Mountain states

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Mountain States

Red states show the core of the Mountain states, states shown as pink may or may not be included in the Mountain states, and thus their inclusion or exclusion varies from source to source.

The Mountain states form one of the nine geographic divisions within the United States which are officially recognized by that country's census bureau.

The division consists of eight states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Together with the Pacific States of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, the Mountain States constitute the broader region of the West, one of the four regions the United States Census Bureau formally recognizes (the Northeast, South and Midwest being the other three). The word "Mountain" refers to the Rocky Mountains, which run north-south throughout the division, and also to Mountain Standard Time, which all of the division save Nevada in its entirety and the Idaho panhandle observe; in addition, Arizona is one hour behind the other Mountain States (but for the aforementioned exceptions) from the first Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October, because Daylight Saving Time is not used in Arizona.

Since the late 1960s, the Mountain states have moved to challenge the Southern states for the distinction of being the nation's most politically Republican geographical entity; a large part of this trend has been caused by the arrival of individuals from the more Democratic Pacific states, especially California, from that time onward.

The brand of conservatism espoused by some of these West Coast transplants has been particularly extreme, as many Neo-Nazi groups have established headquarters in parts of Idaho and Montana. However, there is a clear distinction from the American Bible Belt, often being much more libertarian and based upon individualism. Some argue its foundation is the Wild West and solitary cowboy traditions. It is argued that legalized medicinal marijuana, prostitution, gambling and less opposition to same-sex marriage are symptoms of this brand of individualism. The exceptions may be in the heavily conservative Mormon areas, such as Utah and parts of Idaho and Arizona.

The Republican monopoly on the mountain states eased a bit in 2004. Democrats gained control of the state legislatures in Montana and Colorado, won back a House and Senate seat in Colorado and the governorship in Montana. New Mexico has become more Democratic than the rest of the area recently, having voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in 1992, 1996 and 2000, and John Kerry, although he didn't carry any of the mountain states, gave a stronger showing than Al Gore in Colorado, and made it a close race in Nevada and New Mexico.

Howard Dean has argued that the reason the Republican Party suffered significant loses during the 2004 Presidential election in these states was due to a backlash against authoritarian power, with campaigns often emphasizing banning many individual liberties in the name of protecting traditional Christian values. Democrats have felt the Mountain States, especially Colorado, Montana, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico are a place where they can grow in the future.

In their geopolitical book The Day America Told The Truth, James Patterson and Peter Kim place most of the territory found within the Mountain States in a moral region they label Marlboro Country, with the division's eastern and southern salients being slotted into their Granary and L.A.-Mex regions respectively.

Geographic regions of the United States
Central | Coastal States | Deep South | East | East Coast | Gulf Coast | Mid-Atlantic | Midwest
Mountain States | New England | North | Northeast | Northwest | Pacific | South | South Atlantic
South Central | Southeast | Southwest | Upper Midwest | West | West Coast
Multinational regions: Border States | Great Lakes | Great Plains | Pacific Northwest
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