The Continued Rise of the Southwest
America’s population is making a diagonal shift from the Northeast to the Southwest. Five of the nation’s largest cities are in the Southwest: Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, and San Jose. Phoenix is now that nation’s fifth largest city, displacing Philadelphia, now at number six. Mesa and Fresno are now bigger than Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Seven of the ten largest American cities lie within 500 miles of the Mexican border. In 1910, in contrast, the ten largest American cities were all within 500 miles of the Canadian border.
What this means to the Democratic Party is that the Northeast and Midwest aren’t a sufficient base by themselves for the future of the party. With the GOP dominating the once solidly Democratic South, Democrats must look Southwest for growth and electoral majorities. Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico have a combined 29 votes in the Electoral College and a corresponding number of seats in the Senate and House of Representatives. Moreover, the 2010 Census will undoubtedly raise that number beyond the current 29. Meanwhile, neighboring blue California’s population will continue to grow, reaching perhaps 60 million by 2050 with a Hispanic majority possible by 2042.
Newsweek is already predicting that the 2008 Presidential race will be decided in the Southwest. Their analysis:
The rise of the Swing-State Southwest (and the power of the Latino voters in it) is a function of timing, geography, demographics—and the Electoral College....The Southwest's ascendancy is linked to one key demographic: its vast, rapidly growing—but still politically unsettled—Hispanic vote….Generally speaking, [Hispanics are] culturally traditional, religiously devout and open to conservative appeals from the GOP. Economic populists, all too familiar with the trials of race-based discrimination, they feel an emotional bond with Democrats, too….In 2006 the Hispanic vote that went to the GOP dropped precipitously, to 30 percent. The war in Iraq was one reason, analysts say, but the main one was the war over immigration.
Given the mean-spiritedness of the recent immigration debate, the trend away from the GOP is likely to continue and even accelerate, strengthening the future Democratic base in the Southwest.
Leo Brown | July 11, 2007 | Comment on This Post (3 so far)
Your Personal Note:
and Tucson is bigger than Mesa.
Posted by: DRP | Jul 11, 2007 9:00:42 PM
Sorry I'm late to the discussion...
Given the statistics you display, wouldn't it be a positive move for the Dem presidential candidate to choose Bill Richardson for VP? It isn't looking good, right this second, for him to win the nomination. But if he did, I would have no problem voting him into the White House, as opposed to a certain candidate who is very cozy with lobbyists and hasn't the wisdom to be ashamed of it. I'll have to hold my nose in order to vote for her...
Posted by: Naomi | Aug 5, 2007 4:46:49 PM
Yes, I think it would be smart to put Bill Richardson (D-NM) somewhere on the ticket. If we want a woman on the ticket, Governor Napolitano (D-AZ)would definitely help in Arizona.
Posted by: Leo Brown | Aug 5, 2007 8:43:20 PM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)