Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cheyenne and Laramie will be part of the Front Range Megaregion by 2050

Word comes from south of the border that a group of Colorado counties wants to secede. The effort is being led by commissioners in Weld County, which butts up against Laramie County in Wyoming, home of the capital city, Cheyenne, wherein I dwell.

No word yet on the new state's name. But fellow blogger Michael Bowman (Colorado Pols) labeled it The Silly State of Dumphuckistan, which seems appropriate.

I'm pleased that the is happening in my home state of Colorado instead of my adopted state of Wyoming. It's usually Republican legislators from Casper or the Big Horn Basin who are proposing dumb stuff in public, such as labeling wolves terrorists or buying an aircraft carrier for our mythical land-based navy. Sometimes its our new county commissioners of the Tea Party persuasion, the "Agenda 21 wants to take away my guns and make me live in a Hobbit home" crowd. So it's refreshing that this particular bit of nonsense comes from Colorado.

What's got these people fired up?

Liberals making laws. First of all, Liberals should not control both legislative bodies and the governor's seat. Second, they should not be making laws for the entire state. Third of all, they should not be making laws that could possibly curtail fracking, limit gun ownership and promote alternative energy. There's probably a bunch of other things but that should do it for now.

I don't blame the rural, conservative residents of this proposed new state for being angry. I live in the most populated city in the most populated county in the least populated state. As a Democrat, I have to put up with stupid laws by the rural conservative majority that abrogate workers' rights, demonize gays, feed the egos and pocketbooks of the energy companies, prohibit Obamacare, OK silencers for hunting rifles, and so on. I would secede from the State of Wyoming if I thought that I could work up the liberal minority enough to pull it off.

If I had my druthers, I would advocate for a state that placed Cheyenne and Laramie across the border into Colorado. For the most part, these two southeast Wyoming cities have more in common with Greeley and Fort Collins that they do with Lusk, Worland and Afton. Rural Wyomingites already call Cheyenne north Denver or a suburb of Fort Collins. Thing is, we already are part of one of the "emerging megaregions" that will control American politics by 2050. I will be gone by then, but my offspring will live in a reliably blue part of Wyoming. Look at this map:

The Front Range Megaregion with stretch from Laramie and Cheyenne in Wyoming to Albuquerque in New Mexico. It will vote reliably blue and will control politics in three big Rocky Mountain states. That's already happening in CO and NM. Wyoming has some catching up to do. Laramie County with its 90,000-plus population already has one-sixth of the state's population. If that keeps up and we get to, say, a million people in Wyoming in 2050, Laramie County will have a population of 167,000 with most of them in the city of Cheyenne. Since it's tough to find a city of more than 100,000 that votes Republican, Cheyenne should be reliably Democratic. As the article in The Atlantic said, "it's not people that make cities blue, it's cities that make people blue." That's because city dwellers live with within a rainbow of other cultures and sexual persuasions.When you live and work with Latinos and African-Americans and Asians and gays and lesbians and tattooed young people and cranky old folks it's hard to discriminate against them.

Democrats only hope in SeWy (Southeast Wyoming) is to keep up the drumbeat of economic development, continue to beef up our infrastructure, refurbish our downtown to make it friendly for brewpubs, cafes and boutique hotels, improve our educational system and ban the Fox Network's blowhards from our TVs and radios.

Then you can color us blue for the long haul.

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