Sunday, July 30, 2006

RE: Revisting America's Purple Mountains

The team here at Straight Talk Iowa Style has been analyzing Ryan Sager's recently published analysis of the changing electorate in the Western United States. Sager wrote an article entitled Revisting America's Purple Mountains in this month's edition of Atlantic Monthly. The whole story is not available online however, we have linked to Sanger's web page in which he recaps his premise:

While after the 2004 election, plenty of people took note of the fact that a shift of 60,000-odd votes in Ohio would have handed the Electoral College to John Kerry, less remarked upon was the fact that a shift of a similar magnitude in the Southwest would have done the same trick. Fewer than 70,000 votes among Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico -- with their collective 19 electoral votes -- would have swung the election just as surely as Ohio's 60,000. And with George W. Bush having won by margins of 5 percentage points, 3 points and 1 point, respectively, these were swing states by any definition of the term.

In fact, it's looking more and more likely that the eight states of the Southwest and the broader interior West -- Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming -- are on their way to becoming the next great swing region in American politics. As the Republican Party tilts on its South-West axis, increasingly favoring southern values (religion, morality, tradition) over western ones (freedom, independence, privacy), the Democrats have been presented with a tremendous opportunity. If the Republican Party doesn't want to lose its hold over all of the West, as it lost hold of once-reliable California more than a decade ago, its leaders are going to have to rethink their embrace of big-government, big-religion conservatism.

While the Team here does not fully endorse Sager's analysis, we conclude that the trends he points out bode well for Senator McCain in the 08 Presidential Election. Why?

John McCain is the guy who can bring that rugged individualism back to the national stage which Western voters desire. He's certainly no fan of activist government and the citizens of Western states can support that. And while freedom, independence and privacy are GOP positions of strength, voters will want to know that the GOP standard-bearer in 08 will hold true to those ideals. McCain can. Whether it's his record of military service or fighting against pork barrel spending he can do it.

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