Larry Hogan 2024

Could a blue state governor be the future of the Republican Party?

Longtime Republicans who grown disgusted with the party in the age of Trump are pining for a savior to guide the party to a more moderate direction. The governor of Democratic stronghold Maryland could be the answer but, alas, likely won’t.

POLITICO (“Larry Hogan argues for a ‘bigger tent’ GOP as 2024 rumors swirl“):

As rumors swirl that Larry Hogan is eyeing a run for president in 2024, the Republican governor of Maryland has some advice for the post-Trump GOP: Be more like me.

“I don’t know what the future holds in November, but I know that the Republican Party is going to be looking at what happens after President [Donald] Trump and whether that’s in four months or four years,” Hogan said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

That, Hogan argued, should include becoming more inclusive.

“I think they’re going to be looking to, ‘How do we go about becoming a bigger tent party?'” he told host Chuck Todd.

The second-term governor pointed to his 2018 reelection as a model, when he won in deep-blue Maryland by almost 12 points “by reaching out, by trying to find that middle ground where people can stand together and by avoiding divisive rhetoric.”

Hogan pointed out that he also won votes from suburban women, a demographic that appears to have ditched Republicans — something that could prove detrimental to Trump in November’s election. He also cited Democrats, independents (with whom Trump has also lost ground in recent polling) and minority voters (among whom Republicans historically underperform).

“I think that’s something the Republican Party’s going to have to look to. We’re going to have to find a way to appeal to more people and have a bigger tent,” he said.

The governor has made a national name for himself as one of the few, prominent elected Republicans unafraid to speak out and criticize Trump. Since his reelection, Hogan has fueled speculation that he might have presidential ambitions, but last summer ultimately decided against a primary challenge against Trump.

As the head of the National Governors Association, Hogan has been an outspoken critic of the White House’s initial coronavirus response, and is reportedly mulling a run for president in 2024. Hogan recently penned a memoir about his experience battling cancer, the riots in Baltimore in 2015 and now the pandemic.

Though he didn’t address specifically his interest in running for president Sunday, Hogan argued that there is a sizable chunk of the electorate disillusioned by politics as it currently exists.

“I think regardless of what happens in November, there are an awful lot of people in America that are completely frustrated with politics today and the divisiveness and dysfunction in Washington,” he said.

Hogan also would not divulge who he plans to vote for in November; he wrote in his father’s name in 2016.

Granting that it’s somewhat absurd to be talking about 2024 when we haven’t yet held the 2020 election, much less the 2022 midterms, the future of the Republican Party is a matter of interest.

Earlier this month, Matt Lewis, an iconoclastic conservative columnist, mused as to both the future of the leaders of the #NeverTrump movement and of the GOP. He rightly notes that diehard conservatives will hate them for helping hand the reins of power to Joe Biden, especially if the progressive wing of the party pushes him to adopt significant chunks of their agenda.

For those of us hoping to restore the GOP, a radicalized Democratic Party, as dangerous as that sounds, creates a niche for a sane and serious alternative party to emerge. Left-wing overreach could prompt Republicans to get their house in order, purge toxic Trumpism, and quickly return to power as a safe counter to the scary, radical left. Rather than losing power for a generation, bada bing, bada boom, you’re back in business—with a new paint job!

Again, I’m not holding my breath for this storyline to develop—and if it does, nobody will think to thank the Never Trumpers.

Most Never Trumpers believe that the ability to salvage the GOP is contingent on the scale of a Biden victory. If Trump loses narrowly, they fear that Trumpism won’t be fully purged. Their hope is that a massive electoral drubbing will extirpate Trumpism root and branch. If that happens, then Rick Wilson, Mike Murphy, and Bill Kristol et al. could find themselves back inside the GOP tent.

But do people who have been defeated—even (especially?) when utterly humiliated—really want to admit they were wrong? Even if forced to change their ways in order to win future elections in the 21st century, it seems unlikely that Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh will apologize to the Cassandras and say, “You were right all along!”

