As Democrats picked up the pieces last week, they were asking each other a simple question: Where do we go from here? The answer, thankfully, is just as simple. Go to Grand Junction, Colorado, a beautiful town off of Interstate 70, about halfway between Salt Lake City and Denver.

After pouring over voting tallies from every county in every state, I found 2.33 million marginalized Democrats in need of rescuing. That's the number of people who voted for Kerry in counties that overwhelmingly--by 70 percent or more-- picked Bush. I'm talking about the 52 Kerry voters in Garfield County, Montana, which went to Bush by 88 percent. We need those 52 voters along with the rest of the 2,332,460 Kerry voters trapped in rural red counties to move to Grand Junction by 2008. Rent a U-Haul and get going. Concentrating marginalized Democrats, and creating just one more urban hub in our country--Grand Junction!--will create one more solid blue state.

Grand Junction is a quaint, centrally located swing-state town (check out visitgrandjunction.com), easily accessible from backward, Bush-loving places like Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming. Once 2.33 million Democrats settle in Grand Junction they'll form an insta-metropolis. This new city--which will be the fourth largest in the U.S., if all 2.33 million stranded Kerry voters take the plunge--will join with Denver in swinging Colorado, easily turning the state's nine electoral votes blue just in time for 2008. Hopefully, with the help of another even swingier state, like Iowa or Ohio, the newly blue Colorado will put the Democrats over the top to win the White House. But it gets even better: During the next census, in 2010, the new residents of Grand Junction will be counted, and Colorado's now solidly blue electoral-vote share will grow, securing the Democratic future of America by becoming the West's Massachusetts, a well-populated true-blue state. As a side benefit, we'll be siphoning off people from the red states, dinging their economies, and hopefully lowering their electoral-vote share.

Colonizing Grand Junction, which already has about 42,000 residents, should be quite simple: First, the 2,332,460 Kerry voters living in counties that voted at least 70 percent for Bush need to take a look at their surroundings. Do you 250 people who voted for Kerry in Glascock County, Georgia, really like living amongst 1,016 Bush supporters? Moreover, do you like living in the county now best known for a stupid high-school student at Glascock County Consolidated School No. 1 who brought a poisoned cookie to school last month and made eight other students sick?

How about you 221 Kerry fans in Haskell County, Kansas, where 85 percent of your neighbors picked Bush? What's so great about a county where a proposal to allow the sale of liquor and wine failed on November 2? Churches in your town serve nonalcoholic grape juice on Sundays, for godssake. And let's hope that you 7 people who voted for Kerry in Granby, Vermont, are willing to ditch the 45 Bush-Cheney dimwits you live among. Fuck 'em. Bid them adieu, and get out of town. (While you're at it, Granby Kerry-ites, go rescue the lone Kerry voter stranded in Dennistown, Maine--a tiny town where that voter is outnumbered by 20 Bush voters. Once you've rescued your Dennistown cohort, head West.) And I'm afraid this message applies to 2,089 Washingtonians--Democrats from Adams, Columbia, and Garfield counties: Don't continue to live in a part of the country that will never, ever value things like art, education, diversity, or mass transit. Sure, we'd love to have you in Seattle (we've been welcoming your kind for years), but Washington's already blue. You're needed in Grand Junction.

Hopefully, all 2.33 million marooned Democrats will see the wisdom in colonizing Colorado. Ethnic populations have used this strategy for centuries, clumping up in dense geographic pockets, both for camaraderie and political power. The gays have gone this route, settling in places like San Francisco, New York, and Seattle. Hell, even the "value voters"--i.e., the Christian radical right--have adopted this method, starting in 1993 when Colorado Springs lured Focus on the Family with the promise of cheap land and a like-minded populace. That town now boasts 110 evangelical organizations, and has the ear of red-state politicians. If every last stranded Kerry voter headed to aptly named Grand Junction, together they'd form the biggest city behind New York, L.A., and Chicago. And hell, even if only half of those lost Kerry voters are willing to move cross-country for the benefit of the nation, Grand Junction would still become the 10th biggest city in the U.S. Either way, the sheer concentration of Democrats will certainly carry political power.

The scenic mountains of Western Colorado would add a laid-back--dare we say rural?--twist to the urban culture we've celebrated in these pages. By becoming a big city in the central-most mountain state, Grand Junction would be the perfect compromise for rural Democrats, a middle ground between Elkhart County, Indiana (where an even 70 percent of the vote went for Bush), and Chicago's Cook County (where 70 percent picked Kerry). Exiled residents from red and blue states alike will feel right at home on Grand Junction's Main Street, not far from the Colorado River.

But we cannot expect 2.33 million stranded Kerry voters to undertake this project alone. Quitting a job--if the 832 Kerry voters in Grant County, Oregon, even have jobs, given the area's record-high unemployment rate of 16.4 percent earlier this year--is a scary prospect. Packing up a household, moving, and finding housing and jobs in Grand Junction won't be easy, either. That's where already established urban Democrats need to step in. Through an "Adopt a Stranded Democrat" program, administered by a nonprofit or 527--MoveOn.org might be looking for something to do--urbanites from places like New York, Austin, Minneapolis, and Portland can sponsor avowed Kerry-voters from Hayes, Nebraska, or Plute, Utah. If the approximately 40 Seattle Dems in each 43rd District precinct who caucused last year pooled their money, it would cost them just $125 each to help a rural D scrape together $5,000 to put toward moving costs, first and last months' rent on a Grand Junction apartment, or even a down payment on a piece of Colorado real estate. That's less than 35 cents a day!

As for securing jobs for the new Colorado residents, the colonization influx itself should fuel a healthy economy, especially in the construction, real estate, and service sectors. Demand for municipal employees will surge as the city builds an urban infrastructure. And larger industries--biotech, anyone?--are sure to flock to this new hub of brainpower.

Grand Junction itself will also need our help. Though the town boasts the four-year Mesa State College and the Walker Field Airport--great amenities for the current residents--the civic infrastructure will need shoring up. L.A. can help Grand Junction set up an international airport; New York, of course, can offer tips on mass transit and sanitation; and Boston can offer advice on setting up an ivy-league educational institution. Every metropolitan area can loan a few artists, activists, musicians, and politicians to help jump start the culture and civic discourse, and I'm sure an alt-weekly would be happy to set up shop. As for Seattle, I say we loan city librarian Deborah Jacobs. She can build another grand new library in Grand Junction.

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