As the laissez-faire norms of the status-striving era found political expression, it was only natural that our Presidents should hail from farther out West, where the prevailing political ideology is libertarianism, a result of the rootless frontier heritage and lawlessness from the Wild West era.
The harbinger during the Great Compression was the 1964 Republican campaign of Barry Goldwater, a libertarian from Arizona. That was not yet in the anything-goes era, so his appeal was minimal. And yet the victor was also from out West, Johnson from Texas.
During the transition period, Nixon divided his time between California and New York. By the time the striver libertarian zeitgeist got going, we began to only have Presidents from out West. Reagan from California, Bush Sr. from Texas, Clinton from Arkansas (as far west as the South gets, unlike Jimmy Carter who was from Georgia), Bush Jr. from Texas, and Obama from Illinois by way of Hawaii and Indonesia.
Several challengers also came from out West -- Perot from Texas, Dole from Kansas, McCain from Arizona. Generally the challengers from back East got creamed -- Dukakis, Kerry, and Romney all from Massachusetts.
A similar shift took place during the last period of competitiveness-and-inequality, roughly 1830 through the Gilded Age. There were no states far out West, of course, but some were relatively farther west and more recently settled. Right on cue with Andrew Jackson, Presidents began to come from Tennessee, the Old Northwest (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois), and even Louisiana. During the initial period of falling competitiveness and growing equality, from Washington through John Quincy Adams, Presidents were all from the original colonies of Massachusetts or Virginia.
The present-day western trend is about to reverse itself in the 2016 election, where both frontrunners are East Coasters. Hillary Clinton has been part of the DC-NYC axis for over 20 years, and Trump is a lifelong New Yorker. Only a series of major upsets could result in the next President hailing from the laissez-faire Sun Belt -- major sabotage of the GOP nomination in favor of Rubio or Cruz, who would then face an uphill battle against Clinton.
Although the popular images of American life during the Great Compression do not involve urban East Coasters, that is in fact who was behind the Presidential wheel. The sense of national stewardship is more likely to flourish closer to where the nation was founded, among founding stock people who have roots there (not recent transplant strivers). Back East, regulating disorder trumps chaotic experimentation.
Teddy Roosevelt was a New Yorker, with Wilson nearby in New Jersey (after being raised in the Southeast). Taft and Harding came from Ohio, technically Midwestern and Appalachian, but settled early and as far east as the Midwest gets. Coolidge was a lifelong New Englander from Massachusetts. Hoover was the only Western President of the period, having been raised in Iowa and making a living around the Pacific Rim. FDR was a New Yorker. Truman was Midwestern, from Missouri. Eisenhower may have been raised in the Midwest, but had spent most of his career life with the East Coast military establishment, as well as being President of Columbia University in New York City. JFK was another lifelong New Englander from Massachusetts.
Johnson from Texas was the shape of things to come, although Nixon was only part Californian (and part New Yorker). Ford was from the eastern border of the Midwest, Michigan, and he only lucked into the Presidency. If Nixon had kept Spiro Agnew as his VP for his second term, a Marylander would have become President after his resignation. And Carter was from the southern portion of the East Coast, Georgia.
God willing, Trump will score a victory for the Archie Bunker Americans, beginning the slow healing process after excising the cancer of Sun Belt country club Republicans.
A Clinton Presidency would represent the interests of striver transplant East Coasters rather than ones rooted there, but even that worst-case scenario would be an improvement over the Pacific-raised Obama who only transplanted as far east as Chicago.
Either way, it looks like political power is beginning to shift back toward the stable eastern part of the country, and away from the rootless and lawless West.