when large counties saw more than 450,000 Americans move to different states. However, COVID more than doubled this number in 2021, when it was reported that counties had lost 1.2 million citizens. Additionally, another 860,000 citizens moved out of large counties and cities between July 2021 and July 2022. 

Below is data that represents changes in population among the top ten cities in the United States: 

Cities Population (2020) Pop. Loss (2021-2022) Percentage Change 
New York 8,800,000 -123,000 -1.40% 
LA 3,900,000 -16,000 -0.41% 
Chicago 2,740,000 -32,990 -1.20% 
Houston 2,300,000 11,223 -0.49% 
Phoenix 1,600,000 72,850 -4.55% 
Philadelphia 1,600,000 -22,000 -1.38% 
San Antonio 1,430,000 18,900 -1.32% 
San Diego 1,386,000 -11,000 -0.79% 
Dallas 1,300,000 -8,833 0.68% 
Austin 960,000 -12,600 -1.31% 

Mayor Johnson also advocated for lower taxes, “In the coming years, I will continue to pursue my three-pronged goal for Dallas: to become the safest major city in America with the best park system in Texas and the lowest taxes in our fast-growing North Texas region.” 

This news could mark a turning point where proven, right-of-center policies return to America’s large cities.