Rather than returning to the party of Reagan or Bush, we are more likely to see someone like Tom Cotton or Josh Hawley nominated for president in 2024 against some successor who is to the left of Joe Biden. That is to say, moving on from Trump probably doesn’t mean moving back to the good old days, it means moving on to a more populist and nationalist GOP that is smarter and more eloquent and more disciplined than Donald Trump, while still embracing many of his positions.

Sadly, I think that’s the more likely outcome, at least in the short run.

Many in the comments here have argued that the Republicans could go the way of the Whigs, fracturing into warring wings and ultimately replaced by another party. But that happened 160 years ago, in a much less mature political system. The institutional momentum behind the “Democratic” and “Republican” vehicles is likely irresistible unless we amend the Constitution or otherwise radically reshape the way we elect Presidents and the Congress.

In the modern era, the Republicans only took the one humiliating smackdown of 1964 to snap back to offering a more moderate alternative in 1968 (the same they’d offered in 1960, oddly). It took the Democrats five losses in six cycles from 1968 to 1988 to rebrand themselves as New Democrats in 1992. They’ve won the popular vote in every election save one since but, alas, the vagaries of the Electoral College have given the Republicans three wins, masking their unpopularity.

Let’s posit a complete Trump smackdown in November, in which Biden wins 400-odd Electors, carrying the likes of Texas and Georgia and sweeping in a Democratic Senate majority. Let’s assume also that the Democrats abolish the filibuster at the outset.

Do the Republicans come back with someone like Hogan? He’ll be 68 at that point, so no spring chicken—but much younger than the octogenarian Biden. (Unless he steps aside for a younger nominee. Or, tragically, passes and his Vice President is handed the reins.) Or Jeb Bush, who’d be 71? Or John Kasich, who’d be 72?

Nikki Haley, who seems to be the only high-level Trump official who has emerged largely unscathed, is another alternative in that direction. And she’d be much younger, at only 52.

Or, as Lewis projects, do they double down with someone like Josh Hawley (who’d only be 44!) or Tom Cotton (47)?

The party produced all manner of post-defeat moratoria after 2008, most of which said they needed to figure out how to expand their base beyond bigots and the elderly. In 2012, they avoided disaster because the crazies were divided into too many camps and wound up rallying around Mitt Romney. While many argued for a bigger tent, many took the opposite lesson: that the party needed a more full-throated conservative. But, in 2016, the worst possible scenario emerged: the moderates had too many candidates, none of whom were charismatic, and they were beaten by a demagogue who played to the worst instincts of white’s seeing their domination challenged.

How 2024 plays out is ultimately impossible to predict, since we have no idea what the conditions on the ground will be. One presumes COVID-19 will have been eradicated by then and hopes that it’s not replaced by another pandemic. Has the economy recovered? Are we at war with China, Russia, or Iran?

Do the progressives overplay their hand, giving conservatives something to fuel a comeback? And do they respond with Trumpism in younger, smarter packaging or some sort of New Republican messaaging?

Part of the problem for the GOP—and it’s one I’ve been harping on for a decade or more—is that it really hasn’t had any new ideas since 1994—arguably since 1980.

Hogan and Haley both have some charisma and have demonstrated the ability to govern competently. But managerial competence alone isn’t enough to win election; just ask Michael Dukakis.

Hogan’s tenure in Maryland has been interesting as he has gone along with some rather progressive legislation on LGBTQ rights, marijuana legalization, and the like. But I don’t know how that plays out on a presidential level. Is that seen as moderate or simply Democrat Lite?

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2024, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. drj says:

    Even if we were to assume that Hogan would be an attractive candidate in a general election, could he win a national GOP primary?

    Seems a bit of a stretch

    At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

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  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    The only way Hogan could make it through an R primary is if the primary were a replay of 2016 where Hogan is the unique candidate and the Cruz, Hawley, Cotton types divide the core vote and Hogan squeaks through.

