Losing Arizona – Part 1

This has been a hard column to write.  But a necessary one.  The November election is less than a month away and the polling is not looking good for Arizona Republicans. With ballots going out this week, the most recent  and reliable polling from RealClearpolitics.com shows Biden with 51% of the vote  to 45%  for Trump. That’s within the margin of error. But at no point in the 2020  election cycle, despite numerous trips to Arizona, has the President been in the lead.  I’m an optimist by nature.  I’m still hoping President Trump can  stave off defeat. But it’s time for a reality check. Voting has started and the polls show Trump behind in Arizona and many swing states.

The picture is no better for federal and state races across the state.  As of today,  the most recent  polling  has  Senator Martha McSally trailing Mark Kelly by eleven points. This is  a continuing  downward  trend from September.  In an effort to do our patriotic  duty,   eNews asked a well-connected political consultant in Phoenix to reach out to McSally for  a podcast.  The answer came back that  she has  cancelled all  personal  appearances  in  Northern Arizona for the rest of the campaign.  Barring an unexpected bounce for  McSally from Tuesday night’s debate,  Republicans should hide their guns and  prepare to congratulate Senator-elect Mark  Kelly.

Many down ticket races also look shaky for Republicans.  Incumbent  Congressman David Schweikert (R, CD 6)  is being outspent by Democrat Dr. Hiral Tiperineni.  They are now locked in a tight  race in a District where Republicans  still hold an advantage among registered voters.  A  Schweikert loss will turn Arizona’s congressional delegation to a 6 to 3 advantage for Democrats.

A  number of once safe Republican state house and senate seats are now in play. They include  Wendy  Rogers in LD6,  Brophy McGee in LD28,  and J.D. Mesnard in LD17, where voter registration has been trending away from Republicans in recent years.  In LD28,  there are 17,000 newly registered voters since the last election.  13,000 of them are Democrats.  With the state senate now split 17 to 13 in favor of Republicans, the loss of two of these  seats would end Republican control.  The loss of all three would put the state senate in Democratic hands for the first time since 2002.

In the state House of Representatives, currently split 31 to 29 in favor of Republicans, the loss of just one seat will end Republican control for the first time in over half a century (1964).  Even in districts where Republicans hold a  substantial voting advantage,  Democrats  may capture seats thru single shotting,  i.e.  running a single candidate  for just one of  two available seats.  This appears to be the strategy in LD1  where the Democrats  have fielded a single candidate,  Judy Stahl,  for one  of two open seats in our House  delegation.  If Democrats and liberal Independents single shot Ms. Stahl,  they could  propel her into one of the top spots.  That might be a reach  in LD1.  But with Republicans  controlling the state legislature by a single  vote,  the strategy  only has to work once anywhere in the state to end Republican control.

How did this happen? How did the Republican establishment in Arizona manage to lose so much so fast?  When I moved to Arizona ten years ago Republicans ran the show.  In 2010,  Arizona  Republicans held both US Senate seats, an evenly split  Congressional delegation,  as well as the Governor’s Office, both chambers of the state legislature and all five Executive  Departments, i.e.,  Secretary of State,  Attorney General,  State Treasurer,  Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Superintendent of  Mines. Here in  Yavapai County  there were no Democrats in any elected office.  But even that is slipping away, with  former  Democrats who claim  to be Independents now turning up on the Prescott Valley Town Council and in other municipalities across the county.

The short answer is that demographic change in Arizona’s voting population made the political transformation of our state  inevitable.  Decades of high levels of immigration, repeated amnesty for  illegal immigrants, and higher birth rates among  groups that disproportionately vote Democrat are now baked into the state’s  voter rolls.  In this year’s election, Whites will cast a little over 60% of the vote.  Arizona  is not slated to flip to minority majority until 2035.  But the Democratic party sees the future more clearly than the Republican establishment.  They have  successfully transformed themselves into a  coalition of white liberals and the growing ranks of people of color. They are poised to win big.

