How to turn a state liberal

Colorado’s progressive miracle is a road map to a much brighter America. Here are 9 steps behind the transformation

As Colorado goes, so goes the nation. With the culture and demographics of the Intermountain West so rapidly changing, this motto about my home state has become conventional wisdom in national electoral politics, and for good reason. After all, the square state is the capital of the so-called Rocky Mountain Empire, a region that is fast becoming the political equivalent of a test market for the whole country. And if it is true that the way Colorado goes is the way the nation as a whole goes, then America better get ready for some extremely large changes.

Part of Colorado’s story of change comes from the statehouse where Democrats control both the governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature. But as much of the story comes from outside the Capitol, where organic grass-roots uprisings are obliterating old political assumptions.

For decades, this was a state whose electoral topography was reliable Republican and whose politics was dominated by an unholy coalition of cultural conservatives and oil and gas interests. In the 1980s and 1990s, it became the national conservative movement in a microcosmic petri dish, passing socially conservative constitutional amendments and a so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights aimed at pulverizing the public sector.

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