    3
  3. SKI says:

    The second-term governor pointed to his 2018 reelection as a model, when he won in deep-blue Maryland by almost 12 points “by reaching out, by trying to find that middle ground where people can stand together and by avoiding divisive rhetoric.”

    Perspective from inside Maryland: Hogan won by as much as he did because the suburban counties have a LOT of Democrats who are racists.

    If Kevin Kaminetz doesn’t die in May, there was a good change Hogan isn’t re-elected.

    3
  4. MarkedMan says:

    When I say the Republican Party became Mississippi, I don’t just mean the racism and the low expectations for governance. It also has the same dynamics as the deep Trump states: all too many of the idealistic young eventually give up and leave for more progressive places, leaving behind the bitterest dregs to wield power. Hogan could run for Senate and bide his time until something changes but he’s too old for that.

    And let’s be realistic. Brown skinned Nikki Haley may be invited to interview by the remaining Republicans who want to keep up the charade that they aren’t a racist Party at core, but they won’t actually hire her.

    9
  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I don’t know a lot about Hogan…only that he has done a great job with the Trump Plague.

  6. mattbernius says:

    Honestly, beyond Cotton, my biggest concern on the Republican side is if the “Draft Tucker Carlson” thing picks up steam. Because, unlike most of the Conservative talkers, I think Carlson would actually go for it.

    4
  7. SKI says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Hogan could run for Senate and bide his time until something changes but he’s too old for that.

    Not a shot he beats either incumbent Senator.

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: By and large he has. Couple of issues in terms of poor communication/collaboration with county leaders and, most recently, with blocking a move to an almost all mail-in election in November but we are appreciative that he has been mostly fact-based.

  8. Jay L Gischer says:

    The only thing that will make the Republican Party less radical is a reform of the nominating process. Disintermediation has given an advantage to the campaign who can cut through the chatter and get attention. And radicals and polarizers are going to have an advantage here. This seems far less in play at the state level, though it isn’t out of play.

    This is probably something that also affects Democrats, but doesn’t seem to have had quite as much impact.

    So, reform of the process in the name of more electable candidates might work, but the party has to figure out how to get this by their voters, who will (rightly) see this as diminishing their own impact.

    3
  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I don’t see a Hogan like candidate in the GOP’s future until at the earliest, 2028. No matter how badly trump might lose in November, it won’t be his fault, and no one in the GOP has the balls to say it is. I can definitely see a Hawley or Cotton in 2024.

    3
  10. Many in the comments here have argued that the Republicans could go the way of the Whigs, fracturing into warring wings and ultimately replaced by another party. But that happened 160 years ago, in a much less mature political system.

    And, as I like to point out, in an era that predated primaries. Primaries mean party label is up for grabs. It is easier to capture an existing label via primaries (and all the benefits connected to an established label) than it is to form a new party.

    It is possible the GOP will evolve, but unlikely it will go the way of the Whigs.

    4
  11. Crusty Dem says:

    No. The GOP will nominate whomever is the most corporate-acceptable Q leader.

    3
  12. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    Not sure I’d go that far, although it’s possible. Kaminetz never led in the in the polling for the Democratic primary, polling at no better than third behind Jealous and Baker. If anything, I’d say that race would have prevented Kaminetz from winning the primary. The surprise for many of us was that Jealous bested Baker for the nomination.

    I think Maryland’s problem is that it conducts closed primaries, which tends to tilt the Democratic nominee farther to the left than where the actual political mass of the state falls. Indeed, Jealous ran on one of the most left-wing platforms extant in the 2018 races across the country. That said, I think the biggest factors in his loss were 1) nobody really knew who he was and 2) Hogan enjoyed broad satisfaction numbers across the electorate. He even substantially increased his percentage of the African-American vote relative to 2014.

