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Nampa Urban Blues?

One piece of the regional theory of political development we’ve been developing over the last several years suggests that an urban state of mind is a usual precursor to Blue/Democratic voting patterns. We’ll get into what that state of mind entails elsewhere; for now, we’d suggest that simply a population that has clustered isn’t sufficient. More is required.

The city of Meridian, Idaho, for example, has somewhere upwards of 50,000 people, enough to develop an urban core, but there’s little to no ballot evidence that any transition from its traditional Republican core to Democratic has occurred. (If anything, it has become darker red.) A drive around Meridian, which in essence is a large suburb, helps make clear why.

Old Nampa Neighborhood
Old Nampa Neighborhood map/Old Nampa Neighborhood Association

Nampa may be another matter. It is only recently, in the last decade, a large city (probably approaching 80,000 now). At present, there’s little voting evidence of any transition. In central Nampa, there’s long been a small – consistently outvoted – core of Democrats among railroad workers, Hispanic voters and some others; a few precincts there have gone Democratic. But it rarely has amounted to enough to seriously influence, say, a legislative race – and never at all in the last two decades.

But the logic of urban mentality, given the historic core of Nampa which is undergoing a renaissance, suggests that could be changing. (We noted last fall in a post-election post that central Nampa could be a political place to watch in the years ahead.)

We mention this by way of pointing to a provocative post in the Mountain Goat Report, which is emerging as one of the better Idaho political blogs. In its current post, it focuses on the Old Nampa Neighborhood Association, which is trying to spruce up its corner of Nampa in a way similar to that of the Boise North End Neighborhood Association a generation ago. Many factors went into the development of the Boise North End in its transformation from Republican to Democratic bastion, but one clearly was the development of a local urbn mentality, and its association was one of the keys to that.

The Mountain Goat post gets into the Nampa developments with some detail, of changes that could be in their embryonic stage but are notable regardless. It’s worth a good read.

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One Comment

  1. Akitagod Akitagod March 2, 2007

    I came across this excellent post just the other day — its an excellent analysis of exactly what is occurring in central Nampa. Specifically, your comparison between Meridian and Nampa are precise. As a very active member of the Old Nampa effort, I can tell you that we often joke about being the “anti-Meridian”. You are also right to identify recent developments in the context that you have, meaning that we are largely a progressive group that tend to lean left in our political views. Part of the attraction to our neighborhood is founded, as you point out, to the fact that we’ve always been a pro-Union working-class Democrat precinct.
    It’s an uphill battle for now, but we’re making inroads with the city. One of the larger issues we’re starting to work on is the establishment of similar associations in our sister neighbors in the central core, and efforts to start a voter initiative which would finally break Nampa into voter districts for City Council seats. Don’t be surprised if future leaders start to emerge from organizations like ONNA.

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