ChrisWeigant.com

Arizona Gets A Little Bluer

[ Posted Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 – 16:33 UTC ]

Today was a notable day for Democrats, because for the first time in almost 58 years, the state of Arizona now has two Democratic senators. Senator Mark Kelly -- astronaut and husband to Gabby Giffords -- was sworn in today, since the election he just won was a special election (meaning he didn't have to wait until January to take his oath). And I for one would like to thank outgoing seat-warmer Martha McSally for personally making this possible.

In 1952, Republicans began their rise to power in Arizona by electing Barry Goldwater to the Senate. For those who don't immediately recognize his name, the best way to describe him might be "Ronald Reagan before there was a Ronald Reagan in politics." Goldwater was "Mr. Conservative" personified (yes, people actually called him that). He was also the GOP's presidential candidate in 1964 (when he got crushed by Lyndon Johnson's historic landslide). Goldwater -- and Reagan, who followed in his ideological footsteps -- had an outsize influence on the Republican Party as a whole, dragging it far to the right in much the same fashion that Bernie Sanders has recently done (in the other direction, of course) for the Democratic Party. And after Goldwater, this Senate seat was held by none other than John McCain. That is the seat the Republicans just lost, which is why it's such a big deal.

When John McCain died, his Senate seat became vacant. Eventually, Martha McSally was appointed to the position by Arizona's Republican governor. This was after McSally had unsuccessfully run for the state's other Senate seat two years ago, when she was beaten by Kyrsten Sinema. What this means is that within the space of two short years, McSally was solely responsible for Democrats being able to flip both of Arizona's Senate seats, which is a pretty rare feat in politics, you have to admit. And it's why every Democrat should sincerely thank McSally on her way out the door, for doing so much to make this possible.

Of course, McSally being a two-time loser of a candidate wasn't the only reason Arizona has changed so dramatically. The other big reason was how Republicans in the state overreached on the subject of being tough on immigration. Back in 2010 -- long before Donald Trump entered the Republican scene -- the Arizona legislature passed a law titled "S.B. 1070" which was otherwise known as the "Your papers, please" law. It essentially made it illegal for people in the state not to carry identification papers at all times, which would then have to be produced if any cop requested them for any reason whatsoever. This was a purely racist law aimed at Latinos, plain and simple. At the time, Arizona also had the most notorious county sheriff in the entire country, Joe Arpaio, who built his political career around blatant and obvious racial profiling. Like I said, this stuff was Republican doctrine long before Donald Trump ever glided down his gold escalator. The law was decried nationwide, and eventually it was softened considerably due to this backlash. But the damage had really already been done, politically.

Much like the anti-immigrant Proposition 187 in California, S.B. 1070 made it plainly obvious what the Republican Party thought about Latinos. Prop 187 passed in 1994, back when California was still a rather purple state. Since that time, it has only gotten bluer and bluer. And Arizona might just be making a similar political journey right now. Once seen as one of the reddest states in the country, it now has to be considered at least some shade of purple. Democrats haven't totally taken control (the governor is still a Republican, after all), but winning both Senate seats is a big step in that direction, you've got to admit. And one major reason has been the awakening of Latinos as a major political force (in both California and Arizona). Arpaio's naked contempt for Latinos as well as S.B. 1070 passing so angered Latinos who lived there that they've been registering to vote in big numbers ever since.

Demographically, Arizona has one thing in common with another perennial battleground state, Florida. Both see a near-constant influx of people moving in from other states, because both are seen as prime retirement destinations. Older people skew more towards the Republican Party as a general rule, so this has meant a constant and unending boost for the party's base in both states. But the similarities really end there, because the Latino population in Arizona is a lot different in makeup than in Florida. While most Latinos move to Florida from Cuba and Puerto Rico, in Arizona they typically come from Mexico and (to a lesser extent) from Central and South America. This means that immigration is a far more potent issue in Arizona than it is in Florida.

Whether this political trend will continue is still an open question, though. Will Arizona turn fully blue and become a reliable state for Democrats over the next decade or two, or will Republicans mount a comeback and regain full power once again? Nobody really knows, but so far the signs point more to a blue future than a red one. And as we saw one month ago, Arizona can actually be the key state to a victory in the Electoral College. When Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden, the race was essentially over. Even if Trump had somehow managed to eke out a win in both Pennsylvania and Georgia, Biden still would have wound up with exactly 270 Electoral College votes, because he had flipped Arizona. What this means is that it will likely be seen as a true battleground state for at least the next few presidential election cycles to come.

