Crossposted at DemocraticDiva.com
I got forwarded an email by a Dem consultant earlier. It was an exchange between a Dem campaign manager and an editor at the AZ Republic. I’m not calling this particular editor out because this is endemic problem at the paper and it is clearly coming from the top. Here’s the editor’s brusque reply to the manager’s query about general election endorsements:
We are not endorsing any legislative races in the general election. It’s a matter of staffing, time and resources.
Oh really? They had plenty of staff, time, and resources to devote to endorsing in the primaries, not to mention endless op-eds hand-wringing over them and cajoling those precious “independent” voters to ride in and save “moderate” Republicans. And now they don’t have anything to spare for general races? Not even for the handful of competitive ones like the House races in LD9, 18, and 28 (apologies if I’m forgetting other LDs)? This is not only unfair to Democrats who didn’t have primaries, thus never got interviewed for the primary endorsement, but it is incredibly dismissive of the majority of voters who show up for the general election. Basically the Republic is telling the general voters in LD28 that there’s no difference between Dr. Eric Meyer (D) and former Rick Santorum staffer and Tea Party darling Shawnna Bolick (R). Same goes in LD18 for teacher and community leader Mitzi Epstein (D) and Jill Norgaard (R), who is so rabidly anti-choice she doesn’t even support exceptions for the life of the woman, as well as Dr. Randall Friese (D), the surgeon who saved Congresswoman Giffords’ life and who is running to be a strong advocate for health care and Ethan Orr (R), who (yes) is not the worst Republican in the Legislature but that’s hardly high praise.
My theory is that the Arizona establishment’s fixation on primaries, and their near-religious certainty that all elections are won in them is of a piece with their belief that Clean Elections caused all the extremism here. It’s myopia and elitism. The idea is that if they could just get those damn unruly activist base primary voters out of the way, moderation would reign in Arizona! They’re wrong about that but appear to be uninterested in pursuing an actual solution to the problem with our Legislature, which would be to have Democrats take over at least one chamber. The invariable response I get to that from them is that it would be impossible for that to happen. Well guys, this ongoing project of rescuing the GOP from the radicals via primaries doesn’t seem to be working either. The thing that has moderated the Legislature in recent years was the addition of enough Dems to deprive them of a veto-proof majority.