Tag Archives: robert robb

Robert Robb is correct, but also mistaken, in his analysis of Top Two Primary.

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

johnson top two
Photo: Arizona Republic

Robert Robb makes a logically consistent, persuasive, and correct argument (sort of) in favor of the 2016 Top Two Primary initiative in Arizona:

The principal objective of the top-two primary initiative shouldn’t be sugarcoated.

It isn’t to increase voter turnout or eliminate discriminatory barriers to independent candidates. Those might be desired byproducts. But they are not the main event.

The principal objective, the main event, is to reduce the influence of conservative Republicans in state government and politics. Those who don’t like the outcomes of Arizona elections want to change those outcomes by changing the rules.

It’s really about reducing conservative power

Plainly stating the principal objective shouldn’t settle the argument, even for conservative Republicans. For there is something else that should be plainly stated: The current system of partisan primaries doesn’t fit today’s political demography in Arizona.

Under the current system, state law establishes conditions for having a political party recognized. Taxpayers pay for recognized parties to hold primary elections to select their general election candidates. Parties get other advantages, such as preferential access to the voter roll.

Robb is correct that claims of Top Two increasing turnout or helping “independent” candidates get elected are howlers to people who pay anything resembling close attention to Arizona elections but possibly plausible to those who don’t, hence such claims being at the forefront of selling the initiative to the general public and certain gullible pundits.

And Robb is on point with his assertion that the traditional primary system does not reflect current registration figures (a third of the state’s voters are not officially affiliated with any party) and the case he makes for removing taxpayer funding of partisan primaries is a solid one. It is objectively the best argument for changing to an open primary system.

So far, so good, but here’s where even Robb, who has thus far evaluated the initiative in the most clear-headed manner of anyone in the news media, gets it wrong: Continue reading

Ducey’s “incremental” pursuit of Brownback’s policy is still a load of hooey

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

laffer napkin

Kimber Lanning, founder and executive director of Local First Arizona, delivered a fairly thorough smackdown to Robert Robb’s AZ Republic column whining that the Buy Local movement is a bunch of hooey.

Republic columnist Robert Robb is tired of hearing about the “buy local” movement and would like Arizonans to turn a blind eye to the economy and simply shop wherever they feel most satisfied. (“Shop where you want, guilt-free,” Dec. 19)

He claims the local movement is “hooey,” yet unabashedly has no statistics to back this. He just wants you, dear citizens, to throw the concept out the window.

In his article, Robb questions the countless economic studies released since 2002 but does not offer any substantive reasons for the questioning. Instead of following Robb’s simplistic calculations, let’s turn to the professional economists who back these studies, which have all concluded that an average of $30 more out of every $100 spent will stay in the local economy when money is spent with a local company versus a non-local corporate entity.

A Civic Economics study from 2007 showed the state of Arizona’s then-$5 million contract with OfficeMax was causing the state to lose $500,000 per year in economic leakage.

Definitely read the whole op-ed, since Lanning makes a solid case, bolstered with plenty of stats, for choosing local merchants over national chains whenever possible. I especially appreciated her calling out Robb for tossing out a context-free bit of frippery – “economies of scale” – to make himself look so very chin-stroking and serious. Continue reading

Bob Robb scolds “both sides” for “behaving badly” without mentioning the actual bad behavior of certain people

Crossposted at DemocraticDiva.com


Quoth Bob Robb:

In the debate over what to do about juvenile illegal immigrants from Central America, both sides are behaving badly.

I agree with some of the policy points in Bob Robb’s column on the Honduran refugee children situation but he’s talking about policy and not behavior. Now, I’m the last person to lecture people on their tone or tell them not to protest something they oppose vigorously. There’s a difference between protesting and being a menacing bully, though, and the latter is what anti-immigrant activists have been doing. And to children, no less. Some right wing pundits and Republican politicians are busily spinning blatant lies about them, such as that they’re “bringing diseases” and are, or will grow up to be, violent gang members. Robb makes no mention of all that but does chide Democrats for not working with the Republicans.

Rather than fighting the law change Republicans are pushing, Democrats should develop and try to attach to it the refugee program they think appropriate.

Yeah, that’ll totally work. You can always trust Republicans to be reasonable when you give them a bunch of stuff that they said they wanted. Both sides!