Perhaps it really didn't matter who the Arizona Republicans ran for Senate in the past two election cycles -- the Democrats might have won both seats anyway. Even so, I'd like to take the opportunity to personally thank Martha McSally for losing not just one of these seats to the Democrats, but both of them. It's rare that any one person has such a positive effect on the Democratic Party's fortunes -- and it's really rare when that person is a Republican. So McSally deserves our thanks for making it all possible, as we all welcome Mark Kelly to the Senate to take her place.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

41 Comments on “Arizona Gets A Little Bluer”

  1. [1] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Why is the Trump White House suddenly a very polite place to work? Everyone's going around saying "pardon me". --- Dan Rather

  2. [2] 
    SF Bear wrote:

    Regarding the previous conversation. I was suggesting each year the members of that committee elect a Chair and Vice Chair NOT the entire Senate. This is not an onerous task, it takes less than a half hour. If everyone is happy with the job the Chair is doing they stay, if not they are replaced. Easy peasy.

    It would allow for experienced leadership but avoid the Diane Finestein problem. I have seen this system work in a number of varied organizations I see no reason why it would not work in the Senate. It seems to me to achieve the goal of exploiting experience without allowing it to ossify and rot.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yeah, I know you weren't talking about the entire senate. But, you were talking about yet another election every year. Which, on its face, seems nonsensical.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It would allow for experienced leadership but avoid the Diane Finestein problem.

    What you are actually doing is looking for a solution without a real problem. I mean, didn't the DiFi situation work itself out before any real damage was done?

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I have seen this system work in a number of varied organizations I see no reason why it would not work in the Senate.

    Really?

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I mean, because the senate has become SUCH a competent and deliberative body. ;)

  7. [7] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Yeppers, gotta hand it to Ms. McSally -- best thing to happen to the Democrats in Arizona since AB 1070!

    Good point about the very different Latino populations in Arizona versus Florida. It's clear that Arizona has the potential to be more of a battleground state than Florida for the foreseeable future. Although I see Florida is also worth contesting.

    Glad that you're back in the saddle on the politics, Amigo.

  8. [8] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [6]

    Way to keep the snarkness alive and well in this Comments section, Elizabeth.

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, you know, I do try. :)

  10. [10] 
    SF Bear wrote:

    I wonder what Marta McSally thinks of Chris's encomium.

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I wish Senator Kelly well and trust he will be a very positive influence and help put the shine back on an institution that has become very tarnished.

    I'm sure he'll be another great argument against term limits!

  12. [12] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [9]

    Yes, you are trying at times.

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'll try harder, then. Heh.

  14. [14] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    This quote is from an article from The Guardian called Biden says 'America is back'. But will his team of insiders repeat their old mistakes?

    Not only the system crash of Trump’s victory in 2016 but his near-miss in 2020 mean that it is not a time for complacency. But if Biden’s presidency stands for little more than nostalgia for a lost foreign policy, it will not only miss a historic opportunity for a US reboot. Reviving old mistakes will only lead some new rough beast to slouch toward Washington, promising to save America from them.

    Y'all remember "Hope and Change?" We Progressives bought into that and I, for one, was greatly disappointed by Obama. The DNC jammed Hillary down our throats over Bernie in 2016 and campaigned on "Obama's Third term" which I strongly believe that this depressed turnout, which resulted in President Trump. America took a flyer on Trump because "Republican lite" ain't gonna get it anymore.

    Forty years ago Reagan started dismantling the New Deal. By giving tax cuts to the folks who least needed it he starved the government of resources. Bush the Younger and most recently Trump did the "rince and repeat" and now the Repugs will rediscover budgetary discipline.

    For forty years Progressives have watched the Repugs and their Democratic enablers do this to America. Biden trying to recreate the pre-Trump status quo will fail America.

    And I shall thence devote the rest of my days to making the Democratic Socialists of America a major party.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You do that! It'll keep you out of trouble. :)

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    [14],

    Oh, the Progressives, God love 'em ...

  17. [17] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: When Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden, the race was essentially over.

    Yes, sir... because the 1 electoral college vote Biden had flipped from Red to Blue in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District combined with Arizona's 11 electoral college votes flipping from Red to Blue meant that Trump almost had to run the table on the remaining states where millions of absentee ballots had already been cast and had been sitting in boxes for weeks and weeks and need only be counted.

    When Arizona was called for Biden, it was just a matter of time to count those multiple millions of ballots that had been sitting there for weeks wherein the GOP had sued certain states in order to keep them from being counted until election day... but the number of outstanding mail-in ballots and the fact that they would skew heavily toward Biden was already known.

    The GOP sabotaged the delivery of ballots by the USPS and the timely counting of the ballots by design. Anyone who doesn't believe they knew they had lost the election need only review Trump's speech wherein he whined about going to the Supreme Court and wanting "all voting to stop" and not wanting "them to find any ballots at four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list."

