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Why is Idaho so Republican?

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Bicoastal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-12-06 02:27 PM
Original message
Why is Idaho so Republican?
For my own edification, I decided to see if there were any Republican-only states left in the country, i.e. states with only Republicans in the House, Senate, and in the Governor's seat. To my surprise, there are only two: Idaho and Alaska. And unlike Alaska, Idaho has more than one congressional district.

Much has been made of Democratic inroads in "red" western states like New Mexico, Nevada, and now Montana. Even Wyoming has a democratic governor. So why is Idaho still the "reddest state of them all"?
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mockmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-12-06 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. one word
potatoes
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-12-06 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Potatoes hate our freedoms. nt
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-10-06 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Idaho voters understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child
:rofl:
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Zambero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-13-06 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. Bloc-voting ignorant potato-heads
Edited on Mon Nov-13-06 12:47 PM by Zambero
Bill Sali's election to the open 1st Congressional district (albeit by a slim 5% margin) proves conclusively that ANY Republican candidate once nominated will likely win in Idaho. The winning formula is R + $$$ = V (for Victory). "Million Dollar Bill", the GOP's bought & paid for candidate, received over $1 million in outside funds, the biggest contributor being renegade K Street PAC "Club For Growth". This tidy sum purchased a massive mail and media-based negative campaign against Democrat Larry Grant, who was actually leading in the polls. The "undecided" GOP voters broke for Sali 2-1, figuring that any Republican would suffice, even an extremist candidate who had alienated his party's leadership time and time again while serving in the State Legislature.

On a brighter note, Boise went from purple to dark blue, electing 12 Dems to the State Legislature. This was a pickup of 5 seats -- YES, 5 GOP incumbents went down, leaving them with only 3 House seats city-wide. So a 12-3 margin ain't too shabby! Boise also voted down a scheme on the part of local fundies to relocate a 10 Commandments monument from a local church back to Julia Davis Park, where it had been situated until the city council interceded. Boise voters also voted down the anti-gay marriage amendment, which passed statewide 62-38.

So even though there is indeed a blue haven in a dark red state, the populace here is only about 1/4 of the total. I'm hoping that Sali's election to Congress is merely the first act toward his eventual defeat. He detests liberals and Democrats of any stripe, and his imminent marginalization as a freshman minority nutjob member of Congress might just drive him off the deep end. If he excels at anything, its' making a complete idiot out of himself. Of course that might only add more resolve to his "base". We'll have to wait and see.
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Left Is Write Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-18-06 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I was bitterly disappointed after this year's election...
but so very much not surprised. :(

I was also unhappy about the defeat of Prop 1.
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Diana Rowe Pauls Donating Member (11 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-09-06 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
5. it's the immigration...
Some of us thought (foolishly) that out-of-state immigration would bring new Idahoans who were diverse, educated, open-minded, etc.

What is happening, however, is these "out of staters" who so many redneck Idahoans are so afraid of (those "Nancy Pelosi San Francisco liberals") never came. Instead, we are getting the conservative religious whites who are "escaping" California/minorities/homosexuals et al, in order to come back to where the air, water, and bloodlines are still pure.

And they vote for people like Bill Sali and any dog with an "R" next to its name.

That is how come we now have a Superintendent for Public Instruction who has an online degree (in Weights and Measures) and would not be qualified to TEACH in Idaho... instead of the teacher/school administrator with a PhD in Education.

Oh yeah, and for State Controller, we have a real estate agent with a GED rather than the candidate with the MBA in Finance.

sigh...

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Diana Rowe Pauls Donating Member (11 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-11-06 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
7. Discussion over at Red State Rebels re: Idaho and R's
"Check out this AP story by Jesse Harlan Alderman that shows how Million Dollar Bill Sali was in debt almost a quarter of a million dollars after his 49.94 percent win. Close to half his debt was owed to Spartac LLC of Meridian, the shadowy company created last year, seemingly for the Sali campaign. (The AP story doesn't note it, but this also is the outfit affiliated with Christ Troupis, the attorney for the Keep the Commandments Coalition.)"
...
"For now, the floor is open to general lamentations about Idaho's taste in politicians."

More at Red State Rebels
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Left Is Write Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Hi...
I received your email and replied. :)
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IDARNG_Loki Donating Member (9 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-13-07 10:10 PM
Response to Original message
9. A book
There is a great book out called "Governing Idaho" and you can find it here.

Like everything else the people are shaped by one major factor: their environment. Idaho is a very unique state with strong conservative ties with some exceptions. I highly advise reading that book.
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Major Hogwash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-02-07 06:01 AM
Response to Original message
10. We have too many farmers and ranchers that don't trust the federal government
so they tend to shy away from what they perceive as "big government" Democrats.

