Awhile ago, this was mentioned here. (I'm extending off the good idea..thanks Leo!) Summary?
That presidential tickets are often either one of two combinations - balance or reinforcement. Kerry picked Edwards to balance him out, both regionally and personally. Clinton chose Gore to reinforce him, both regionally and issue-wise.
There is only one serious Western Democrat in the race for president and that is Bill Richardson. Now, I'm going to admit I'm a big fan of his but that isn't my point. It is that in 2008 we could have potential to deliver a knock-out blow to the entire Western GOP and paint the way truly for progressive western dominance allied with the traditional Democratic bloc (coasts and upper midwest).
The key is reinforcement. Instead of picking a easterner to balance him (if he was the nominee for that matter, IF) Bill Richardson should take Leo's advice and pick Janet Napolitano, the governor of Arizona.
You may say never! But look at this great poll that Kos pointed out today:
A new statewide survey shows that if the Senate election were held today, the Republican incumbent would be defeated by Gov. Janet Napolitano – that is, if Napolitano would choose to run for the seat. The Democrat governor cannot seek a third term.
Not surprisingly, the poll by the Behavior Research Center shows Napolitano the favorite of 78 percent of Democrats, versus 11 percent for McCain. But the governor also would pick up 20 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of independents who make up nearly 28 percent of Arizona’s registered voters.
If they went head to head, Napolitano would get 47 percent of the vote, compared to 36 percent for McCain, according to the poll.
Now, that head to head match up result is pretty damn astounding.
Think about it again. A Richardson/Napolitano ticket (even against McCain possibly) would take both New Mexico AND Arizona. That's not where it ends, either.
Napolitano is considered to be a very successful Governor, in fact she enjoy sky high approval ratings. So does Richardson here in New Mexico. That combination of two extremely popular red state (!) Democratic governors could have crossover appeal like nothing else.
Also - the Hispanic/Woman factor would provide an immense amount of change additive to the ticket itself. Contrast that against the possible GOP combinations shows a pretty clear sense of America.
Western electorate - that's putting all the Western swing states on the map (including possibly Montana and Wyoming) and maybe making Texas competitive.
If we really try and imagine a new electoral future for the Democratic Party we could do it with one swift blow.
Now, there is the ultimate Western Democratic ticket.
Landon Mascareñaz | August 22, 2007 | Comment on This Post (2 so far)
This is an interesting video from Peter Leyden of the New Politics Institute. While I cringed every time he said "becoming more like California," at least in migration numbers he has a point.
This hasn't been something we've talked about, but the more migration into urban areas of the West, the better chances Democrats have there, to put it frankly. Between 2000 and 2004, a period when Democrats won more than a few elections in the West, California lost nearly half a million people, most of those going to other places in th West.
Barack Obama made his official announcement for the presidency today in Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield, Illinois. (Text here). Many in the crowd must have thought of Lincoln, but also of Martin Luther King and the youthful John F. Kennedy. I remember seeing JFK in a motorcade in Illinois in the campaign of 1960. That was a year before Barack was born.
Another Chicagoan’s words come to mind when thinking about the meteoric rise of Barack Obama, the words of Daniel Burnham, the famous architect:
Make no small plans. They have no magic to stir humanity’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical plan once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and daughters are going to do things that will stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon, beauty. Think big.
Barack is not making small plans, and he has the magic.
And how will Barack play out in the West? Barack Obama does not fit the stereotype of an Easterner, an elitist, or a member of the establishment; whatever you may conceive those things to be. He doesn’t fit any stereotypes at all. But if I had to describe his style, the words that come to mind are from the poet Genevieve Taggard: natural, American, sweet and easy.
Above all, Barack is a candidate who can transcend boundaries. He can transcend race and party and region. He is not running as a man of color, or as a liberal Democrat, or as a blue-state Senator from the Midwest. He is running as a candidate for Americans of all races, parties, and regions. And that will appeal to a lot of Western Democrats.
And, as I've argued in many of my earlier articles, since the South is now such hostile territory for national Democratic candidates, the interior west, the huge swathe of land between the Rockies and the Pacific states, has become extremely important in Electoral College calculations.Even in the United Kingdom, where they can't vote for President of the United States or legally donate money to our campaigns, they understand that the West is where the presidential prospects of Democrats lie. If the British can see it, certainly the American people can.