    These GOP talking heads really believe their voters are stupid... witnessed by the fact they're now claiming that Trump won in a 400+ electoral vote landslide and that Trump won California. *shakes head* If any of the Trump cult are buying into the utter asinine and nonsensical blathering conspiracy bullshit that Trump actually won California, then how could we dispute the GOP's assessment of their voters' intelligence?

  18. [18] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: So McSally deserves our thanks for making it all possible, as we all welcome Mark Kelly to the Senate to take her place.

    Never bet against an astronaut or a twin. :)

  19. [19] 
    Kick wrote:

    ListenWhenYouHear
    1

    Why is the Trump White House suddenly a very polite place to work? Everyone's going around saying "pardon me". --- Dan Rather

    Heh.

  20. [20] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Hey Kick, did you say that you're a twin? I am a twin -- I have a Fraternal twin brother.

  21. [21] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    This, from another Guardian article titled "Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world

    There was, from the beginning, an inevitable relationship between the utopian ideal of the free market and the dystopian present in which we find ourselves; between the market as unique discloser of value and guardian of liberty, and our current descent into post-truth and illiberalism.

    As mentioned previously, Obama talked like a Progressive yet governed like another "more of the same" President. In 2016 Hillary was the arch-Neoliberalist running against Trump, and America rejected her.

    If Joe offers up more of the same Democrats (and ultimately, America) will be the worst for it. Joe needs to model FDR not Obama -- our situation demands nothing less!

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Is he just like you?

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The majority of Americans are NOT Progressives.

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Which is primarily why Biden is the president-elect.

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm with Biden ... his cabinet is already progressive enough. Ahem.

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm also in a bit of a mood, so ...

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    ... I should probably just call it a night. :)

  28. [28] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (23,24)-
    Nonsense.

    Most Americans are progressive when polled on individual issues, like medicare for all.

    The main reason Biden won is he was running against Trump. If he was running against a progressive in the general election he would have lost. (He only won the primary because the Deathocrat establishment controlled the primary.)

    Only 36% of Biden voters said they were voting FOR Biden. 58% said they were voting against Trump.

  29. [29] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz (25,26,27)-
    A cabinet chock full of lobbyists and the usual suspects when it comes to serving the big money interests is progressive enough?

    Delusion is not a mood, it's a condition- SEEK HELP.

    But it is time for all of us to call it a night on the delusion that Biden will be anything but a more of the same nothing will fundamentally change servant of the big money interests.

    Wake up. Wise up. Rise up.

    Get Real.

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    For the time being what it is, Don, a Progressive couldn't win a primary, let alone a presidential election.

    But, let's not get caught up on labels, shall we? :)

  31. [31] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    For the time being what it is?

    So a progressive could not win a primary because with time being what it is the big money interests control the parties and primaries.

    Let's not get caught up in labels.

    Let's get caught up in changing the dynamics so that the time being what it is becomes the time being what it was and the time being what it is in the future can be different from what it was instead of more of the same nothing will fundamentally change that it is now continuing to be what it is.

  32. [32] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [29]

    Don Harris wrote,

    But it is time for all of us to call it a night on the delusion that Biden will be anything but a more of the same nothing will fundamentally change servant of the big money interests

    Yeppers, hope you're wrong wrong wrong but this is what I'm afraid of.

  33. [33] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [23]

    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    The majority of Americans are NOT Progressives.

    The majority of Americans support Progressive policies but apparently don't support being labeled "Progressive."

  34. [34] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Short vids from The Lincoln Project,

    Pulpit

    This second one is also Georgia runoff specific:

    On the Ballot

    These are more general interest:

    Whispers 3

    And, lastly:

    Remove "Republic" from "Republican"

  35. [35] 
    Kick wrote:

    MtnCaddy
    14

    Y'all remember "Hope and Change?" We Progressives bought into that and I, for one, was greatly disappointed by Obama.

    So-called "Progressives" who are seemingly happy with nothing less than "revolution" need to remember/consider the fact that our Madisonian system of checks and balances was purposely designed to prevent the type of "hostile takeover" they had slowly yet successfully managed -- with invaluable assistance from the enemy of our enemy -- to execute against "The Crown."

    The DNC jammed Hillary down our throats over Bernie in 2016...

    Bernie Sanders made the choice to run for president in the Democratic primary even though he had never been a member of the Democratic Party in his entire life and had spent a great number of decades disparaging Democrats. Indeed, every time Bernie had talked about overthrowing the Democratic establishment, it was cringeworthy to the majority of Democrats who are not a so-called "Socialist" like Bernie and his Liberty Union Party pals and hold political views best described as "Centrist" or "Moderate."

