And the Honor Goes To
In this primary season across the US, no other state has nominated more Trump endorsed candidates to the top state-wide offices than – drumroll please – Arizona. Yes, in the past decades, we had right-wing conservatives who institutionalized “the-us-vs-POC” politics of SB 1070, the teachings of Joe Arpaio and redistricting minority communities out of political power.
But now, thanks to four years of the Trump presidency stoking: a class-warfare nationalism, election lies, political corruption and fundraising grift; Arizonans endure the worst of the extremists’ ideology that attacks our democratic foundations, rejects future election vote counts – not in their favor – and turns its back on education and science.
An Ideology for the Dark Ages
Rusty Bowers, the soon-to-be former Speaker of the AZ House of Representatives, was rejected by a two-to-one margin in his primary for a state senate seat by a Trump loyalist. Following the election, he was quoted in news reports that in the Dark Ages, before the Enlightenment, “rhetoric ruled in those times, much more powerfully than the truth. If the Republican slate is elected . . . aye-yai-yai.”
If the MAGA Republican extremists are elected and succeed to crush public education funding, over-turn credible election results and promote the decline of teaching science and history in our classrooms . . . the path to a modern “dark age” will take shape in Arizona.
Bowers, looking inside today’s Republican party concluded, “There’s a lot of people who will not vote for the extremism that we’ve seen.”
The Promise of a Democratic Renaissance in Arizona
As to the statewide, congressional and AZ legislative Democratic nominees for 2022: as a group, there has never been the depth of governing experience, focus on solutions rather than rhetoric, and an empathy for the struggles of everyday Arizonans instead of the “one-percenters.”
We know them as solid citizens and dedicated public servants with years of experience to actually move Arizona forward. Going back to the “old days” and reliving our past failures of governance by exclusion – are not an option.
Our state-wide nominees from the primary are Katie for Governor, Adrian for Secretary of State, Kris for Attorney General, Martin for State Treasurer, Kathy for Superintendent of Public Instruction and Sandra and Lauren for Corporation Commission. They are as familiar as their first names. They are our neighbors and friends who are undertaking – on our behalf – the change Arizona so desperately needs.
And, because they are doing it for us, not themselves, we owe them every ounce of time, talents and treasure we can muster. Success in the 2022 elections is on us. Own it!
Turning Arizona Blue (Shameless Plug)
For our Democratic Arizona state legislative nominees (too numerous to mention in this limited space, my apologies), there is the hope and near reality of the legislature turning Blue in 2022. For decades, legislative, county, state and national Democratic organizations have increased the Democratic office holders in our Legislature. We are now on the verge of changing just one or two seats in each chamber to achieve a Democratic majority.
While many say that possibility is small, I get a different vibe as I travel around the state. First-hand, I’ve seen there is real positive energy in these legislative races and hard work being done canvassing, phone banking and fundraising. My gut tells me that with Democratic wins in the state-wide offices – and crucial down-ballot voting in these legislative and other local elections – flipping the AZ Legislature can and will happen!
The Core State Legislative Issues
While various constituents and groups will jostle for attention on dozens of important issues, I and others see core issues coming out of the primaries that our candidates will need to focus on.
Following the recent overturn of the Roe decision by SCOTUS, women’s reproductive health and rights will have a huge impact on races in Arizona at every level. Particularly in vote-rich Maricopa County where Julie Gunnigle, candidate for County Attorney, will drive pro-choice voters of all political persuasions to the polls.
Adequate funding of public education and promoting a ballot initiative to stop universal voucher expansion will be essential. After decades of neglect, the new extremists’ objective is to destroy our public schools and transfer a public good into private hands to profit Republican campaign donors. It’s a scam. This issue will be a defining political moment for moving forward in Arizona or going back.
The remaining core issue will be the grouping of climate related needs around our water resources, environmental sustainability, increased use of solar power and energy pricing.
Elsewhere in the current edition of The Mule News, Garrick McFadden, writes about the hardship and honor of being a candidate for office. He praises the families and friends that support those candidates – win or lose. And to some, an election defeat is always a part of the equation. Garrick, wise and experienced, offers this sage advice, “How you lose, will tell the voters and the rest of those watching more about you than any victory.”
There is, with no doubt, a special place in the heavens for our Democratic write-in candidates, who against all odds, garnered enough votes in the Democratic primary contests to be placed on the November 8th general election ballot. Despite the negative odds of challenging a well-known incumbent and running in a heavily favored Republican district or local election, these brave primary write-in candidates (in most cases) are putting their careers, family connections and financial stability on the line.
By doing the selfless and often un-sung work of politics – check-mating MAGA extremists against a free-pass election and building a nascent activist team in their districts – these Democratic write-in candidates are earning our respect and a ticket into the future of the Arizona Democratic politics. Honor their efforts by searching for them in your districts and offering your support.