"Is the West the New South?"
Is the West the new South?
In the same way that Republicans rode to dominance in Southern politics four decades ago, Democrats are now carving out their own expanse of territory – in the nation's cactus-and-cowboy belt.
Oh geese, here we go. Just about every week since the election, and probably regularly from now on, a regional or national publication features an enterprise piece with the following elements:
1. Who are these Western Democrats?
2. They sure do seem to talk different.
3. Well, can the national party use them to fool the rest of the country into thinking they're good ol'down to earth types?
It isn't like each publication has learned something new, that Democrats are being elected in the West, and not just in pockets here and there, but in more and more numbers everywhere. This particular piece doesn't seem to answer the question its sets itself up with (is the West the new South?), but rather answers another question, "is the West the new West?"
The West is not the South, and never will be the South. Not culturally, politically or even demographically.
Until the West grows a lot larger, is probably won't be large enough to be compared to the electoral power of the South. Yes, an important swing region, but not the Solid South in any stretch of the imagination.
Politically speaking the West and the South had generally been able to fall under the same definition of conservative that was under the umbrella of the Republican Party. But, as the South has pushed for a more socially conservative party, the West has bucked:
Bonnie Ward, who lives in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, also in the 7th District, was a registered Republican until a few years ago. Now she's a Democrat.
She believes the GOP has lost touch with independent-minded Westerners by, in part, “cozying up with the religious right.”
Your Personal Note:
I agree with the analysis of this piece. The West will never be the South. Its demographics and culture are completly different. I also liked the contrast made in electoral vote power.
Posted by: Jason | Dec 18, 2006 5:51:05 AM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)