Many noteworthy Republican politicians have come from the Southwest during the second half of the 20th century, including several Presidents of the United States. They have espoused conservative values, which brought them into conflict with the more liberal-leaning representatives of the East. They disagreed on a number of beliefs and policies, and each side had scored multiple victories. However, most Republican presidents after the war adhered to the new positions, and some of them, such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, came from the Southwest. This discussion will describe the principal differences that led Southwest Republicans to become popular and challenge the liberal establishment.
Rhetoric was a significant part of the change that led Republicans to form around the politicians from the newly empowered states. Despite the definition of conservatism suggesting that adherents of the view should oppose change, people like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan moved for radical change and opposed the existing order. They were able to capitalize on similar sentiments that were present in significant portions of the population and to convince them to organize under the banner of the Republicans. The ideas came into opposition with the existing liberal leadership of the party and ultimately won. Republicans took on a new direction and proceeded to become a powerful adversary to the Democrats.
Not all Southwest politicians were necessarily focused on internal politics, however. George W. Bush drew much criticism for his exceptionalist and military-oriented policies that led to several invasions of other sovereign countries. Ronald Reagan promoted insurgent rhetoric but ultimately furthered the interests of the conservative elite and large businesses over that of the workers. Both approaches were inconsistent with the opinions of the Northeast, who favored a less libertarian policy and opposed foreign intervention.
Ultimately, the Southwest introduced a new direction to the Republican party, one that eventually saw its followers win numerous presidential elections. The opposition of politicians such as Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan to the status quo was at odds with the more liberal members from the Northeast. Furthermore, the Republican establishment of the time opposed the ideas of foreign intervention and a smaller government championed by the Southwest politicians of the time. Nevertheless, the movement gained considerable traction and was able to influence American history considerably.