In the west, going Democratic in 2008 will require some fancy footwork on hot-button issues that coastal progressives have long-held positions on. In particular, national Democratic candidates need to neutralize opposition from the gun lobby in the region. This is a landscape of hunters. It is a place where people sometimes live in hamlets and on farms 100 miles or more from the nearest police station and believe strongly in carrying weapons for self protection.
And that's why Richardson's candidacy just might gain some momentum. He has, over the years, gained the trust of the western gun-lobby, and that's allowed him to win high office and introduce an array of other progressive policies in his state. Moreover, he's an extremely smart, charismatic politician, who brings to the campaign not only the experience gained from two terms as state governor but credentials on the national and international stage - he was Energy Secretary under Bill Clinton, served as the United States' ambassador to the United Nations, and shuttled back and forth to Pyongyang as special envoy to North Korea.
Al Eisele writes in the Huffington Post:
With Republicans trying to gain a foothold in the Democratic stronghold of Minnesota, Democrats are crazy if they don't try to break out of their East Coast-Midwest-Southern mindset by making inroads in the West. After all, Colorado just elected a Democratic governor, and there are eight other Democratic governors from Kansas to Oregon, including a likely presidential candidate, New Mexico's Bill Richardson. And the new Speaker of the House is from California and the new Senate majority leader is from Nevada.
Sure, Democrats held their 1984 convention in San Francisco and their 2000 convention in Los Angeles, but look where it got them -- Fritz Mondale, who lost every state but his own, and Al Gore, who couldn't even carry his own home state. In fact, Democrats haven't won with a candidate who was nominated in a city west of the Mississippi since they picked John F. Kennedy in Los Angeles in 1960.
As the brothers Salazar of Colorado, Sen. Ken and Rep. John, argue, energy sources are key to many of America's most pressing problems, including freeing us from the stranglehold of Middle Eastern oil imports. Colorado, with its vast oil shale deposits, and the West with its limitless coal deposits and other alternative energy sources, is a good place to position the party for the future.
So let's hear it for Denver. It may be a cow town, but if Democrats want to make the west a battleground in 2008, they better be ready to ride in the rodeo.
This is the nut of the issue, geography matters. Are we the party from New York or the party from the West? That's what people who are fighting for a Denver convention are saying, that we've been too long a party of the Northeast.
According to the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Utah, Montana is expected to consider moving their primary election from June 3 to February 5 - joining Western states Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah (plus Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, and North Carolina). Prior to February 5, elections will be held in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
From the CPPA newsletter:
It is very likely that Montana’s legislature will introduce a Western States Primary Election bill when its session begins on January 3. Legislation could move Montana’s presidential primary election from June to February for the 2008 election – and in line with primaries in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. Although a 2005 bill died in the Montana Senate, legislation this year appears to have stronger bipartisan support, including that of Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer and Republican Secretary of State Brad Johnson.
A full Democratic primary calendar is available at Wikipedia.
Arizona grew by 3.6 percent last year and Nevada grew by 3.5 percent. And the West outstripped every other region in growth, including the South which had half of the top ten largest gainers, but also the largest loser, Louisiana.
The Baltimore Sun also notes the topsy-turvy nature of Arizona politics that is beginning to favor Democrats:
Long a Republican stronghold, Arizona now has a moderate Democrat as its governor. Democrats picked up two congressional seats in last month's midterm election, and voters rejected a ballot initiative banning gay marriage.
Arizonans are used to a certain amount of political turmoil caused by the constant influx of new residents, said Marshall Vest, an economist at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
"Whenever you have a vote on any particular issue, you never know what it's going to be," because a large chunk of the electorate has just arrived, he said.
Emmett O'Connell | December 22, 2006 | Comment on This Post (1 so far)
More on why the South is not where we need to go. Rather, lets keep on heading West.
