The western states of the USA are going to be in play during the current campaign for the presidency. Last week the DNC picked Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico to give the Democrats’ weekly radio address, the LA Times reports. The governor is an ex-candidate for president and is frequently mentioned as a Vice-Presidential running mate for Senator Obama. And he would be my choice. “Colorado and New Mexico are up for grabs,” according to this Politico story by Denver Post reporter Karen E. Crummy. Her story takes an in depth look at Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and New Mexico. To quote:
One-third of Colorado registered voters are not affiliated with a political party. In New Mexico, Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 200,000, yet the state routinely votes for the GOP presidential candidate. Montana voters don’t even register with a party.
Brimming with individualistic, self-reliant, libertarian-leaning voters, the Rocky Mountain West will play a pivotal role in a year when independent voters are expected to make or break John McCain’s and Barack Obama’s presidential bids.
Voters here in recent elections have backed individual candidates regardless of political affiliation and have responded to messages emphasizing economic populism, fiscal discipline and the balance between individual rights and governmental protections.
Get out the votes of Blacks and Youth — Ed Kilgore at The Democratic Strategist blogs about the possibilities for Obama to win in nine states if he merely increases the voter turnouts of two of his key constituencies. Kilgore’s intro reads:
Mike Dorning of the Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau reports on a new study by his newspaper indicating big gains in store for Dems if they can produce a modest increase in turnout of youth and African American voters. Dorning’s article, flagged by Facing South’s Chris Kromm, has this to say about Obama’s prospects for picking up nine states Bush won in ’04.
Senator Obama recently announced that he will not support a ban on gay marriage as a proposed California constitutional amendment would do. To quote the Washington Post,
Barack Obama does not support a proposed California constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in the state, he announced in a letter sent to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club of San Francisco this week.
“I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states,” the Democratic presidential candidate wrote.
Conservatives are pushing the amendment in light of the California Supreme Court decision overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Republican candidate John McCain backs the proposed amendment.
Today’s post is emanating from another western state, Wyoming. I will be watching a Fourth of July parade in which members of the Democratic Party plan to march. I might join them. Energy is one of the biggest issues here, along with the effect that high gas prices have on tourism. Many voters, as in other western states, have a very independent streak. I am doing my own informal public opinion poll here, looking for what will be important to the voters here in November. I will publish the results towards the end of the month.
Meanwhile I signed the Democracy For America petition to urge the Senate to defeat the FISA telecom immunity bill when it comes up for a vote after the Senate recess. I close with the letter on the same subject that I got from Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake. If I march with the Democrats, I will carry the sign she suggests. To quote her letter:
We have a small window in which we can push the Senate to take retroactive immunity provision out of FISA. While during 4th of July recess, senators will be in their home states, attending parades and hosting a variety of other public appearances. This is our chance to ask them the simple question: whether or not they will vote against retroactive immunity. So far we’ve got around 40 events around the country where senators will be walking in Independence Day Parades, or where Firedoglake activists are going to visit local senate office.
Please sign up to attend an event and put pressure on your senators: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/event/search_simple
We have until July 8 to put some serious pressure on every senator to have some sense and defend our constitution. It’s an opportunity that we can’t afford to miss.Taking action is simple. Just make up a sign with a strong message like, “I like the WHOLE Bill of Rights — Vote NO on FISA!”, and head out to the parade route. I hope that you’ll take advantage of this chance to put some heat on the Senate.
Jane Hamsher, Firedoglake
P.S. If there isn’t event in your area or you’re interested in leading your own, I’ve put a post up with some tips here:http://firedoglake.com/2008/07/03/fisa-whip-it-good/
This day in history: Constitution Convention July 4, 1787. Joel Barlow told Society of Cincinnati that “the revolution is but half completed.”
View my current slide show about the Bush years — “Millennium” — at the bottom of this column.
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.