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Author Topic: The West  (Read 791 times)
morgieb
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« on: July 22, 2012, 02:25:59 am »
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How come the West moved so far to the right post New Deal?
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bgwah
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2012, 02:41:16 am »
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Environmentalism isn't terribly popular in parts of the West, and is often blamed for an area's poor economy (sometimes rightfully so, though often not). Also, they like guns.
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ottermax
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2012, 03:34:00 am »
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When was the West on the left? Parts of the West have been progressive for a long time, although those who dominate power have changed. Progressive changes like women's suffrage, recall elections, and other reforms originated in the West.

What has changed is migration.

The West was once much less populated. Nevada, Montana, and many other states were mostly rural or mining related populations. Miners tended to be unionized, thus quite left-wing. Other industries like shipbuilding on the coast also have been more unionized and leftist.

However, things changed after the New Deal and WWII I think.
California saw a population explosion and many lower income workers started populating the region. Also seen in other areas during WWII with military-industrial complexes.
Migration increased numbers of Evangelical Christians in the Mountain West, while the Mormon population has steadily grown over the past decades. Populism died out as certain issues became less important for winning elections like abortion.

I think the environment piece plays a little into it. But in general I think there is a larger concern in the West of government intrusion and taxation. One thing I realized is that in Eastern Washington, which is far more rural, a tax on gas or income has a larger impact because cost of living is lower. Since cost of living is lower, incomes are lower, and any consumption taxes also have a larger impact both because more is consumed, and prices don't drastically change for certain goods like gas. Many people in the West have to be self-reliant because of geography, and government makes that difficult even if it's necessary.

But I don't think the environment issues provides a full picture. Very few people are really affected by big gov. policies, since surprisingly the West is one of the most urbanized/suburbanized areas of the country. Very few Westerners live in rural areas, although the election map of counties would suggest many.

Real power in the West lies overwhelmingly in California, which has become much more left-wing in the past two decades. If you asked me, as a whole, the West has seen a leftward tilt since the 50s overall, although some smaller states like Wyoming and Utah remain fairly conservative and look unlikely to change. Nevertheless, states that seemed to fit this pattern of consistent conservatism only a decade ago like Colorado or Nevada seem almost reliably left-wing and Democratic in recent years. I would argue that this is the influence of California-based migration and increasing Hispanic immigration, which is completely altering popular notions of the West.
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Dumbo
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2012, 01:09:25 pm »
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The West is not so far right as it seems when looking at the presidential
election results. Dave Freudenthal (WY), Brian Schweizer (MT), Brad Henry (OK)-
all popular "not far right" governors of the Democratic party in the West in
recent years.
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cope1989
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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2012, 04:59:13 pm »
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So could you argue that there is an unspoken divide between east and west?

Where basically in the more populous regions across the eastern half of the country (north and south) big government programs are ok in the right context. While in the less populous, isolated areas of the western US it's all about small government and self reliance.
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Can't we all just get along?
They call me PR
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2012, 05:33:07 pm »
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The expansion of the military industrial complex/defense contractors, the development  of solidly white-collar middle class suburbs, combined with deep-rooted Western provincialism and hostility towards the "East" (which includes Wall Street and Washington, D.C.)  
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MooMooMoo
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2012, 09:49:05 pm »
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So, I guess the West is basically a pendulum like anywhere else. The unions came in after the
"West was Won" and then secular nationalists from the Military came in the 40s and 50s and then the Environmentalists maligned the west in the 60s. From there, the Evangelicals settled in from the South in the 70s and 80s and only since then have things moved the other direction as minorities and the educated have been trying to yuppify the place since the 90s. When populations start off low and migration is high, there tends to be a lot of swings. I think that eventually the West will probably look like the patchwork of the Great Lakes where liberal Illinois is right next to consersative Indiana which is right next to ever so slightly conservative Ohio which is right next to ever so slightly liberal Pennsylvania.
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the result is a sense that we were told to attend a lavish dinner party that was going to be wonderful and by the time we got there, all the lobster and steak had been eaten, a fight had broken out, the police had been called and all that was left was warm beer and chips.
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shua
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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2012, 02:31:49 pm »
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secular nationalists from the Military came in the 40s and 50s
?
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#Ready4Nixon
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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2012, 04:34:05 pm »
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secular nationalists from the Military came in the 40s and 50s
?

I believe he's talking about middle class Conservative-ish hawks who made their bones (and their money) on the military-industrial complex that came with the escalation of the Cold War. The South-West benefitted greatly from this.
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