    Short version: unknown candidate who was arguably too far to the left for the majority of the voters outside of Montgomery and PG, up against a broadly popular governor running for his second term. The voters didn’t see a compelling enough rationale for change. Ben Jealous was an own-goal for the Democratic Party in MD.

    3
  13. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Saw a Hogan 2024 bumper sticker yesterday in Colorado. Go figure.

    However, as to:

    …Hogan argued, should include becoming more inclusive. “I think they’re going to be looking to, ‘How do we go about becoming a bigger tent party?’…

    OK Lucy, just set up that football. I’m sure Charlie will get to kick it THIS time.

    4
  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    Ah, the Republican ‘big tent’: Let’s see, we have Klansmen, Neo-Nazis, conspiracy nuts, religious fanatics, greed-head sociopaths. . . Who exactly gets added to that coalition?

    ETA: My bad, totally forgot the women-hating incels.

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  15. senyordave says:

    @mattbernius: Please God have the GOP run Tucker Carlson for office. Then the opposition can bring up some of the poison that he has spewed, especially regarding women, such as:
    Carlson defended Warren Jeffs, the cult leader from Utah who is currently serving life plus 20 years in federal prison after being found guilty in multiple states for child sexual assault, incest, and sexual misconduct with a child. Jeffs often arranged for underage girls to marry older men.Carlson said Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is unqualified because she’s unattractive, going on to say of then-nominee Kagan, “I feel sorry for unattractive women, physically, the problems with her are fundamental. She?s never going to be an attractive woman.”Of women in general, he said, ?I love women, but they are extremely primitive, they’re basic, they’re not that hard to understand. He engaged with the hosts as they talked about abusing women, including choking out their girlfriends in a rage.He called Martha Stewart’s daughter extremely #$%$ after discussing Stewart’s radio show that was recorded in the same building. He regularly said demeaning, awful things about Hillary Clinton and many, many other women.
    Apparently he is okay with people “choking out” their girlfriends. Oh, I get it, he was kidding.

    3
  16. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Not sure I’d go that far, although it’s possible. Kaminetz never led in the in the polling for the Democratic primary, polling at no better than third behind Jealous and Baker. If anything, I’d say that race would have prevented Kaminetz from winning the primary. The surprise for many of us was that Jealous bested Baker for the nomination.

    Immediately preceding his death, he was 2nd, slightly ahead of Jealous with Baker more than both combined. I think there is a good chance he, or Baker, win the nomination without his death instead of Jealous and have a much better chance against Hogan than someone without any actual governance experience.

    I agree that Jealous was a bad candidate but I can tell you that, from a perspective on the ground here in Anne Arundel (and Baltimore County), Hogan got votes that he wouldn’t have if not for Jealous’s race. Especially in 2018 when many of the local Republican office-holders got booted.

    Ben Jealous was an own-goal for the Democratic Party in MD.

    Yes but, as Steve T. has often noted, the parties don’t actually control much anymore. The smoke-filled backrooms where decisions are made don’t happen by and large. You can’t blame the “Party” for selecting Jealous or Trump for that matter. You have to place the blame at the feet of the voters.

    2
  17. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    Immediately preceding his death, he was 2nd, slightly ahead of Jealous with Baker more than both combined. I think there is a good chance he, or Baker, win the nomination without his death instead of Jealous and have a much better chance against Hogan than someone without any actual governance experience.

    The polls I saw had them around 14 and 15 I think, but well within the MOE. That said, I agree. I legitimately expected Baker to win the nomination, and between prior experience and name recognition, I think he’d have done well against Hogan. Certainly better than Jealous did. I’m not convinced he’d have won, but it would have been a much closer race, no argument about that at all.

    I agree that Jealous was a bad candidate but I can tell you that, from a perspective on the ground here in Anne Arundel (and Baltimore County), Hogan got votes that he wouldn’t have if not for Jealous’s race. Especially in 2018 when many of the local Republican office-holders got booted.

