A post-Reagan political drift: Western US continues its tectonic shift from right to left
DENVER (AP) — A political generation ago, the West signaled the nation’s rightward swing — from the emergence of Ronald Reagan to the success of tax-limitation ballot measures in California and Colorado. But now the fabled expanse of jagged peaks, arid deserts and emerald coastlines is trending in a different direction.
From Washington state — where voters in November legalized marijuana and upheld the legality of gay marriage — to New Mexico, once a hotly contested swing state that Republicans ceded to Democrats in the presidential campaign, the West has become largely Democratic terrain.
There are, as always, exceptions. Lightly populated Idaho and Wyoming remain strongly Republican, as does Utah. And Democrats are struggling in Arizona, where a bruising immigration debate has given Republicans a lock on statewide offices but may provide Democrats an opening by firming up their support among the state’s growing Hispanic population. Still, the overall trend is clear, according to analysts on all sides of the political spectrum.
“It’s just a different world,” said Bill Carrick, a veteran Democratic strategist in Los Angeles who has worked widely in the region. “Nevada became the next California and now Arizona looks like it will become the next Nevada. ... It’s just pushing the West further and further from Republicans.”
The shift is due to a combination of factors: the fusion of the region’s libertarian spirit with both an influx of transplants from more liberal states seeking a better quality of life, and a growing immigrant population alienated by increasingly hardline Republican immigration proposals.
Newtown residents to join pastors, parents in march for gun control on National Mall in DC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Residents from Newtown, Conn., are joining a march on Washington for gun control on Saturday with parents, pastors, survivors of gun violence and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.