Saturday, January 26, 2013

West Continues to Drift into Democrats' Column

While the GOP continues to try to gerrymander districts and subvert the Electoral College to insure future electoral wins rather than face the fact that its policies favoring the wealthy, white supremacists and religious fanatics, not its "messaging" are the root of its problems, more and more formerly dependable states in the West are slipping from its column.  As noted before, one can only hope that the GOP is committing a slow suicide since I do not see how it can free its county and city committees from the grasp of the Christofacists and Tea Party lunatics who have taken them over.   These people are a form of political cancer that has metastasized and the only cure may be the death of the GOP.  A piece in the Virginian Pilot looks at the growing strength of the Democrats.  Here are some excerpts:
A political generation ago, the West signaled the nation's rightward swing - from the emergence of Ronald Reagan to the success of tax-limitation ballot measures in California and Colorado. But now the fabled expanse of jagged peaks, arid deserts and emerald coastlines is trending in a different direction.

From Washington state - where voters in November legalized marijuana and upheld the legality of gay marriage - to New Mexico, once a hotly contested swing state that Republicans ceded to Democrats in the presidential campaign, the West has become largely Democratic terrain.  There are, as always, exceptions. Lightly populated Idaho and Wyoming remain strongly Republican, as does Utah. 

"It's just a different world," said Bill Carrick, a veteran Democratic strategist in Los Angeles who has worked widely in the region. "Nevada became the next California and now Arizona looks like it will become the next Nevada. ... It's just pushing the West further and further from Republicans."

The shift is due to a combination of factors: the fusion of the region's libertarian spirit with both an influx of transplants from more liberal states seeking a better quality of life, and a growing immigrant population alienated by increasingly hardline Republican immigration proposals.

There are prominent Republicans who demonstrate that the party can still win the region. Brian Sandoval in Nevada and Susana Martinez in New Mexico are popular Republican governors, but their relatively moderate stances often put them at odds with the national party. Both, for example, just agreed to the Medicaid expansion under President Barack Obama's health care plan, something that is anathema to many conservative Republicans.

In 2002, Ruy Teixeira, a Washington, D.C.-based Democratic strategist, co-wrote "The Emerging Democratic Majority," which predicted that demographic and social trends would turn parts of the country that were deep red, like the interior Mountain West, into Democratic-leaning states.  .  .  .  . 
he argued in an interview that what's happened to the West is not very different from what's taking place across the country. Surveys for his book last year found it only slightly more libertarian on social issues and holding similar views toward government and taxation as other parts of the country. That, he said, is bad news for Republicans - their problem is national, not regional.

"It's not like there's something in the water in state X that's making them harder for Republicans," Teixeira said. "It's just the same series of changes that are working themselves out in all states."  "Look at the migration patterns," said Sig Rogich, a Republican consultant in Las Vegas who worked on Reagan's presidential campaigns. "You're seeing the aftermath of a new generation of young men and women whose parents moved westward."

As I said, I don't see how the GOP can readily change given that its grassroots committees and organizations have been taken over by the inmates of the asylum - individuals who live in some bizarre alternate universe driven by greed, racism and religious extremism.  The GOP leadership is reaping what it cynically sowed.   I for one have no sympathy for them whatsoever.

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