The landslide reelection of President Ronald Reagan in 1984 prompted political analysts to consider the possibility of a national realignment of the electorate toward the Republican party. The 1986 elections, however, proved any predictions of a national realignment to be premature. A major shift in voting patterns had not taken place—except in the Mountain West, where a realignment was already in place. Once second only to the southern states in Democratic attachments, these western states (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming) now compose the most Republican region in the nation. The contributors to this volume assert that this substantial change in electoral patterns, which has spanned nearly forty years, resulted not from a westward migration but from a widespread conversion among those who are born and remain in the region. In analyzing this realignment, these writers—some of the nation's best electoral scholars—provide historical and contemporary overviews and assess the important issues not only for voters but also for party organizations and members of Congress. Their focus in The Politics of Realignment, however, is on the Mountain West's role in contemporary American politics. The authors present a comprehensive investigation into the meaning of this regional realignment for national politics.
Realignment Past and Present -- The Political Landscape of the Mountain West -- State and National Politics in the Mountain West -- Regional Variation in Partisan Change: Realignment in the Mountain West -- Public Opinion and Regional Political Realignment -- The Regional Realignment of Congress, 1919-1984 -- Policy Change and Regional Realignment -- The Etiology of Congressional Realignment in the Mountain West -- Campaigns and Elections in the Mountain States, 1984 -- The Role of Party Organizations in the Mountain West: 1960-1980 -- A Final Word: Realignment Present and Future