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View Diary: The libertarian Democrat, revisited (229 comments)

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  •  I have to disagree (4+ / 0-)

    with the premise that the Democratic surge in the West was due to an emphasis on libertarian values. That is not what happened, as far as I'm concerned. Democrats started doing well in Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Arizona, and Nevada in 2004-2006 because of:

    Demographic changes

    Changing mores about social values

    In-migration from residents of more liberal areas

    Environmental issues

    Reaction against the incompetence of the Bush administration

    Discussing each issue further, the Hispanic population grew tremendously in this part of the country during the 2000s. Ethnic diversity in general increased. Right-wing demagoging on social issues like gay marriage had less effect than it did in the 1990s. There has been a lot of in-migration from California and the coasts, especially in Las Vegas, Reno, Denver, Santa Fe, etc. People in the West have become more concerned about protecting the wilderness and keeping it clean. The most important thing for Democrats was just the general reaction against the incompetency of the Bush administration.

    In addition to the demographic and migration patterns that brought more Democratic voters into the region, people turned to Democrats because they seemed more competent, less ideological, better administrators, regulators of business, and protectors of the environment. Republicans seemed more like rigid ideologues, who were becoming increasingly seen as not only intolerant but incompetent as well.

    •  Just to finish my thought (1+ / 0-)
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      I think what happened in the West in the mid 2000s was actually a reaction against libertarianism. Voters there were starting to go against their native libertarian streak and starting to embrace more communitarian values like sensible regulation of business and protection of the environment. I hope that the trend continues and Democrats don't screw it up by being as incompetent and unable to get things done as the Republicans seemed to be.

      •  Not necessarily. (0+ / 0-)

        I tend to view individual rights and corporate rights separately.  It is easy for big business to infringe individual rights, which makes regulation of business something libertarians can get behind.  It just needs to be framed as protecting individual rights.  Even the staunchest libertarian is likely to agree with the statement, "Your right to swing your arms ends where my nose begins."

    •  Social issues would have the opposite effect (0+ / 0-)

      from what you stated in the West. The West tends to be libertarian, and therefore lesser emphasis on social issues would benefit the Republicans, at least based on my impressions of the region's political views.

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