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.

chapter 1|17 pages

Realignment Past and Present

ByPeter F. Galderisi, Michael S. Lyons

chapter 2|14 pages

The Political Landscape of the Mountain West

ByJohn G. Francis

chapter 3|22 pages

State and National Politics in the Mountain West

ByEric R.A.N. Smith, Peverill Squire

chapter 5|22 pages

Public Opinion and Regional Political Realignment

ByArthur H. Miller

chapter 6|28 pages

The Regional Realignment of Congress, 1919-1984

ByKeith T. Poole, Howard Rosenthal

chapter 7|19 pages

Policy Change and Regional Realignment

ByRobert C. Benedict

chapter 8|25 pages

The Etiology of Congressional Realignment in the Mountain West

ByGary C. Jacobson

chapter 9|21 pages

Campaigns and Elections in the Mountain States, 1984

ByHenry C. Kenski

chapter 10|23 pages

The Role of Party Organizations in the Mountain West: 1960-1980

ByJames L. Gibson

chapter 11|4 pages

A Final Word: Realignment Present and Future

ByMichael S. Lyons, Peter F. Galderisi, Randy T. Simmons