State Rep. Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) appeared on MSNBC last week to discuss his vote against the Religious Bigotry bill, SB 1062. (Video below the fold).

E.Orr said “the insidiousness of this bill is that it excludes people from commerce, and if I have the power to exclude you from the commerce of society, I can exclude you from society itself.” Not the strongest argument one can make, but I will take it. (I think his young son got it right).


Screenshot-14I found this statement from E.Orr to be more interesting: “This bill is not the only voice that Arizona is speaking with, in fact it’s not even the only voice in the Republican Party.  I think most Arizonans and most Republicans are opposed to this bill and don’t want to discriminate against people based on homosexuality.”

OK, let me stop you right there, E.Orr. You were one of only three Republicans out of a total of 53 in the Arizona legislature to vote against this bill. 3/53 of the GOP caucus does not make you even a minority caucus within the GOP, it makes you “irrelevant” (as the Arizona Republic likes to refer to Democrats who have 37 seats in the Arizona legislature).

You are part of the “mythical moderate Republican” media meme.

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Laurie Roberts of The Arizona Republic and Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star tell us that Democrats need “moderate” Republicans to have any influence over legislation in the Arizona legislature. No, 3/53 of the GOP Caucus is irrelevant and meaningless to Democrats. Quite the opposite is true.

These so-called “moderate” Republicans need to sign onto Democratic bills to make them appear bipartisan and moderate (the billls typically go nowhere) in order to get elected in competitive districts. By electing them to the legislature, it only perpetuates the far-right Republican stranglehold on the Arizona legislature. One can make the argument that this is the intended goal of the “mythical moderate Republican” media meme.

What Arizona and Democrats really need are more Democrats serving in the Arizona legislature and in statewide offices to break the stranglehold of far-right extremism in our state government.

Most of those 53 Republicans in the Arizona legislature were elected by Republican voters in “safe” GOP voter registration edge districts. Does this mean that most Republicans also support SB 1062? Not necessarily.

Most GOP voters exhibit tribalism by identifying with the Republican Party and the “(R)” behind a candidate’s name on the ballot. Not much more thought than this goes into voting. And therein lies the problem. As I have said many times, this is not your father’s GOP. The modern-day GOP has been hijacked by radicals and extremists. These are not traditional conservatives nor traditional Republicans.

If “moderate” GOP voters were really voting based upon a candidate’s position on the issues, these “moderate” Republican voters would not vote for these far-right Republican candidates on the ballot who keep introducing radical an extremist bills with which they disagree. So end the rote tribalism. Be an informed and thoughtful voter, and vote for the Democrat. It won’t kill you, I promise.

Secondly, Democrats, but particularly the so-called “independents” (they are in fact “leaners”) living in these “safe” GOP voter registration edge districts tend not to turn out to vote in the same percentages as GOP voters. Many of these voters are apathetic and believe their vote simply does not matter, so why bother?

Well it does matter, particularly in statewide races. If enough apathetic Democrats, independents and “moderate” Republicans in these “safe” GOP voter registration edge districts stopped feeling sorry for themselves and voted for the sane candidate, some of these “safe” districts would suddenly be competitive and elect more Democrats.

If you want to end the far-right extremism in Arizona and have a more sane, rational state government that builds a strong future for the 21st Century, you have to elect more Democrats to office. Period. Full stop.