    I don’t doubt it. I grew up in Baltimore, so I’m familiar with the sort of folks you’re talking about, especially where Baltimore County is concerned. The thing that keeps swaying me is the enormous block of the AA vote that Hogan received. Going from memory, but it seems like I saw numbers somewhere around 25%. For a white Republican governor in Maryland, that’s pretty unusual. I’m honestly not sure how many of them would have voted Baker instead if he’d been on the ballot instead of Jealous. I have to assume at least some of them would have though.

    Yes but, as Steve T. has often noted, the parties don’t actually control much anymore. The smoke-filled backrooms where decisions are made don’t happen by and large. You can’t blame the “Party” for selecting Jealous or Trump for that matter. You have to place the blame at the feet of the voters.

    Fair enough, you’re right about that, and I agree with you. The “establishment” candidate for the party was Baker, so in a sense it got torpedoed by its own voters. Baker certainly would have been a better candidate than Jealous, absolutely no argument at all.

    1
  18. JohnMcC says:

    @Crusty Dem: I tossed out the ‘Republicans are going like Whigs’ meme a couple days ago on these pages. (Mea Culpa! I wasn’t really serious that it was a true analogy.)

    But what was in the background of that thought was that the ‘Know-Nothings’ of secretive, anti-immigrant nature were part of the scattered detritus that followed the Whig collapse and it seemed to correspond to ‘Q-Anon’.

    Of course history never repeats. It’s much more interesting.

    P.S. – The Goldwater candidacy was my 1st personal experience of a presidential race and I was excited to be part of the ‘conservative movement’. My memory is that the consensus by ’65 was amazement that over 27million people had voted for Barry. And as I understand it, in 1980 the general feeling was that Reagan had gotten the old band back together again. He was the person who made ‘The Speech’ that got credit for many of those 27million after all.

    1
  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    Off-topic, but I’m curious: do you see Rutherford running for the big chair in 2022? I’m not sure he’s necessarily ready, but I’ve been impressed by what little we’ve seen of him thus far. Hard pressed to say he wouldn’t have a good shot at winning if he does.

  20. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I’m pretty sure he will run. No clue about his chances at this point, though Lt Gov. hasn’t been a big stepping-stone for awhile and . I’m not connected with the MD GOP to know about internal discussions but there isn’t a lot of buzz broadly about him in the community.

  21. Scott F. says:

    @James Joyner – thank you for this OP. It goes a good way to answer the questions I raised in another thread on the future standard bearers for the GOP.

    In particular, I found the Matt Lewis column you referenced revealing. In it, Lewis strikes me as a hunter is search of a unicorn that would magically transform the Republican Party without it having to change anything it stands for or any policies it pursues.

    For Lewis, a resounding 2020 election defeat – which would have to come by the hands of the Democrats, Independents, and non-partisan Republicans – will somehow purge the GOP of toxic Trumpism. Acknowledging Steven Taylor’s observations that the Party doesn’t control the primaries, this purge by election result doesn’t give the Republican political leadership has any agency at all. A big tent GOP isn’t something you wish into existence. The party will have to pursue policies with big tent appeal.

    It’s also interesting that Lewis sees the opening for restoration of the GOP coming from radicalization on the Left and not reform on the Right. The two examples he cites for Democratic overreach – protestors pulling down statues and calls to defund police – have both been discussed here at OTB. But, that “overreach” is a matter of tactics, not objectives. The political ends of these tactics – the removal of oppressive symbology and the end of extrajudicial police killings of Blacks – are widely popular and to a significant number of the populace these objectives are moral imperatives. What political ends will this “sane and serious” Republican Party, cleansed somehow by external forces of Trumpism, promote to restore itself and draw in new voters. Lewis never says. Actually, no Republican ever says, because the political objectives that have driven them for the last 40 years aren’t all that popular on their face. And as noted here, there are no new ideas forthcoming.

