West Coast Regional Trend
The West Coast states are, you guessed it, California, Oregon, and Washington. All three states are continuing their leftward trend. California's quick leftward movement can be attributed to the large influx of minorities to the state. Furthermore, almost all population growth in California has been around the major cities. These areas are heavily trending to the Democrats. Maybe this is because all the liberals are flocking to California, but that is probably just Republican hope. In fact, Californian Republicans are more fiscally conservative than socially, aka Reagan Democrats. The Republican party's increasing emphasis on social issues has swung these voters towards the Democratic side. An influence on social values could be partially attributed to Hollywood and it's liberal-ness. Up and down the West Coast, however, the trend towards the Democrats cannot be explained by an influx of minorities and Hollywood. The biggest influence on trend has been the environmental movement. These three western states have been the most ambitious towards achieving environmental goals, especially California and Washington. Sustainable development is all the rage in the Northwest, and the Bush administration's, and other Republicans, staunch opposition to any environmental laws that impede development has pushed these voters away from them. The conservative argument would be that you are infringing on the rights of the people by making these laws. However, West Coast residents are rebuking them by saying: we should have the right to be free from sprawl, excessive air pollution, and have the right to have a clean environment that benefits the economy, our health, peace of mind, tourism, and future generations. Republicans that have been elected recently on the West Coast, if you notice, have been more pro-environment than the average Republican. As the Democratic party continues to make the environment an important issue, more West Coast voters will leave the Republican party. I don't see the Republicans ever taking back these three states, unless they clean up their environmental act. They could also stop hammering social issues. For example, Oregon has an assisted suicide law that was just ruled as trumping federal law. While you may not agree with assisted suicide, you can evidence from that the mindset of West Coaster's in terms of social issues. These states also have some of the most abortion friendly medical laws. Out of California's 36 Republican counties, 17 of them are trending Democrat. Out of California's 22 Democratic counties, only 4 of them are trending Republican. Out of Oregon's 27 GOP counties, 23 are trending Democrat. Not one of its 8 Democratic counties are moving rightward. Finally, out of Washington's 28 Republican counties, 25 are trending Democrat. One out of it's 13 Democratic counties are moving rightward. This region is a safe haven for Democrats and will only grow safer.