The United States of Texas and California

California and Texas are American heavyweights

They’re the two most populous states, with GDPs that place their economies in the ranks of global superpowers

Their landscapes and their ideologies are etched deeply into the collective consciousness

Both lead the nation in renewable energy and high-speed rail

Their largest cities support—and hinder—equitable urban policy

They host international borders, and are known for their diverse residents

Seeing the two states in opposition misses the point:

What’s happening in Texas and California is really the story of what is happening in America


Bordertown, USA
Baghdad on the border

Urban Policy

Betting on the Nickel
Los Angeles vs. legal weed


A mighty wind
The giant of Santa Clara County


Bullet train to the future
When electric isn’t good enough


Published on October 24, 2018


Mercedes Kraus, Kelsey Keith, Sara Polsky, Mariam Aldhahi, Asad Syrkett, Dave Harmon


Diana Budds, Brandon Formby, Patrick Sisson, Amanda Chicago Lewis, Raj Mankad, Shaya Tayefe Mohajer, Jenn Swann, Irene Vazquez, Alissa Walker

Platform Development

Graham McAree

Art Direction

Audrey Levine, Alyssa Nassner


Patricia Chang, Cayce Clifford, Casey Dunn, Allison Hess, Ilana Panich-Linsman, John Francis Peters, Rozette Rago, Michael Stravato

Copy Editing

Emma Alpern, Julie Schwietert Collazo


Dawn Mobley, Emma Grillo


Karina Zatarain

Special Thanks

Jeff Andrews, Margaret Lin, Sharell Jeffrey, the Texas Tribune, Cindy Widner, Jenna Chandler, Brock Keeling, Robert Khederian, Nameer Albandar, Elena Bergeron, and all our newsletter-only interview subjects: Jean-Philippe Gaston, Dr. John Goodenough, Jill Marie Holslin, Conway Chen, John Jones, Sonja Trauss