Ryan Sager wrote an excellent article about the impact of the libertarian movement in the West.
In fact, it’s looking more and more likely that the eight states of the Southwest and the broader interior West — Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — are on their way to becoming the next great swing region in American politics. As the Republican Party tilts on its South-West axis, increasingly favoring southern values (religion, morality, tradition) over western ones (freedom, independence, privacy), the Democrats have been presented with a tremendous opportunity. If the Republican Party doesn’t want to lose its hold over all of the West, as it lost hold of once-reliable California more than a decade ago, its leaders are going to have to rethink their embrace of big-government, big-religion conservatism.
We’re seeing some cursory outreach to libertarians through some major Democratic outlets, chiefly through Daily Kos’ advocacy of “libertarian Democrat” ideology. Yes, it’s largely going to end up being bullshit in the long run and we’ll just be the battered wife of the left instead.
However, there’s some reason for hope. The sorts of people the Democrats will be needing to court will be the sorts of people we Libertarians need to court: moderate libertarians. To gain control of the West and therefore to gain control of the country, the Democrats will need to appease our moderates. This is the group of people that we will have the absolute best chance of winning over, the sort that the Democrats have had a long long history of pissing off.
The Republicans don’t look to be seriously trying to court their votes, leaving them as a fading power among these people. It’s just us and the Democrats-meaning that the Democrats will have to co-opt many of our positions, at least in the short term, in order to get their votes.
We can become an even bigger power out West… we can be the winner in a few races, the spoiler in many more. We’ll be “in play” and a hot commodity. The Libertarian Party needs to be in position to capitalize on this rare political condition. We’ve already done some housecleaning to welcome moderates, we just need to go the rest of the way. More than anything, I’d say we need a Political Director able to capitalize on this situation.