Four contests. In four weeks. Four candidates left.
By the time Florida holds its presidential primary on Jan. 31, not a single western vote will have been cast toward picking the next Republican nominee. Nevada will hold its caucuses in the first week in February, too little too late to secure prominence for the forgotten West.
And both national political conventions will be on the southeastern coast this year, about as far away from Utah as it gets.
In 1981, Ronald Reagan broke protocol and held his inauguration on the western front of the U.S. Capitol, to face his western base constituency. That tradition survives to this day.
Since then, most of the West has been playing second-fiddle:
Politicians fly over the states between their East Coast and California fundraisers, where they eat rubber chickens instead of Western steer.
Montana's 2006 Senate race, which Jon Tester, D-Mont., won, was one of two deciding races which gave his party control of the chamber. Yet his victory was barely a blip on many of the nation's televisions.
The last Republican nominee, John McCain, was such a national (and D.C.) figure that few identified him with his Arizona roots.
When Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., was chosen in 2008 as president Obama's secretary of the interior, the eastern media pundits scoffed at his cowboy hat and bolo tie as quaint symbols of the "Wild West."
The idea of a western regional primary is nothing new. But it bears repeating.
Gov. Jon Huntsman, R-Utah, previously teamed with Gov. Bill Richardson, R-N.M., in a bipartisan effort to encourage up to eight states to hold an impactful western regional primary in early Feb. 2008.
"By jumping to the front of the primary pack," AP reporter Brock Vergakis wrote in 2006, "Utah leaders believe the West's voice would finally be heard."
Alas, Utah's Feb. 5, 2008 primary was on "Super Tuesday." Without its team of neighbors, it was just one of the crowd.
Then when Huntsman announced his candidacy for president in 2011, he did so not in his home state but in a New Jersey park overlooking the Statue of Liberty. (To be fair, Reagan announced from there too.)
The case for a prominent western state (or multi-state regional) primary is not that states like Utah face different issues than Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. It's because Western states can provide new perspective and solutions to shared national issues.
Utah is replete with national parks and national forests. Outside of its northern region, mining is an issue in the Rio Tinto Kennecott and there is a legacy effect of mining near Salt Lake City.
People in Utah will be the first to point out that economic development need not be in conflict with environmental or ecological quality.
They know that a careful balance can be struck to preserve lost tourism, recreation values, water quality and wildlife impacts. It is also difficult to compare the long-term intrinsic value of landscapes with dollars from economic development.
Immigration is a hot button issue in the border states. Yet in Utah, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, broke with some colleagues by suggesting there may be better ways to deal with the problem than the state's immigration law -- which currently faces a U.S. Department of Justice suit.
The mountain states, National Conference of State Legislatures data shows, receive an economic boost from oil production and refining, helping them run budget surpluses unlike many other states which are still mired in deficits.
Until the primary calendar is shaken up, candidates can ignore such multi-dimensional approaches to issues, in favor of the same old talk (ethanol subsidies, anyone?).
Far be it for me to suggest how to implement a permanent, early western primary. It's up to Utah's legislature and both national parties to fashion a solution. Congressman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, 1st District, doesn't make that decision. Sadly, neither do the residents of Utah.
But the first step is acknowledging that the electoral train has all but left the western station.
Adam Silbert, an attorney, served as a deputy field organizer for the 2008 Obama campaign.