It has come to this. Today’s America (and Arizona) is the result of 40 years of conservative southern strategizing, negotiating Faustian bargains with segregationist Democrats and the evangelical community. It is the result of dog whistle ads like the “Willie Horton” ad in 1988, obstructing two Democratic administrations on issues like infrastructure, healthcare, raising wages, and immigration that the people wanted. It is the result of gerrymandering congressional districts that give them majorities when the Democrats win the national vote, and embracing underhanded tactics with domestic and (in the case of 2016) foreign sources that “stole” the election from the people’s choice for President.
Our National Situation
Today’s Republican leadership does not represent our best, brightest, or beacons of morality.
- Today we have a popular vote loser President who was endorsed by the KKK. Through May 2018, he has averaged approximately seven misleading or false statements a day.
- His 2016 campaign team has come under the scrutiny of Special Counsel Robert Mueller with his second campaign manager (Paul Manafort) in jail, his first National Security Advisor (Micheal Flynn) entering a guilty plea, and other campaign members indicted, pleaded guilty, or on their way to jail.
- He routinely chastizes our allies, particularly with women leaders, while embracing authoritarian strongmen he clearly wants to emulate.
- His cabinet is littered with the worst and the dumbest, individuals looking to take this country back to the Gilded Age and a time before environmental regulation.
With regard to Congress, we have a Senate Majority Leader, who, in his zeal to put his parties candidates on the Supreme and lower federal courts, put up roadblocks to revealing the Russians were meddling in the election. We have a number two Republican Senate leader who this week blocked a bipartisan initiative supporting the intelligence communities assessment of the Russian cyber threat.
We have one retiring legislator, Trey Gowdy, who spent two and a half years and millions of dollars on an investigation into Benghazi that yielded no indictments. He also called for the end of the Mueller investigation after only one year and over 20 indictments and several guilty pleas.
- We have the Republican House that just defeated an amendment to give the states greater funding and support in combatting election interference.
- We have a chairperson of the House Science Committee that thinks that falling rocks are causing rising sea levels, and not global warming.
- We have Neo Nazis and white supremacists, inspired by the current occupant of the White House, openly espousing their views as Republican Candidates. One of them, Steve King from Iowa, will not distance himself from the despicable groups he tweets with.
- Finally, we have a member of the “Freedom Caucus, Jim Jordan, who has been accused of not taking sufficient action while a wrestling coach in Ohio where boys said they were sexually assaulted.
The Party of Lincoln is no more. In its place in Arizona and across the country is a cancerous entity that is reactionary, undemocratic, white nativist, and ultra-conservative, and xenophobic. Their hope is that the people, who do not as a percentage support them on most issues, will fall for their dog whistles, out-and-out lies, and sick dogma on immigration to eke out electoral victories in gerrymandered districts and the electoral college in 2018 and 2020. As the people, we have a responsibility to call the former Party of Lincoln on this, turn out in numbers not seen in midterms and Presidential elections, prove them wrong and vote them out.
How Arizona mirrors the Nation
Unfortunately, Arizona is a mirror microcosm of what the Republican Party has deteriorated into.
We have a Governor who takes smiling pictures with alt-right white supremacist figures in Mohave County.
We have a Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas, who wanted to take evolution, climate change, and the Big Bang Theory out of the new Science Standards. She also wants to take McCarthyite action against the teachers that participated in the Red for Ed Movement.
We have a former State House Member, Don Shooter, who was expelled from the House for harassment, running for his parties’ nomination in the State Senate Seat for that district.
We have Republican leading legislators like Vince Leach, John Kavanagh, and John Allen who routinely ignore the wishes of the people and obstruct efforts like the Tempe one that passed with 91% to reveal who the campaign donors are in that city. These same leaders also favor suppressing the early vote and making it difficult for ballot initiatives to get on the ballot. In addition to their neglect of K-12 schools, they do not adequately fund universities and community colleges while giving millions to private entity education centers like the two Koch schools at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.
We have a Republican legislator in LD 11, Mark Finchem, who somehow “got” away with saying ISIS troops were in the Mexican Desert.
We have a Republican Senate candidate in Southern Arizona, Bobby Wilson, who is running despite revelations he shot his mother and sister in 1963 in what can be charitably characterized as “questionable” circumstances.
We have a Republican legislator, Don Stringer, who still intends to run for reelection despite being caught on video saying “there are not enough white kids to educate.”
We have a Republican legislator from the Northwest part of the state, Paul Mosley, who feels he should get “legislative immunity” for speeding. To his credit, Governor Ducey did sign an executive order, mandating that is not the case for anyone that had a doubt.
At a debate for the individuals seeking the two State House seats for LD 18, the Republican mindset became crystallized as the four Republican candidates individually or uniformly expressed:
- The urban myth that we are better run than the Blue States like California. NEWS FLASH: This is fake news. The Blue States generally outperform Arizona in most economic and social justice indicators.
- Their devotion to the discredited economic theory of “Trickle Down Economics.” It did not work under Reagan. It did not work under Bush II. It did not work in Kansas and it is not working here.
- Common Core Curriculum is a deep state plot to indoctrinate children.
- Red For Ed is a socialist plot.
- Sex education in public schools is a funding source for Planned Parenthood.
Democratic Candidates that I have profiled for this blog have repeatedly expressed that the Republican legislators have continually not listened to their constituents. As a result, the people have been forced to launch ballot initiatives to “Outlaw Dirty Money,” “Invest in Ed” and “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” to undo the acts of the Legislature.
This is the sad and terrifying state of the Republican Party in Arizona. It very much mirrors the National situation.
Moving forward is totally up to you, the people. You can choose to let these people, corrupted by the sense you will not do anything about them and their stranglehold on the state and ignoring what the people want, continue to get away with it.
Or you can research the many capable and serious-minded people the Democrats have to offer, find those you can support in the primaries on August 28, volunteer for them, and turn out again in November 6 and vote them in. In the end, it is all up to you. You have to decide whether you want to move the state backward and let the festering Republican Dark Money kleptocracy remain — or champion the forward-looking agenda the Democrats offer.