Why Progressives Should Look Westward

Tired and worn out from a difficult slog of a populist campaign in a red state, I penned three articles (in the Washington Monthly, the American Prospect and In These Times) in December of 2004 showing how the politics of property rights, hunter/angler access and energy development - let's call it Land Politics - has the potential to scramble the traditional Republican coalition in places like the Great American West, if progressives plot a course to advantage of the changing political topography. These articles were met with typically blank looks in Washington, until about 2005 when the New York Times essentially reprinted the articles in a "new" piece by Tim Egan. Now, three years later, we see the fissures that were mere tiny cracks in 2004 are becoming potentially wide chasms, replete with serious political opportunities. Considering the fact that many of the 97 out of 100 fastest growing counties in America that Bush won in 2004 are out here and face these issues, Land Politics could be the key to progressives fundamentally changing the national electoral map.

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