Regional political differences are more pronounced here due to the large size of the state.
Idaho is the 14th largest state in the United States at 83,500 square miles.
Yet, most of that property, 62.2% of the entire state, is federal property.
So, that land is managed by the federal government and a lot of farmers and ranchers don't like the way the federal government has treated them the last 40 years or so.

Northern Idaho is almost a different state than Southern Idaho.
They are even on a different clock than the rest of the state.
The time zone cuts through the panhandle at Riggins, along the Salmon River.
30 years ago people who lived in the north even talked about seceding from Idaho - that's no shit.

Southeastern Idaho is heavily populated by Mormons, and traditionally Mormons are Republicans.
It's very hard to get Mormons to vote for someone who doesn't believe in the same religion they do, and it is even harder to get them to vote for someone who is also not a Republican.

Democrats used to have a tenuous hold on this state, a little over 30 years ago. But, Reagan's flag-waving attitude in the early 80's was very popular among the farmers here and the religious folks that live in eastern Idaho. When Reagan blamed the high costs of American automobiles on the "crooked union bosses that live back East", people ate it up here like it was cotton candy. Unions were busted when the mis-named "right to work" laws were passed here.

In a lot of ways, we still haven't recovered from the Reagan years.
Idaho was one of the last states to come out of the 1979 recession. Real economic recovery here didn't take affect until 1987. Idaho's population fell from 1980 until 1989 as entire families moved elsewhere looking for work.

George Bush was popular here in 1988 because of his pledge not to raise taxes, yet they voted for him or Perot in 1992 as a result of him breaking that pledge. They didn't like Clinton's stance on allowing gays into the military, so they voted for Dole in '96. And they were appalled by the Lewinsky scandal in 1998, so they voted for Bush in 2000. They didn't think we should "change horses midstream" during the Iraq War, so they voted for Bush again in 2004.
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urbuddha Donating Member (266 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-18-07 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Too many simpletons...
Conservatives try to halt progress which is going to happen whether they like it or not.
Everything changes, they just want to slow it down as much as possible.
Change is a natural fact of life and should be embraced. There are so many positives
that can come from change if they are taken to task with thought.
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Major Hogwash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-28-07 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Actually they are more authoritarian than conservative here.
They want to control any change that occurs here, not really slow it down.

In the 1970's Idaho was not as dominated by Republicans as it is today.
Frank Church was our senior Senator from Idaho while Cecil Andrus was serving as our Governor.

I really liked Frank Church when I was younger because he was a true Democrat, dedicated to helping the poor, and he really believed in working for an honest federal government.
He was the last good Senator we had.

Some people blamed newcomers moving to the state for Idaho swinging so far to the right, but it really wasn't as much their fault as it was the national mainstream media's attacks on Democrats that turned the tide. The media out here repeated almost every right-wing talking point that Reagan made against Carter as if it were all true.
People gobbled it up like candy.

By 1988, they were addicted to that type of candy - stories about how all Democrats are weak on defense and security.
By that time, in 1988, we were just coming out of the recession that lasted 7 years here.
So, a lot of people didn't want to change leadership in Washington because they had just barely survived the last 7 years.
The rest of the country came out of the recession of 1980-1982 much earlier than we did here.
We lost a lot of people that left the state as a result.
Our population figures were approaching a million before 1982, when suddenly we were losing so many people moving out of state who were looking for jobs, we were heading back down towards the 900,000 population figure.

Some economic analysts say that Idaho was not in a recession in 1980, that it didn't start in Idaho until 1981.
But, that's because they were fidgiting the numbers here to make it look better than it was.
Both of the people that lived on either side of my parents were out of work in 1980.
So, it's just a matter of how the numbers are interpreted that marks the beginning of the 80's recession in Idaho.
But, everyone here pretty much agrees that it ended in 1988.

Still, 7 years is a damned long time to lose jobs for a state like Idaho.
And if it had not been for the influx of tons of money to develop certain areas of the state from out-of-state investors, they would have lost more people before it was over.

In 1988, the Republicans were in charge when the state came out of the recession, so they took credit for it, although they did little to end it.

That's how Kempthorne got to be the Secretary of the Interior.
He ran for mayor of Boise in 1984, promising to end the argument over rebuilding downtown Boise.
After a big developer from Salt Lake City got tired of arguing with the City Council and putting up with lawsuit after lawsuit stopping him from building in downtown Boise, he located his Town Square mall outside of the downtown area, on the edge of the city limits.
That ended a 20 year argument that had kept downtown Boise from being developed.
But, Kempthorne was mayor at the time, so naturally he took credit for something he didn't have a damned thing to do with.

It was that developer from Utah that built the Town Square mall, not Kempthorne.
But that didn't stop Kempthorne from taking credit for it being built.

