At least the primary elections are over, and here is the message for Democrats in Arizona: extremist Republicans are dangerous.

An optimistic view (and I always strive to be optimistic) is that the radical-right Republicans, led by the twice-Impeached former president, are turning off the less-committed Republican centrist voters who will flock to the Democratic Party’s alternative candidates. This may happen, but I suggest that we Democrats need to adjust our rhetoric and short-term goals to close that deal in November.

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A migration to supporting Democratic candidates is less likely if we do not understand that the election of our Democratic candidates – moderate or liberal – requires all the votes we can get. Furthermore, we need to realize that getting our candidates elected up and down the ballot will be essential to preserving our democracy – nothing less consequential!

Vote a straight Democratic ticket

In future elections, straight-ticket voting might not be necessary or advisable. However, I believe it is essential in 2022 and even 2024 to vote for the straight Democratic ticket. Our candidates must win big with independent- and Republican-registered voters’ support and strong support by Democratic registered voters.

Only definitive defeats at all levels of government will convince Republican politicians (I won’t call them leaders) to abandon their dependence on the toxic Trump big lie and their despicable efforts to subvert free elections to keep themselves in power. Winning big will also enable Democratic lawmakers working with Governor Hobbs and Secretary of State Fontes to undo the damage done to our election systems in the past legislative session. Democratic lawmakers will also return the state to sensible paths of progress in education, human services, economic development, and natural resources.

Now that we know who will be running on the Democratic ticket let me urge you to consider this:  If your candidate in the primary did not win, please take a hard look at the qualifications and policy positions of the winner. Then compare to their Republican opponent. I feel certain that you will be more comfortable with the Democratic candidates.

Do not sit this election out or skip any office on the ballot. A non-vote simply makes every vote for our opponents stronger. At a time when Republicans are actively trying to suppress the vote and rig the count to their satisfaction, your vote becomes more valuable. Your vote is our only weapon in this struggle for most of us. Use your vote wisely.

Fight for your rights

Democrats usually do better when campaigns are people-powered. If you are asked to help and can make time, volunteer enthusiastically. You will be surprised how much fun you might have, and it will be rewarding. You will become the face or voice of the Party to the people you reach. Sometimes your outreach will make the difference between a vote cast and a vote thrown away.

So, reach out; try writing a letter on your favorite issue or candidate to the editor of your daily newspaper. I love reading letters from friends and acquaintances. When your letter is published, your view will become known to your neighbors and friends.

I truly believe we are in a rare situation in our nation’s history. The system of laws and governing institutions organized with a masterfully written Constitution has held this nation together. It has permitted us to grow into the world leader we have become. Now, however, we are being threatened by people and interests that would have us forget what we are and revert to the politics of exclusion, separation, and conflict. Therefore, it falls on us to become the guardians of our democracy’s future at this time and place.

Our testing began at the ballot box in 2020. It will continue this year and into 2024. So, keep working and keep the faith.

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