Culture Political Thought

Hail to the American Southwest

The presidency and our region

Whether you’re taking the day off (government employment) or pulling a double shift (the dreaded private sector), happy Presidents Day from the Southwest Public Policy Institute.

Let’s face it — our region hasn’t played a big part in presidential history. Only three men born in the American Southwest (i.e., Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, California, and Nevada) have served as chief executive. Can you name them all?

Bonus question: Two men born in the region were major-party presidential nominees, but failed to prevail at the ballot box. Name them. (Hints: One lost the presidency twice, and the other was born in a territory, not a state.)

The good news is, as the region grows in population (and thus, Electoral College clout), the unique concerns of the American Southwest — from water to federal control of land, energy production to the border with Mexico — are likely to play a larger role in presidential politics. The SPPI looks forward to educating candidates (or at least their staffers) on “our” issues.

By D. Dowd Muska

Dowd brings nearly 30 years of research and writing experience to the Institute. A veteran of several think tanks, he is an expert on government at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels.

Raised on an apple orchard in the Connecticut River Valley, D. Dowd Muska is a researcher, writer, editor, and commentator. His focus is the nexus of fiscal policy, economic development, and technology.

Mr. Muska is the author of numerous policy studies, and his writing has appeared in newspapers throughout the nation, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Detroit News, the Orlando Sentinel, the Cape Cod Times, the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Hartford Courant, the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Albuquerque Journal, the New Haven Register, and The Oklahoman. A graduate of The George Washington University, he lives in the Albuquerque metro area, but has started (very) early planning for a relocation to the Sierra Blanca in Lincoln County, New Mexico. He recently launched the Substack platform No Dowd About It.

2 replies on “Hail to the American Southwest”

Presidents from the Southwest are George Bush Jr., Ronald Reagan, and Lyndon Johnson.
Can’t say I know the 2 Southwesterners who lost at the ballot box.

Thanks for playing. But we asked about the presidents’ places of birth. The Gipper was from Illinois, and Bush 43 was born in my home state of Connecticut.

LBJ was born in Texas, Richard Nixon was born on “the poorest lemon ranch in Southern California,” and Ike was born in Texas just before his family moved to Kansas.

As for the two non-winners, Adlai Stevenson was born in Los Angeles and Barry Goldwater was born in the Territory of Arizona.

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