He was able to ride that line of bullshit clear to Washington as he became a U.S. Senator for one term, then he returned to Idaho to become our governor for 2 terms.
And now he's back in Washington, slinging the same kind of crap that he was famous here for.
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cayanne Donating Member (682 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-11-07 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
13. Why?
Idaho is a resource based economy in which timber, farming and mining are the big three.

For example, one of the counties I live in (we live in two counties) is almost totally based on timber. One of the counties we live in almost everyone, other than a few who work in retail or are retired, are either loggers or log and chip truck drivers. The other county has changed from an economy that is timber based to one that is tourist based. The Democratic Party in my north central county has only has 11 members.

Another reason is here people vote the way their parents vote(d). Change is very, very slow here.

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Major Hogwash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-11-07 11:44 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Actually the largest industry in Idaho is in the science and technology sectors.
Edited on Mon Jun-11-07 11:45 PM by Major Hogwash
Today, the largest industry in Idaho is the science and technology sectors. It amounts for over 25% of the State's total revenue and 70%+ of the State's exports (in dollars). Idaho's industrial economy is growing, with high-tech products leading the way. Micron amd HP are 2 of the largest employers in the state and also have the largest business portfolios in Idaho. Dell Computers has a large call center located in Twin Falls.

The second largest industry in Idaho is tourism, which surpassed argiculture in the mid- to late-90's in terms of dollars contributed towards Idaho's economy.

Agriculture is now the 3rd largest industry in the state.
Mostly potatoes and sweet beets, with some wheat, hops, and cattle rounding out the farming industries' contribution to Idaho.

The mining and timber industries have contributed less to the state's economy today than they did just 15 years ago.

Mining is a thing of the past and with the large SuperFund waste site near Kellogg not being cleaned up on schedule - as Kempthorne and Batt both assured it would be - there won't be any new, large mining sites allowed in Idaho for quite some time. After Kempthorne tried to have the Kellogg site delisted as a SuperFund site because it hurt tourism, I thought to myself "what a wad he must be." He didn't even care if people from the East visited that area of the state and wound up getting poisoned over it just for a few bucks.

The attitudes the people have determines how they vote, and the majority of Idahoans have very strict religious beliefs that tend to make them prone to authoritarian view points.

The Gay Pride parade in Boise was the largest they have ever had this last weekend.
Yet, there were only 500 people marching in the parade.
Of course, there were some ignorant protestors standing on either sides of the street with their little posters with some saying written on it about God or the bible, but attitudes are changing here, even if it does seem to be slower than molasses.
They wouldn't even have been able to march in downtown Boise just 10 years ago.
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cayanne Donating Member (682 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-12-07 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. thanks fort the info
Thanks for the info. I've never been to Boise although I've been thinking about going. I'm told it takes about 10 hours from Coeur d'Alene and I've driven that goat trail only once from Council. I may get there this summer. I didn't get to Idaho Falls but we did go into Pocatello this past winter when we drove to Park City, UT.

Northern Idaho is very different from southern Idaho. We're on Pacific Time due to our close proximity to Spokane. I do know that Cd'A and Sandpoint are more based on a tourist economy now but the science and technology jobs are more in the southern part. Granted my timber town is more isolated in the NW central part of the state where there is nothing here but timber.

There is a huge opportunity to switch to tourism but the St Maries people resist any kind of change. It is still pro Bush and they still only listen to Fox news and Limbaugh. There is little diversity here and when tree planters, thinners and pruners come in to the area to work, they may last a few days until the sheriff hunts them down and looks for green cards, then some get arrested and deported. There is a lot more diversity now in both Bonner and Kootenai counties.

I am aware that wages have increased in both Bonner and Kootenai counties in the 15 years I've been here. It's like northern and southern California, the north has the resources and the south has the wealth and population.

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Treclo Donating Member (137 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-19-07 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Hi Bev B-
I'm a new (one year) transplant to CdA. I helped with the get-out-the-vote drive last November; but you know those unhappy results. However, I did meet lots of fired up Dems! And, BTW, I work for the resort- so tourism it is, for me, anyhow.

Anyway, it's nice to know there's a friendly DU'er around these parts. :) :) :)

LD
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petrosianii Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-01-08 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
17. Rural Agrarian Culture
There are probably many reasons. Perhaps the main reason is that 27% of Idahoans are Mormon. As was already stated, Mormons tend to be social conservatives. Conservatives tend to associate themselves with Republicans.

I've lived in more than one state and in both rural and urban settings. I've noticed that more rural, more agrarian societies tend to be more conservative, and more urban/industrial areas tend to be more liberal. I think that environment has much to do with this.

Consultant to hotels in NY City
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