Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Southwest Shifts Blue in Presidential Politics

The southwest states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico have had long periods where Democrats and Republicans have traded off winning the presidential race and senior state level offices, but in the new century Democrats have been winning the presidential contest and most of the other major state races.

In 2000 Republicans won three of four southwest state electoral votes only losing New Mexico to Al Gore by 366 votes. But in 2020 they won none. Also, Republicans controlled four of the governorships in 2000 and 7 of the 8 senators. Today, they have one governor, Nevada, and no representation in the eight senate seats. (See chart below.)

Democratic and Republican Parties in 2000 and 2022 in Southwest

Colorado is the prime example of how rapid and sweeping the change has been from George W. Bush’s two presidential wins at the beginning of the century to Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden’s defeat of Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 respectively.

While Colorado may be unusual in how thoroughly the Republican Party has collapsed, it should be a cautionary tale of what can happen to a party that is captured by its most extreme elements and fails to adapt to a changing political environment.

See stories on Colorado transformation:

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