    Hogan seems to get the underlying conditions, but beyond him and a few others, I don’t see much call for reform so much as re-branding. The country greatly needs two reasonable, fact-based parties pulling in opposition to bring about the big, structural changes we need to survive as a nation. One party is not being serious at all about their part in that national project. Until the GOP gets serious, the Democrats are on their own with all the imbalance that comes from that.

    3
  22. Kathy says:

    First, the GOP needs to amend its rules so that delegates are awarded proportionally, rather than on a “winner” take all basis. As is, the “winner” usually takes a plurality of the votes only. Trump did, so we was selected by a minority of Republican primary voters. Had the rules been different, he might have been defeated.

    3
  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott F.:

    What political ends will this “sane and serious” Republican Party, cleansed somehow by external forces of Trumpism, promote to restore itself and draw in new voters. Lewis never says. Actually, no Republican ever says, because the political objectives that have driven them for the last 40 years aren’t all that popular on their face. And as noted here, there are no new ideas forthcoming.

    Maybe they could try fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets as themes. Because it’s good to laugh.

    3
  24. JohnMcC says:

    @Scott F.: As long as the R-party is wedded to the evangelical church and remains absolutist on abortion they will be a minority party that constantly draws themselves further into that cul-de-sac. Difficult to see growth in that segment of the population unless amazing social changes befall us.

    2
  25. EddieInCA says:

    Hogan would not get through a GOP primary.

    But on a sidenote, I’m in Utah, currently. It’s amazing to see what’s happening here. Basically the same thing is happening here that is happening in Texas, and AZ and NM, but they’re just a decade behind. To put it succinctly, a whole lot of liberal Californians, Oregonians, and Washingtonians are moving to places like this, and bringing their liberal politics with them. Montana, too.

    It got me to thinking… Where do wealthy conservatives go when they want to leave their own cities. I know a whole bunch of liberal Californians who have sold their homes – with $400K to $1M of equity – and moved to Phoenix, Boise, SLC, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Spokane, Las Vegas, etc, to buy a house cash, and live a more relaxed life. Where do wealthy conservatives go? Florida?

    A close friend of mine just retired, sold his 3bd/2ba home of 22 years in Manhattan Beach for $3.2 million. He paid $540K for it in 1998, and has done very little to it since. He’s relocating to Boise, ID, and purchased a $1M home on a hill overlooking a golf course and a view of the city. That home in LA would be $5M. In Boise, it was $996K.

    Anyone have any ideas? Anecdotes? Where do conservatives go? Or do they go to the same places, but there are less of them who leave? I don’t know, but I’m curious.

  26. DrDaveT says:

    Am I the only person here cynical enough to believe that no one as unphotogenic as Larry Hogan can possibly be elected President?

    The US has not elected a short, dumpy President since before the photograph was invented.

  27. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:
    I was thinking the same thing, so no, you’re not the only cynic aboard the good ship OTB. Short, fat, and balding is not a winning look.

    On the other hand, some of us did elect a truly repulsive-looking creature in 2016.

    4
  28. al Ameda says:

    2024 is a lifetime away in terms of how much can change by then. Right now I’d wager a small amount on Mike Pompeo, Tom Cotton, or Nicky Haley (Token ‘moderate’)

    1
  29. An Interested Party says:
  30. Raoul says:

    Maybe many don’t care about corruption but Larry Hogan directing highway dollars to an interchange near his property is a corrupt act.

    1
  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: To whatever extent it applies, my very conservative parents only moved out of their working class neighborhood to a upper-middle class one and on to a retirement complex. The only people of my age that I know (late 6os+) aren’t moving unless costs force them to. But they also live in the PNW, so they’re already at “the destination.”

    I suspect that conservatives simply don’t move–culturally or geographically. Just more ossification.

    1
  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: Where do conservatives go?

    To Hell?

    5
  33. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Raoul:

    I assume you’re referring to the Brandywine property in PG. As I understand it, the acquisition / build order for the interchange predated the acquisition of the property by several months and was publicly available knowledge at that time.