To  paraphrase Benjamin Disraeli, all politics is racial. Unlike the Republican party, which is terrified of the race issue, the Democrats understand their base and what fires them up.  Their messaging is spot on. They support higher levels of immigration and oppose  the Wall.  They support Black Lives Matter  and Antifa and minority grievances  against white cops.  They support higher taxes which disproportionately target middle and higher income whites. Prop 208,  which places a surtax on high earners is a brilliant social justice play that will drive Democrat turnout.  Republicans don’t have a clue how to stop it. President Trump came to power with a unique, America First brand of  populism.  But Republican elites in Arizona have never embraced that message. In fact, they fear it.  Few of them supported Trump  before he won the nomination.  Some didn’t support him until he won the election.  And some have never supported him. Former Republican  Senator Jeff Flake and Senator McCain’s widow,  Cindy McCain,  who have  publicly endorsed  Biden,  are but the tip of the iceberg.  Deep within the Arizona Republican establishment is resistance to and even contempt for Trump and what he represents. They are globalists and cosmopolitans and wealthy elitists. They  don’t like his  populism and they don’t identify with the Republican base of white working people, white  retirees, and white people of faith with whom that message resonates. They want him to lose, to discredit what he stands for.

This column is the  first of  a  two part series.  After the election  I’ll be back with a postmortem.  But with this column, written as ballots go out in Arizona,  I  am offering the hard truth of the disappointment we are facing.  I hope and pray I am  wrong.  As a third generation Republican, as a White American who values the culture and heritage of western  civilization,  and as a person of faith,  I know everything is at stake in this election. Our country is slipping away.  The  elites who control  the  Republican Party are in denial about the reasons why. For that reason, they are paralyzed to stop it.


5 thoughts on “Losing Arizona – Part 1”

  1. This is great news for Arizona. Sorry, but just because you’re a white, 3rd generation Republican, Christian, Arizonoan who’s party is in a position to lose control of the state, doesn’t mean our country is slipping away. Gross over generalization!

  2. There was an article in the bulwark titled ” the Republicans 10 year plan to turn Arizona blue” it touched on several points in your article. The Democrats have drooled over Arizona for decades because it is one of the freest states in the country. We enjoy constitutional freedom that many other states do not have like the 2nd and that drives them crazy. If the state does turn blue it may never be the same as we know it. We Republicans need to remember that California was once a solid red state.

  3. Patricia Gillenwater

    Appreciate your candor in spelling out hard truths, Mr Stringer I agree that our Republic is hanging by a worn thread. As AZ goes so goes our country. We conservatives will vote R this election but what are we as constitutional conservatives doing now to change the calculus for the next election?

    I fear that the beat up on Stringer crowd will take your valuable and hard truth words again to take you behind the liberal woodshed.

    I am with you Mr Stringer and wish that you would be a one of the emerging leaders for the constitutional conservative movement. The RINO’s can coward behind the skirts of the left / left-wing and they will be the first to feel their wrath.

  4. Interesting op ed piece. Some of your statements were patently false. Democrats do not support Antifa (an anarchist organization). Democrats do not support raising taxes on the middle or working classes. They support the wealthy paying their fair share. Democrats are mostly people of faith and believe to whom much is given much is expected. The people surrounding Trump are not conservatives or Republicans. They are people Trump has selected from his own private “swamp” who believe in an imperial presidency and not in the US Constitution. And Trump believes that he needs to curry favor with Putin more than anyone, because he has so much debt to Russia. Do not fear your freedoms or your income if Arizona turns blue. Democrats have too much respect for human dignity to do what you fear. Do expect to see better schools, more local control in communities, safer drinking water, better paying jobs – no matter what your political party.

  5. Democratic Christian

    As we look to the election on Nov 3 we are pleased as Democrats that times are a-changing. Our great country can not and will not survive 4 more years of donald trump. As far as hiding your guns goes, I think you are beginning a little melodramatic.

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