One of the interesting things about American federalism is that regional issues often gain outsized influence in Washington.
Corn ethanol is now an integral part of American energy policy thanks to the Iowa caucuses. The Cuban trade embargo had withstood nine presidential administrations due to voters in South Florida. Outsourcing is a flashpoint issue because the Rust Belt is a battleground.
Now that the Mountain West is a swing region, what issues will it bring to the table? Water use? Property rights?
In a must-read about the new politics of the West, New Yorker columnist Ryan Lizza predicts that the Democratic Party will identify more with the new West, catering to “resort communities” and “Mountain Megas” at the expense of the traditional FDR coalition.
“It would be more oriented to the haves than to the have-nots. It would rely more on educated voters. Its approach to social issues would be more matter-of-fact, and candidates would be less fearful of alienating the most reactionary evangelicals. It would be more oriented toward small businesses and thus more skeptical of workplace regulations. It might become a party that puts more emphasis on achieving energy independence and combatting global warming than on providing universal health care and social justice.”
Sounds like the party of Bill Ritter and Mark Warner to me (who, btw, are two successful governors of Red States that might go Blue this fall).
Is this Western pragmatism likely to have an effect on Washington? Or just the Democrats? Or no one?