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Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico’

Democrats in Republican-dominated states such as Idaho or Utah are eternal optimists.  After every election trouncing, they still find things to raise their spirits.  Maybe they cheer the fact that they had a candidate in every single “important” race, or that they had repeat candidates who, even if they had lost multiple times, are getting name recognition and campaign experience.  Above everything, they find solace in those rare major victories around the region, dreaming of the day they can actually win the governorship or take over at least one of the legislative houses.

In the last couple of cycles, however, Western Democrats actually have reason for optimism, thanks in large part to a new breed of politician for their party’s regional standard-bearer.  These are politicals who are pro-civil unions, pro-gun, pro-environment, and pro-energy.  They support drilling for oil, but not at the expense of natural treasures.  They support gun ownership, but also realize that many people are actually scared of the deadly weapons and some places (churches and schools, especially) are not appropriate for packin’ heat.

The Western Democrat is also becoming a significant player in national politics, as evidenced by President Obama’s flirations with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for the VP slot and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s well-received speech to the Democratic National Convention.  For Democrats in those Western states, the national recognition will also mean that, more and more, they may actually have strength at the state levels.  At the very least, it means that the GOP will have to run moderates that may actually support some of the Western Democratic stances, especially on issues such as education funding or green energy initiatives.

Later this month, Democrats from around the region will gather in Denver to plot their next steps in making the mountain states two-party states. The gathering is hosted by Project New West and will feature speakers such as Robert Redford and Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.

Mark Barabak at Top of the Ticket (an amazing political blog run by the L.A. Times) has a post with more details on the gathering and a deeper look at the surge of the Western Democrat.

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