    Bernie Sanders failed in his self-defined quest to "overthrow the Democratic establishment" because he failed to garner the votes necessary in order to do so... specifically, Bernie failed to win over voters in the South. Meanwhile, no one in the DNC forced any voters to choose one candidate over another in the voting booth. Bernie had four years between 2016 and 2020 to gain the support in the South required to win the Democratic nomination, but he failed to garner the necessary votes.
    Despite all the noise the activists generate on social media and their insistence that Bernie had more supporters because he was raising more money, the votes proving that support never managed to materialize. That is because the majority of Democrats are indeed "Moderates," and while they might not be as loud as the "Progressives" on Twitter and Facebook, they definitely will and do show up to the polls and cast their votes like clockwork... and in this day and age, you cannot hope to win the Democratic nomination nor "overthrow the Democratic establishment" without those votes on Super Tuesday and those reliable moderate and pragmatic voters in the South. Super Tuesday. :)

    For forty years Progressives have watched the Repugs and their Democratic enablers do this to America. Biden trying to recreate the pre-Trump status quo will fail America.

    Might I suggest that "Progressives" referring to Democrats as "enablers" of "Repugs" and self-described "Socialists" prattling on and on about how they're going to "overthrow the Democratic establishment" are ignoring the fact that the so-called "establishment" are the voters you're disparaging in unflattering terms every time you refer to them in those terms. Not a winning formula.

    And I shall thence devote the rest of my days to making the Democratic Socialists of America a major party.

    That would likely be preferable to the Democratic Party and their voters whom you're disparaging as "enablers" and whining about because your preferred candidate failed to garner their votes... twice. The voters of the Democratic Party are the "establishment" who choose the candidate, and no one forced them to vote either one way or another. :)

  36. [36] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    15|16

    You do that! It'll keep you out of trouble. :)

    Heh. I don't understand their seeming expectation that the Democratic Party "establishment" isn't doing enough to allow the hostile takeover of their Party by their preferred candidate who isn't and never has been a Democrat and prattles on and on about "overthrowing the Democratic establishment."

    Oh, the Progressives, God love 'em ...

    If she really did love them, she likely would have given them the good sense not to say stupid things.

    Bernie Sanders
    @BernieSanders

    I've got news for the Republican establishment. I've got news for the Democratic establishment. They can't stop us.

    7:02 PM * Feb 21, 2020 * Twitter Web App

    https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/1231021453270769664

    *
    I've got news for the Socialist establishment. The voters are the "establishment." You can't stop them. :)

  37. [37] 
    Kick wrote:

    MtnCaddy
    20

    Hey Kick, did you say that you're a twin? I am a twin -- I have a Fraternal twin brother.

    You and me and MyVoice are all fraternal twins. :)

  38. [38] 
    Kick wrote:

    MtnCaddy
    21

    In 2016 Hillary was the arch-Neoliberalist running against Trump, and America rejected her.

    Similar to when somebody overthinks something is the practice of oversimplifying them. Try not doing it.

    Only in the United States would the female candidate who received multiple more millions of votes than the con artist lying prick be described as "America rejected her."

    If "America rejected her," then America has most definitely rejected Bernie Sanders and the Socialist establishment. <--- Yes, that was intentional and meant to be thought provoking. :)

  39. [39] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    28

    Most Americans are progressive when polled on individual issues, like medicare for all.

    Incorrect. Most Americans are not Progressives when polled at the only poll that matters where they vote for a candidate... unless they're stupid and vote for themselves.

    The main reason Biden won is he was running against Trump.

    The main reason Biden won is because the majority of voters selected his name out of the myriad of multiple candidates they could have chosen. Biden/Harris and Trump/Pence were not the only candidates for president on anyone's ballot. There were multiple choices that people could have made, yet they voted for Biden/Harris. Not complicated.

    If he was running against a progressive in the general election he would have lost.

    Opinions are like assholes.

    (He only won the primary because the Deathocrat establishment controlled the primary.)

    Bullshit. Biden won the primary for the same reason he won the general: He received the most votes of the people in multiple states that combined to represent the majority of electoral votes necessary to win the requisite necessary total.

  40. [40] 
    Kick wrote:

    MtnCaddy
    33

    The majority of Americans support Progressive policies but apparently don't support being labeled "Progressive."

    Good form, MC. Labels matter. Rhetoric matters.

    The millionaire Bernie Sanders and his Socialist establishment were the Big Money candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, outspending all the other candidates... until Mike Bloomberg entered the race in November and took no donations at all and therefore by definition was a Small Money candidate beholden to no one.

    Nevertheless, despite Small Money billionaire Mike Bloomberg spending exponentially more than several of the other candidates combined and Big Money millionaire Socialist establishment Sanders spending double the amount of the eventual Democratic nominee, Joe Biden won the so-called "Democratic establishment" that is commonly referred to as the majority of voters. :)

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Heh.

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