Corey Crowley-Hall points out in fine fashion why we need to continue forgetting about the South when we talk about how we stop being an opposition party, and focus on the West. Even more so, turns out that the last Southern governor we elected President didn't really even need the South for his wins:
...he would have won the election whether he won in the South or not. Arkansas, Louisianna, Kentucky, and Tennessee (and Georgia in 1992 but not in 1996) were bonus States for Clinton, they had no effect on the election. Clinton won 370 and 379 electoral votes, in 1992 Clinton won 47 electoral votes from the South. Subtract 47 from 370 and Clinton still would have won 323 and won the White House with a solid margin. Same holds true for 1996 when Clinton won 34 electoral votes from the South in a 379 EV win, subtract the south and Clinton would have won with 345 electoral votes. The South made no difference to Clinton. He won not because he could win in the South but because he had appeal elsewhere. In both elections Clinton won a couple of southern States on the back of Ross Perot swiping votes away from Bush and Dole respectively. So its clear that a) Clinton wasn't as effective in the South as his reputation and b) that Clinton didnt need the South in order to win.Its a great run down of all the reasons why the West is better, so read it all here.
This is wonderful:
The New West Project, headquartered in Denver, will conduct research and develop strategies to secure and exploit recent Democratic gains in the Western states, party sources said.
At least four Western governors - Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Brian Schweitzer of Montana and Bill Ritter, Colorado's governor-elect - are expected to lead the group's advisory council, the sources said. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado and other members of Congress will provide "strategic guidance."
Reid confirmed the creation of the new organization, which he said would "build upon the leadership of people such as governors Napolitano, Richardson and Schweitzer" and "work to focus attention on the West."
This is a high level group. Consider the Western Strategy in play, my friends. It is wonderful to see this sort of institutional arrangement that will only benefit our local, state and national candidates long term. It looks like part think tank, part strategy firm, part communications development - all aspects that will be welcome by the plethora of candidates that will be running these next few cycles to take advantage of our our new promise out here in the west.
The best part of the article? The quote from an unnamed "Western Democrat":
As an example of what the new organization may do, the Western Democrat said that political professionals would analyze such questions as "the difference between first- and second-generation Hispanic voters, ... what motivates them and how we communicate with them," as well as "why a recent transplant from California, who has voted Republican all her life, is now voting for Democrats."
Good question, "Western Democrat" - it just leaves me amazed to see our namesake invoked so strikingly in an article. Methinks the author of the article, John Aloysius Farrell , might just be an reader of our humble site. If so, thanks for the article John - we'll be watching for you in the future.
It's great to have a new project designed for this express purpose and examining the multitude of new questions that are arising from the new political climate in the West. Now, if any of those people involved in the project are paying attention it would behoove them greatly to include netroots and blog outreach as an element of the project. You see, since major political focus has been absent from the West for awhile the netroots and blogosphere have been proliferating and recruiting top candidates all over the place. It would be an essential element of any plan that you should put together.
Here's the The New West Project!
Landon Mascareñaz | December 6, 2006 | Comment on This Post (0 so far)
How is about this for a useless argument for why New York has an advantage over Denver for the convention:
New York, they say, has advantages in fund-raising, experience in running national conventions and a track record of success for the Democrats. The last two Democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992, both strode onto the big stage in New York. Denver last held a convention in 1908, and the nominee, William Jennings Bryan, a Democrat, was trounced by William Howard Taft.
Yeah, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton won the White House because of the convention's location in New York. I can just imagine a voter now: "Well, I like that Gerald Ford fellow, but that was a damn fine New York Convention..." Or perhaps in 1908: "I like everything about WJB, I've voted for him the last two times he ran but now with that Denver convention I'm not too sure..."
But this is where the article gets good:
But party members across the country say that there is no doubt that Denver has hit on a potent combination of economic development goals and political ambition. A convention with 30,000 eating, drinking, hotel-room-using Democratic partiers and journalists would inject perhaps $160 million into the local economy, organizers say, and at the same time crown the city as an unquestioned capital of the interior West — and the two goals are in sync.
“A convention can provide a stage to introduce the nominee in a way that gets the country’s attention and tells a story,” said Debbie Willhite, a longtime Democratic strategist who came here earlier this year to run Denver’s bid as executive director. “And the networks can’t come in here without showing the broad plains and Rocky Mountains — that’s a very big stage.”
Sing it true, Debbie. I'm just even excited for the possibility. Denver is a city on the rise and is already the capital of the interior west and the front-line on the blue trending occurring all around our region.
Howard Dean, since you're making the call I have faith and I believe you understand the stakes: Either you take us back to where we've been before and the old stereotypes about Democrats or we forge a bright, western and mile-high path to our future as a party.