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Western Strategy Gains Cred

Sasha Abramsky's "The Blue-ing of the West" in The Nation makes a compelling case for The Western Strategy as the Dem's best option for '08. The mid-terms improved the Dems' western prospects considerably, as Abramsky explains:

November's election results vindicated this strategy. Building on gains in 2004, Democrats picked up four Congressional and Senate seats in the interior West, bolstered by one the number of governorships they control in the region and increased their presence in statehouses...In 2000 all eight of the interior Western states had Republican governors; today, with Bill Ritter's recent win in Colorado--springing from Senator Ken Salazar's victory in the state in 2004--five of the eight are run by Democrats....Many strategists, who tout more than thirty Electoral College permutations that would allow a Democratic victory based primarily on inroads in the West, believe every Western state but Idaho, Utah and Wyoming could fall to a strong progressive-leaning presidential candidate in 2008.

Further, Abramsky notes:

Such states as Montana are now electing Democratic populists. Moreover, even before November's election, most of the big cities throughout the region, including Denver, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Boise and Missoula, were already run by Democratic mayors, or by mayors elected in nonpartisan races who openly identify with their state Democratic parties.

Abramsky details the Dems' considerable advantage on a host of key issues in western states. He discusses promising proposals to create a western regional primary and hold the '08 convention in Denver, promoting it as a "Rocky Mountain West Convention."

Abramsky makes a convincing argument that the west is the most fertile region for anchoring a well-rooted Democratic majority. But it will require a substantial investment. As DNC spokeswoman Stacie Paxton explains, "In Western states more people are coming our way, but we need to put in the resources to take it over the top and win in these states."