Arizona Hasn’t been a Red State Since Goldwater
It’s time to get real about 2024.
As we head into the next election cycle, the thousand-pound gorilla in the room is election integrity. If nothing has changed, and nefarious characters are able to cheat with impunity, then we’re simply living out the definition of insanity as we follow the same path that led to defeat in 2020.
So, what has been done to establish confidence in the voting process in key battleground states since the last presidential election?
Today, let’s focus on Arizona.
A Wasted Opportunity to Restore Honest Elections
It’s important to remember that from 2021 to 2023, Republicans controlled both houses of the Arizona legislature, as well as the governorship. They had every opportunity to fix an obviously broken election system that woke leftists exploited to rig the outcome of the 2020 election.
There is no need to rehash 2020 again. Between Maricopa County’s strategically timed data dumps, erasure of the EMS database, mules stuffing drop boxes and impossible mail-in ballot return rates in Pima County, there was more than enough evidence to justify the complete overhaul of Arizona’s election processes and operations.
And yet, the legislature did nothing.
In fact, 11 election integrity bills died in committee or never made it to the floor of the Senate. Think about that for a moment. This supposed red state that controlled the legislature and the governor’s office could not get one meaningful election integrity bill passed in a two-year session?
The question is, why not?
Politics in Arizona is complex, but it seems to be rooted in a Deep State-like apparatus that prefers a centrist approach to governance. Anything that sways too far to the right always ends badly.
Take Governor Evan Mecham for Example
In 1987, a series of unusual events resulted in conservative Evan Mecham winning a 3-way race for governor. Mecham was not supported by Barry Goldwater, John McCain or future Senator John Kyle in the primary. The legislature, controlled by moderate Republicans, blocked Mecham’s efforts to cut taxes, freeze state employees’ salaries, cut excess education funding and crack down on illegal immigration.
You see, Evan Mecham was too extreme.
Ultimately, Mecham was impeached in the House and convicted in the Senate of obstruction of justice, making false statements and misuse of government funds. The case was nebulous and focused on a questionable interpretation of the law. After he was removed from office on April 4th, 1988, Arizona Secretary of State, Rose Mofford, a Democrat, became governor.
It’s worth noting that in a subsequent trial based on essentially the same charges, Mecham was acquitted of all six felony counts.
And Then There was Governor Fife Symington
In the 1990 campaign for Governor, the Arizona Deep State supported Democrat Terry Goddard. If you live in Arizona long enough, you get a feel for these things. Goddard was the mayor of Phoenix, and early polls had him well ahead of Symington. However, Goddard had the personality of a doorknob, and he ultimately lost in a runoff.
Symington had a solid first term, managing the state more like a business entity than a fiscally irresponsible charity. Some of the highlights of Symington’s first term include tax cuts, spending cuts, economic development and performance-based funding for schools.
Symington won a second term handily, but he took a decidedly more conservative approach to issues, and that turned the state’s political hierarchy against him. Around the same time that Symington joined a consortium of governors to petition Congress for stronger measures to control the border, rumors of an impending indictment began to swirl. After working to pass legislation that would deny state benefits to illegal aliens, the ruling class in Arizona had enough.
You see, the people who shape the political landscape in Arizona like to maintain a healthy flow of illegal aliens. It’s good for business, especially if you’re a developer. It keeps those construction costs down. Sure, if you’re a Republican politician, it’s okay to travel to the border in cowboy boots and a Stetson to shoot a commercial or two in an election year, but once the campaign is done, you better move onto other things.
Symington was indicted on 21 counts of extortion, making false financial statements and bank fraud in connection with his activities as a developer. Ultimately, he was convicted of seven counts of bank fraud, which stemmed from alleged misrepresentation of his assets on construction loan applications. He resigned the day after the conviction on September 5, 1997 and was replaced by Republican moderate, Jane Dee Hull.
The Kind of Republicans the Arizona Ruling Class Likes Most
The Arizona Ruling Class likes RINO Republicans and moderate Democrats. That’s why they were perfectly content to watch Dennis DeConcini serve in the U.S. Senate for almost 20 years until his retirement in 1995. They really liked John McCain, the “maverick,” who gain the title solely because he voted against his own party so often. Jeff Flake was so popular within Republican ranks that many Arizona party insiders saw him as presidential material.
I attended the 2016 state convention as a delegate, and I watched first hand as insiders tried to rig the outcome by passing a resolution freeing national party delegates after the first ballot. The Republican establishment was hoping for a brokered convention. I watched as they fielded a slate of delegates that misrepresented their support for Trump.
It’s outrageous that with two full years and majorities in all legislative branches, Arizona Republicans did nothing to fix a broken system. Was it any wonder the 2022 election was riddled with inconsistencies, broken chain of command breaches and malfunctioning voting equipment?
Repeated attempts to reach out to the Arizona Senate Majority Leader, Sonny Borrelli, for an explanation of the Senate’s inaction on such a critical issue went unanswered.
In essence, the Republican hierarchy in Arizona does not want Trump, or any other America First candidate for that matter, to win in 2024, so they’ve left all the vulnerabilities from 2020 unaddressed.
All you America First supporters of President Trump, who believe Arizona couldn’t possibly vote for Slow Joe Biden after such a miserable first term, better think again. If Republicans want to win in the Grand Canyon state in the next presidential election, they better start thinking a lot less about Trump and DeSantis and a lot more about Chris Sununu or Asa Hutchinson.
Sorry, but that’s reality. Arizona hasn’t been a red state in over 40 years, and it doesn’t want to change.