The Democratic Party has taken a shine to the West of late, seeing the region as its best shot to grow the base. Indeed, changing demographics -- rising populations of minorities and educated whites, and a declining white working class -- have put a few formerly solid red states into play for Democrats in presidential and statewide contests. Colorado and Nevada are crucial presidential swing states this year, as in 2008, and competitive Senate races are being fought in Montana, Nevada and New Mexico. A look back at presidential election results is a useful reminder that the Western political landscape has always been dynamic. The West Coast's reliably blue hue, for instance, is a relatively recent phenomenon. And the times, they are still a changin': Shocking as it may seem, even Arizona is becoming more competitive.
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