Top Two Primary intends to demolish Democrats in AZ


Crossposted from


As I drove home Wednesday evening I caught the tail end of a recorded segment on the radio about the Top Two Primary initiative. I heard a man telling KJZZ host Steve Goldstein (I’m paraphrasing) about how Democrats have little power in state government so Hispanic voters would do well to stop aligning themselves with them. I rolled my eyes and continued on but I saw this summary of the interview when I got home:

Arizona’s Latino community is gravitating away from either major political party.

Those were the findings of a recent survey by an organization hoping to reform elections in the state.

About 40 percent of Latinos in Arizona are Independent, a trend that becomes even more pronounced among millennials. According to the survey, more than 75 percent of respondents said Latinos should register as Independent and eschew the established parties. This is good news for supporters of a ballot initiative that would allow independents to run in the primary.

Danny Ortega is a co-chair of the Open and Honest Elections Coalition.

He said Latinos, who were once loyal to democrats, are increasingly disillusioned with the party’s inability to make meaningful progress on immigration, education and other issues.

“They don’t see the party as effective, number one,” Ortega said. “Number two, every state office is controlled by Republicans. The legislature is controlled by Republicans, and so Latinos don’t feel like they are part of the end game.”

Pay careful attention to all the wording there: Arizona Latinos, they say, are increasingly becoming “independent” voters and the majority of Latinos told a pollster (and I’d be really interested in seeing how the question was phrased) that not registering for either party was in their best interest. This is because Democrats suck! Republicans are somehow held harmless in all this, despite them being the ones responsible for SB1070, Sheriff Arpaio’s reign of terror, and an endless, nationwide stream of anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic vitriol. Amazing. That’s even worse than the “both sides are to blame!” false equivalence. Ortega is literally blaming Democrats for what Republicans did.

Ortega points out, correctly, that Republicans control the state government. Yet he does not propose that “independent” Hispanic voters could elect Independent candidates, nor does he explain in any way how rejecting Democrats will increase their power in Arizona. The only possible conclusion to draw from his statement is that Ortega thinks Hispanic voters, “independent” or not, should throw their support to Republican candidates, who will presumably be the “moderate” kind who support “meaningful progress” on immigration, education, etc. Unlike those worthless Democrats!

This is interesting because I’ve been told for years by supporters of this Top Two thing that the goal was to elect “moderate” Republicans in heavily white districts, such as Scottsdale, where no Democrat has a chance. But now it appears that even in heavily Hispanic districts that traditionally elect Democrats, the Democrats are targeted for elimination by it. Which makes sense considering Chuck Coughlin, who helped orchestrate the passage of SB1070 in 2010 to ensure GOP election victories, is heading up the initiative effort with Paul Johnson and considering who else is taking an interest in this initiative.


  1. TS: “The angry activist turns voters off”

    Fixed: “The angry activist scares rich white donors.”

  2. Until Citizen’s United is gone then yes we need some fat cat money, but we also need little money donations from thousands to balance that. Look to what Pres. Obama did, he had a very large number of small individual donations, but he also had big donors who were willing to give to a smart sensible Progressive candidate. We have some big donors who are looking to protect the environment, increase social benefits, and support public education. You do Not have to be rich to get elected, you do Not have to give up your ethics, but you do have to raise money to pay for advertisements. Anybody who thinks otherwise is flat wrong. The fact is that campaigns cannot rely on donations of air time from tv or radio stations. And you have to pay for office space, computers, phones, etc. Whether we like it or not our candidates for statewide office must be able to raise money. It sucks but that’s reality.

    • But with a true anti-Dark Money Initiative all donations above $200 would be public and tracked back to actual people not dead end in a corporation.

    • I don’t understand it either. The only thing I can think of is that Terry Goddard really hates fundraising, he may be relying on voters to distinguish between the two Initiatives, but I don’t ink that will happen.

  3. What a bunch of nonsense. There is nothing in the Republican Party one party dictatorship that benefits the average Latino in Arizona. Cut, cut, cut except prisons. Plus their attitude that Latinos are somehow a problem in Arizona. They are the majority of our kids in school, except for the affluent, resegregation charters and vouchers.

  4. why wouldn’t latinos be discouraged when the democrats run fred duval for governor who runs on appealing to republicans who loth democrats instead of latinos on immigration. the democratic chairmen should be holding events and press conferences in latino areas letting them know we support their struggle!

    • Okay, Captain, but if Democrats disappear from AZ will the Republicans who replace them in Latino areas be better? That seems to be the case that Top Two people are making.

    • Okay, Captain, but if Democrats disappear from AZ will the Republicans who replace them in Latino areas be better? That seems to be the case that Top Two people are making.

    • Captain, I do not agree with Latinos abandonning the one Party that supports immigration reform and Dreamers. However I DO agree with you that the Democratic Party should be looking for good Latino and Latina candidates for statewide offices. But don’t leave the Party, volunteer! Run as a candidate! Recruit your own activists to run! If we run good candidates for statewide office will the Latino community vote? I think they will! But first we have to have the candidates.

      The one rule of Arizona though is whoever our candidate is, they have to come from the Phoenix Metro region if we want to win. Nobody from Pima County or rural parts of Arizona will win in statewide elections. They must be charismatic, eloquent, able to capture the news cycle, and able to raise money from both small and large donors (because money does still matter if you compete in the Kochiverseworld after Citizens United). They do not have to be rich, they do not have to be connected, they do have to have the ability to motivate voters to go to the polls. They can be an activist but they must not scare people. Think about someone like the late former Democratic AZ Governor Raul Castro. And they should agree to run at Least two times for the same offices. Give us some names, help recruit good Latino candidates, be part of the process! And we need to run serious candidates for ALL statewide offices, not just the high profile ones.

      • ts unfortunately the arizona democratic party leadership is more interested in fund rasing so the paid staff’s paychecks don’t bounce so they can’t offend the fat cat donors who want to run on their ego trips(fred duval). young militant latinos scare the rich old white democrat establishment types and corporate democrats third way d.l.c.ers,

        • Unfortunately without funding we can’t compete. We need Latino activists and candidates that are the equivalent of the President, eloquent, full of hope, inclusive, and Progressive. The angry activist turns voters off.

          • ts we are competing now with fat cat money? Bernie Sanders depends on the people not fat cats. I know who would donate to the wimpy democratic party we have but fat cats wanting favors.

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