The West is the Best…

 The Weekly Standard, of all magazines, has spot lighted Montana’s Democratic Senate candidate Jon Tester in a generally positive article.  Contemplating why The Weekly Standard would give what can only be measured as a boost to their partisan and ideological foe, I can only say that as a political magazine they do report on electoral trends and comment on them.  And so we have the trend that was picked up on by Democrats in 2004 by Democrats shifting through their political wake for these things, and generally shoved aside and ignored by Republicans.  Witness Karl Rove’s triumphant quoting of a gloomy New Republic report on the trials and tribulations of a Democratic Party which, when all was said and done, had been edged in a presidential race and had suffered what will be the high point of the Republican “Solid South” in the Senate contests… trust me on that last one.

In presidential terms, the trend puts Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico and perhaps Montana into the Democratic candidate’s reach.  The outer edge of this trendline is seen when you look at the map of electoral contests in a “Deepest Red” zone that stretches from Wyoming and Montana on west-ward until you hit the Cascade Mountains in Washington.

 Five races.  The Senate race in Montana, which is more than likely going to go to the Democrat, your organic farmer from the middle of nowhere by the name of Jon Tester — who I presume will end up being lionized by rank and file Democrats just as handily as the current governor of Montana who is at the heart of this electoral shift in the first place.  And four other races that the professional prognosticators have bumped from either the “Safe Republican” or the “Republican Favored” category to the “Republican Favored” and “Leans Republican” category.  The Wyoming At Large House seat, the Idaho 1 House seat, Idaho’s governorship (though here I must note that there are a large number of red state Democratic governors and blue state Republican governors — they are safely away from those wacky ideolouges in the nation’s capital; nobody is going to bat an eye that Wyoming — the most Republican state in terms of the presidential ballot — has a Democratic governor and Massachusetts — with Rhode Island the most Democratic state — hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since Dukakis — though they will in 2006… Montana’s governor stars in the eyes of Democrats because he’s easily identified as a Democrat, unlike their current Democratic Senator who splits the difference), and Washington’s fifth congressional seat.

 Throw out that Idaho governor seat.  It’s status as a contest is noteworthy only because I half thought that the Libertarian Party had overtaken the Democratic Party as second party in that state.  Go to the races that effect Congress, and thus us all.  I’m not really one for moral victories, simply because my sense is that to have a decent chance of maintaining a House majority in two years, several districts, previously deemed unlikely places are going to have to elect Democrats.  So it is… Wyoming At Large, Idaho – 1, Washington – 5.  Carry one or two of these seats, Democratic Party.  Then the Democrats who squinted and thought they may have seen something in 2004 can be sure that they saw something concrete, and not just a speck of dust.

 Without having read these books — and there’s a decent chance I won’t, I suspect part of this “realignment” — or partial realignment as the case may be, is explored in The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians and the Battle to Control the Republican Party and Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South.  Or try this post and a comment made to a link in “erstwhere”: Thursday, May 5th, 2005:  I could do a rant like this one, and I’ve come close with statements such as “I have it on good authority that the residents in Red America swear more than their Blue Counterparts”.  Which is by way of saying that in the Republican governing coalition, there are fissures — regionally if you mix the Republican coalition as being Southern on one hand and Western on the other, the two regional cultures are colliding.

2 Responses to “The West is the Best…”

  1. Kari Chisholm Says:

    Great post. BTW, the Democratic candidate for governor in Idaho is currently ahead in the polls – so don’t write off Jerry Brady just yet.

  2. Justin Says:

    The Democratic candidate for governor in Idaho is currently ahead in the polls – so don’t write off Jerry Brady just yet.

    I wasn’t, and probably should have used a different phrase than “throw out the Idaho Governorship”. I was trying to say that red-state Democratic governors and blue-state Republican governors are a little more common than Congressional counterparts. No. Please. Vote for Jerry Brady, Idahons.

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