Thursday, October 20, 2016

Will Arizona Go Blue for Clinton?

Michelle Obama in Arizona
Some of us - including the GOP's own post 2012 loss post mortem - have long said that the GOP was headed toward either oblivion or permanent minority party status if it did not reform itself, drop its racism and homophobia, and end its war on women.  All such warnings have fallen on deaf ears.  Now, as a piece in Politico notes, there is a chance that Arizona, a state that has voted Republican for 15 out of the last 16 election cycles, may go for Hillary Clinton. While Trump has exacerbated the GOP's problems with all but white Christofascists, the party's own policies and bigotry have not only created the problem but gave Trump a platform to use as a launch pad for his message of white nationalism, racism, and religious discrimination.  Here are article highlights:
PHOENIX — First lady Michelle Obama didn’t even need to say the word “Arizona” for the first 20 minutes of her rally here on Thursday to send shock waves across the state.
The very presence of the Democrats’ most coveted surrogate in the traditionally deep-red state was enough to send the message that Hillary Clinton is taking it seriously, and Obama’s appeal to local Democrats just hours after the final debate was designed to make the stakes clear.
The question in Arizona now isn’t whether a state that’s gone Republican in 15 of the past 16 elections is suddenly in play thanks to Trumpmany veteran Republicans concede that it is. The real question is whether Democrats, led by Clinton, are justified in believing that the country has just met its newest swing state.
 “I wouldn’t call it blue or even purple quite yet,” said a longtime Republican strategist with extensive experience in Arizona, who nevertheless expects Clinton to win the state because of Trump’s weaknesses. “I think it’s a perfect storm of factors that have really put it very much in play just this time around." Trump allies reject the idea that Democrats have anything close to a shot here, but even the state’s most skeptical operatives — who acknowledge that Democratic candidates still need to sway large numbers of independents to win state-wide — see Arizona’s battleground status as a fast-approaching reality.
That’s partly due to Trump’s unique unpopularity with Arizona’s large Native American and Mormon populations, Gary Johnson’s appeal to Libertarian-leaning voters in the western part of Arizona, and the conservative business community’s skepticism about Trump's tough talk on Mexico given the state’s trade relationship with the country.
It's why Democrats, led by Clinton’s campaign, are flooding the state with headline-grabbing surrogates — Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Chelsea Clinton — and homestretch advertising and get-out-the-vote resources to the tune of $2 million. And it’s why Democrats are eyeing a chance to lay the groundwork for 2018 and 2020.
One of Trump’s highest-profile long-standing Republican critics is Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, and now his colleague McCain has backed away from his own tepid Trump support, making for an uncomfortable dynamic within the state GOP leadership that recently skewered Washington pols who abandoned the nominee. 
Arizona’s Democrat-leaning Latino population is growing, which has helped shift Phoenix’s Maricopa County away from its Republican tradition, said veteran state Democratic operative Andrew Gordon. If that population were to vote more reliably — as it’s expected to in a year that features anti-illegal immigration crusader Arpaio on the ballot, and trailing — then the state would follow New Mexico and Nevada into the purple-tinted category, he said.

As I have said before, the GOP is focused on the past and caters to a demographic that is literally dying off.  I hope the Democrats put on a major push.  I want to see Trump suffer one of the worse losses in recent memory. The, just maybe, the GOP will get its head out of its ass and throw the Christofascists and white supremacists out of the party.  

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