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View Diary: Political Geography of the States: Part 1, the West (44 comments)

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  •  Arizona (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stephen Wolf, atdnext, SuWho

    Arizona politics baffle me. It's one of the most urban states in the country, it's outside the south, it has a fairly large minority population... and yet it seems to be trending R. In particular, the whites seem to be moving towards the republicans in a way that they aren't anywhere outside of the south and greater Appalachia. Especially strange since, again, it's such an urban state - i.e., it's mostly Phoenix - and cities elsewhere are pretty much all trending D. And then there's the Joe Arpaio phenomenon... So what gives? Are Arizona whites especially racist? Why?

    •  Is it really all that urban though, rather than (4+ / 0-)

      Suburban? Suburbanites are historically much more Republican leaning though now a swing constituency nationally. Also Arizona is a retiree destination so I'd have to imagine that whites skew much older there than most states. Do we know if whites there are Protestant to a large degree? They tend to be fairly Republican compared to Catholics. Lastly, Arizona whites have a fairly sizable proportion of Mormons who tend to be both ultra Republican and high turnout.

      •  You're onto something. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stephen Wolf, leftreborn, Alibguy

        I wouldn't say Arizona is trending Republican, more that a Democratic trend has been harder to take root there. Obama actually remained flat overall there, which means it trended slightly Dem from 2008 to 2012. Still, it wasn't as much as I and others were hoping for.

        There are various reasons why Republicans have fared better in Arizona than in neighboring Southwest states (with the one obvious exception of Utah). For one, I believe Arizona has the largest % of retirees of any state. Also, Arizona's largest metro area (Phoenix) has a large outer ring of "Blood Red" suburbs filled with those very retirees and/or LDS heavy communities.

        Also, you can't ignore the weakness of the Arizona Democratic Party. Really, what's there? Even though Arizona has a slightly higher % of Latin@s than Nevada, Latin@ turnout was higher here. And even thougj Phoenix is a much bigger city than Las Vegas, Vegas seems to have a much stronger Democratic base AND Democratic bench of local electeds.

        •  Sadly, I think if Gabby Giffords hadn't been shot (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftreborn, James Allen

          she would be in the senate right now. Rich Carmona had never run for elected office before had no natural base in the state like Giffords' 8th district, slightly outspent Flake when taking 3rd party groups into account, and lost by just 3% while Obama lost by 9%.

          Giffords staffers had clearly indicated she intended to run for senate if Kyl retired and she would have gotten in early, cleared the field, and raised a lot more money than Carmona.

          It may take a generation rather than a few cycles, but eventually demographics will result in Arizona following the trend of the rest of the southwest.

          •  It almost seems as if there's a taboo on this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Stephen Wolf, skibum59

            topic.  There was a buzz developing about Giffords' chance for statewide office before she was shot.  We don't have many Democrats in Arizona who can succeed statewide.  She fit the  mold.  Instead we ended up with Jeff Flake who I believe is a decent man, though I disagree emphatically with almost all of his voting record in the House.  Like some other Republicans did as a bipartisan gesture, he accompanied a Democrat at the 2012 State of the Union.  His date was Giffords. Very soon after, he assisted her to the podium when she announced her resignation from the House.  

            I wrote to Jeff recently. I asked him to remember holding Giffords hand, and to reflect whether he'd have a Senate seat if not for the shooting. I told him I respect the example he set for Republicans with Giffords, and that I expect him to remember her when gun safety legislation comes to a vote in a Senate.

            "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

            by leftreborn on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 01:13:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  urban vs. suburban (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stephen Wolf

        Not sure that this is a significant distinction. Maricopa County has had very suburban-style development patterns,  which is because, in a nation full of terrible anti-urban development policies, Maricopa has some of the worst; building densely is essentially illegal there.

        But that just means that as a "city" Pheonix is more suburban in character - in other words, people who would be living in street-fronting apartment buildings or other multi-unit buildings in other cities are compelled to live in detached single family or low-rise apartment buildings. But why would that fact affect voting behavior?

        And anyways, the general pattern of suburban development holds throughout the Sunbelt, yet that hasn't stopped other urban areas from trending blue - Los Angeles, notably; but also places like Charlotte, Raleigh, Austin, San Antonio, Atlanta, Northern Virginia... even Tucson, for that matter.

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