The Midwest, the heartland of America, which had a massive effect on American politics in much of the last century, is sadly becoming less influential and significant due to lack of population growth and the increased power of the Sunbelt!
The Midwest–defined as Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas–had members in both houses of Congress that had a tremendous effect on American political debate– as well as Governors who became nationally important, and Presidential candidates and winners of the office!
Just a short list of influential politicians from the Midwest would include Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, and Barack Obama!
Presidential candidates who lost from the Midwest include William Jennings Bryan, James Cox, Robert LaFollette, Sr., Alf Landon, Wendell Willkie, Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, and Walter Mondale!
Other prominent Midwesterners include Robert Taft, Arthur Vandenberg, Birch Bayh, Paul Douglas, Charles Percy, Tom Harkin, Stuart Symington, George Norris, Arthur Capper, Philip Hart, Carl Levin, William Proxmire, Russ Feingold, Eugene McCarthy, Paul Wellstone and numerous others too many to name!
The Midwest reached its peak in influence and Congress in the 1890s, but continued to have great influence for many decades, even though their population percentage within America continued to decline!
The Midwest had 143 Congressional seats in the House of Representatives a century ago, but will now probably have only 94! The Midwest will have only about a fifth of the seats in Congress, as compared to almost 25 percent in the West, 36 percent in the South, and a measly 18 percent in the Northeast, which is also suffering in the population percentage decline big time!
While Barack Obama is from the Midwest, the odds of another Midwesterner being President is remote, with all Presidents since Johnson, except Ford, being from the Sunbelt–and Ford was not elected!
The economic problems of the Midwest, suffering more heavily than most parts of the country from the Great Recession, will have less attention with its decline, and they will have far less influence in the future Presidential elections because of fewer electoral votes!
The effect on American politics of the decline of the Midwest will be felt throughout the nation, as migration South and West continues unabated!