Skeptics in Nevada... I don't know for sure
It's been fashionable of late (all the kids are doing it) for progressives to "look West" to save the Democratic Party. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has become the poster boy for believers in a Democratic resurgence via vast, mostly rectangularly shaped states that were carried by the Strong Leader in November. But there's also Ken Salazar, who picked up the Senate seat in Colorado. And in 2002, Democrat Dave Freudenthal won the governorship of Dick Cheney's very own Wyoming, despite Cheney appearing on behalf of the Republican candidate. Western Democrat rounds up and champions info on the West-as-savior movement, and is more or less dedicated to the proposition that Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada can settle a presidential election.
...winning Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, or even just New Mexico and Nevada, would have put Kerry over the top. But then, a win in either Florida or Ohio also would have ousted the Strong Leader. Conversely, if the Republicans had carried any two of Wisconsin, Minnesota or Michigan--all states that Kerry carried but where Rove thought Bush had a shot--Kerry would have lost, even with the four Western states in his pocket.
Which brings us to Hillary. Take your own trip to the electoral college calculator, and try to figure out which states Hillary can win that Kerry couldn't. Maybe its Florida, maybe its Ohio, maybe its both Florida and Ohio, in which case, whoop-ti-doo, Hillary gets to go home to the White House and wrestle with Delay's whackjobs in the House and a hostile Republican Senate that Reid looks uninterested in winning back.
Then, for kicks, try to figure out which states former congressman, energy secretary, United Nations ambassador and Hispanic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico might win that Kerry couldn't. Hmm, those four Western states look solid...Florida would be looking very, very good...Wait!...Wild optimism taking hold...can't resist...must suggest...Richardson might even be able to carry...no, never...yes, say it...Texas!
Your Personal Note:
Some valid points to consider:
The 2008 election is so far out that it is hard to predict if Hilary would win in a landslide, lose in the landslide, repeat the narrow losses of 2000 or 2004, or not run at all. Nevertheless, it is obvious that Hilary appeals strongly in the same blue states and not well in the red states. Likewise, Richardson should appeal in precisely those Western states mentioned, or he might fail for any number of reasons in a national campaign. He may lack sufficient charisma. He may fall victim to scandal. Or maybe not.
However, the Western strategy is bigger than just the Presidential election of 2008.
Republicans have fielded a number of presidential and vice presidential candidates from the West. Some have won, some have not. The Democrats, despite having a number of distinguished senators and governors from the West, have never fielded a candidate living west of the Central Time Zone. It is time to change that, not only for 2008 but for many future elections.
We are not only talking about winning or losing a campaign. We are talking about a party finding its soul. The West is more independent, libertarian, and easy going than the rest of the country. It is time to redefine the Democratic Party around Western values not only to win, but to stand for the sort of clean, reform-minded, and popular government that Western Democrats can provide.
Posted by: Leo Brown | Jul 6, 2005 7:30:58 AM
No, I ain't pokin' holes in it, just sort of pokin around at it. I am old enough to remember when there seemed to be a lot more Democrats from the West--Frank Church, Gail McGee, Teno Roncalio, and others including of course Mike Mansfield. And Western governors all over the place. And I've always contended that conservatism in the West was chiefly of the leave-me-the-hell-alone variety, as opposed to the get-behind-god-or-else variety. That alone makes the West fertile for the Dems, methinks.
Anyway, I managed to get a column published in the local daily on how Harry Reid is way, way too friendly with GOP. Sen. John Ensign, which might be of interest to you folks. It's linked at my site, along with some value-added information, today. Keep up the fine work.
Posted by: Hugh Jackson | Jul 6, 2005 12:46:37 PM
I'm a new visitor to your site, and live just outside the DC beltway in suburban Maryland. But like most Democrats, an outsider to my own party's inner circle. A frequent vacationer, when I can afford it, to New Mexico and Arizona. I write about, and worry about the future of the Democratic Party. I do have my own vision for the future of the Party: take one part Thomas Frank (What's the Matter with Kansas), one part Jim Wallis (God's Politics:Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the left doesn't Get it), one part Cass Sunstein's "The Second Bill of Rights" - in short, a more populist Democratic Party that will make a full employment, more egalitarian economy a moral issue with greater potential that the Republican Right's choice of moral issues. I'm very neutral about the new Virginians - Warner and Kaine, don't think Hiliary is a wise choice to lead the nation, and am very open minded about new voices from the West.
But we should have a Katrina test for Democratic contenders: how would your policy views have created the jobs, housing and environmental protections that the private sector, contractor obsessed Bush "policies" have failed so miserably with? Can a libertarian economic view handle the job on the Gulf coast, or the economic storms that some see just over the horizon?
Being able to reconnect with working class and middle class Americans from all regions is one part of politics: Gore and Kerry couldn't do it. But we also need to go beyond the global elite pleasing views of Larry Summers, Robert Rubin and the Clintons. In their eyes, the social and economic contract of the 1950's, "Eisenhower Republicanism" would be too "radical" for the current Democratic Party.
I'm listening and keeping an open mind...
Posted by: William Neil | Feb 20, 2006 8:13:33 AM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)