The American West is a region unique in the United States, not only for its natural landscapes and climate, but also its dynamic economy, rich culture and history, and regional identity. Each of these characteristics creates distinctive interests and issues that impact public policy in the West. Consistently, though, the West has been largely ignored by presidential candidates who remain uninterested in the few electoral votes to be won in the region. The 2008 presidential election, however, demonstrated that such an attitude towards western states appears to be shifting, as are the dynamics of the presidential primary system as a whole. As western populations have increased, so too has the political clout of the region.
The Rise of the West in Presidential Elections explores the changing role of the region in national elections. The prominence of Nevada as an early caucus state and Denver acting as the host city of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, as well as increased candidate visitation and media expenditure, point to the rising importance of the region, an importance that political candidates will increasingly need to recognize. The book examines the political advantages and barriers to the creation of a regional primary for western states, a move that could further change the influence of the West on the national agenda and highlight western issues and values.
The contributors to The Rise of the West in Presidential Elections analyze the process of nominating presidential candidates, review the issues that make western states a united region unique in the political process, and explore the changing political dynamics in the nation that enable these changes. The book will be of interest to every citizen looking to learn more about the primary process, as well as to the political junkie more focused on the nuances of political maneuvering between states jockeying for position at the front of the election process.