    Which would make the action ethically questionable, but not illegal. i.e. unethical, not corrupt.

  34. de stijl says:

    Sgt. Schulz sez:

    I see nothing.

  35. rachel says:

    A lot of them buy property in Utah. Areas around St. George, Moab, and Park City have been some of the more popular places.

    Also, western Montana.

  36. de stijl says:

    @rachel:

    I have visited all of those areas. I liked visiting all of those areas.

    I have seriously thought about Missoula as a possible home. College town. It is too small for me on the surface. Enough services to survive. College towns have more amenities than you imagine even in the inter mountain West.

    Coffee. Butcher. Baker. Brewer. One could abide well.

    The star point is the mountains and rivers and general outback. The big empty. Big MT.

  37. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    I have seriously thought about Missoula as a possible home. College town. It is too small for me on the surface. Enough services to survive. College towns have more amenities than you imagine even in the inter mountain West.

    That’s exactly where I’m headed next, in about five weeks. Never been.

  38. EddieInCA says:

    @rachel:

    I have seriously thought about Missoula as a possible home. College town. It is too small for me on the surface. Enough services to survive. College towns have more amenities than you imagine even in the inter mountain West.

    I’m in Park City now. It feels like a smaller Austin. There’s a Whole Foods, myriad of hippie coffee shops, an arts district that feels like Sausalito, and a massive “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on Main Street. Massive. Like two blocks long massive. Whatever conservatives are here are losing the battle for the heart of the city.

    1
  39. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    It is gorgeous.

    The town itself is a version of Asheville or Madison but smaller and a little less that. A perfectly decent version of a college town, but the back country is astonishingly beautiful. If you have the time and the means go do. There are life changing experiences there.

    A small blue bubble in a ruby red state.

    One thing I always check myself on is that I am a city boy. Be decent and people will treat you decent.

    1
  40. de stijl says:

    Don’t be Sam Neill in The Hunt For Red October who in his last breathe said “I would have liked to have seen Montana.”

    Go see Montana.

    1
  41. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Don’t leave out the generic “elderly”. For more than 30 years I have been told that the oldsters will die off and conservatism with them. Of course, we have more oldsters than ever and they’re nearly as conservative, on average, as the oldsters who came before them. I’m an oldster these days, and have watched friends and acquaintances my age change from confident people looking forward into scared people looking backwards. I’ve decided that it comes with the territory. I’m trying hard to avoid letting it happen to me.

    2
  42. Michael Cain says:

    @EddieInCA: “Where do the conservative Californians go when they leave California?” is an interesting question. I discuss some related issues regularly with an anthropologist friend. Some things that we believe are important… the California Diaspora has been a thing in the American West for more than 30 years. I first heard the term from a University of Colorado historian in the late 1980s. By population, the American West is overwhelmingly suburban; that Diaspora is very much suburbanites moving between suburban settings. By a variety of measures, western suburbs are different than eastern suburbs. My friend the anthropologist says, “Any suburb in the American West is more like other suburbs in the American West than it is like anything east of the Great Plains.” Both of us believe that there is an emerging distinct western culture (not yet as distinct as Southern culture). The very large majority of Californians who leave that state remain in the West, reinforcing the cultural trend.

    Sitting on the deck in a summer evening, where he lives in Portland or I live in Denver, after a couple of glasses of wine, you can get us to say “Greater California”.

    2
  43. @Michael Cain: Having lived in the suburbs in the west and in the east (and having family in various suburbs in CA and AZ), this resonates.

    And, to add to your observation anecdotally, the folks in the AZ suburbs migrated from the CA suburbs–although in the case of my parents, they started in the TX suburbs–but back in the 80s.

    I was struck when my folks moved from SoCal to the Tucson suburbs how much their neighborhood was clearly influenced by Californians moving slightly east.

  44. rachel says:

    @de stijl: I had family around there, and I always loved my visits. If it weren’t for how harsh the winters get, I’d happily retire there.